Des Taylor’s Diary of a Countryman
The next-best thing to catching a huge fish yourself is seeing a mate doing it
HAT a great week, made extra special by the landing of an incredible fish by my mate Ray Cutler!
WI enjoyed some cracking guide days, caught barbel just short of double figures and went on a lovely overnight boat trip with Steve Dawes, where we talked the hours away about our trips here and elsewhere in the world.
We blanked that night but it was still so special to be on the water.
Everything this week was to be overshadowed by the trip to the Thames. It was all down to fate that we were there at all, as earlier in the week we were planning a four-day trip to the Trent which we had to abandon as there was a ‘fish-in’ on the same stretch.
So I made a quick call to my old mate Neil Wayte, seeking information about another river –
Neil Wayte shows me the ropes on the River Thames. the Thames. Neil had been asking me to fish down there for years on both the Lea and Thames.
Most of the time I like doing my own thing but this week I was in a fix, so I phoned him. Neil is ‘old school’ and gives you the respect you deserve. He knows I am not a ‘chaser’ or a ‘user’ so he gave me the lowdown on a good water to spend the time on. Car and trailer loaded, we were on our way.
Ray and I set off bright and early, excited that we were fishing a stretch of the Thames that could potentially produce personal bests for both of us.
Sucking fruit pastilles while we made our way, we arrived at the stretch at 10am and we soon had our bivvies set up, swims baited with pellets and boilies and traps set. Ray has been feeling under the weather of late and had not fished much, and by 10pm he was reeled in and tucked up in the bivvy.
I fished all night. Well, when I say ‘fished’, I went to sleep as well, but with my rods out on buzzers.
I didn’t get a touch, but a chap further down the river caught a cracking chub of 5lb 10oz. Neil said there were chub to well over seven in the area. What a river!
We didn’t hold out much hope of catching in the day, even though we had our rods out, with so many people walking the bank and an armada of big pleasure boats passing through our swims.
It was a long day waiting for nightfall, made slightly easier by the passing of lots of curvy young ladies running in lycra clothing. Dusk came and went without a bite on any of the rods, and that included Neil’s, who had now joined us for a couple of days.
Again, night and dawn passed without so much as a line bite, but we knew this was going to be the case; it was going to be a ‘one-bitebig-fish trip’… if we were lucky.
Another day of sitting behind the rods waiting for night-time, but we had plenty of food, tea and good conversation so it would pass quickly. At 11.45am, a pair of young ducks We needed to protect our baits from the attentions of crayfish with mesh (above).
swam into Ray’s swim and we watched to see whether they had picked up one of his lines.
Of course, the buzzer sounded and the ducks panicked and shot away at speed, which made the buzzer a ‘one-toner’.
“Bloody things!” Ray muttered, at which point he noticed that the ducks had headed off to the right and the line was still going out at rate of knots in a straight line. It was a take! Ray picked up the rod and I reeled his other rod in and
I was made up for Ray Cutler with his 16lb 12oz Thames barbel.