Des Tay­lor’s Di­ary of a Coun­try­man

The next-best thing to catch­ing a huge fish your­self is see­ing a mate do­ing it

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.

SATUR­DAY

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!

SUN­DAY

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.

MON­DAY

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.

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