Far Bank Re­spect­ing your el­ders...

Armed with a rich har­vest of tra­di­tional bait, Dom Gar­nett fan­cies his chances for a good bag of roach with his old man. But even the juici­est plans can turn to mush…

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

IT SHOULD have been a for­mal­ity. By late sum­mer I’m al­ways on the look­out for bunches of elder­ber­ries. They cost noth­ing and can be a fine bait to pick out nice roach and other species.

My dad, who is the most laid back of fair weather fish­er­men, had found a huge crop down a coun­try lane that seemed too good not to use.

With a plen­ti­ful sup­ply of the bait, we hit the cut where I fan­cied we’d slay a net­ful of sil­ver fish just for turn­ing up. In fact I was a bit alarmed at dad’s lack of faith as we stopped to buy his ticket at Culm Val­ley Angling.

“Is it worth get­ting a half-pint of red mag­gots just in case?” he asks. I just about agree, al­though I in­sist that we only use them if things are go­ing com­pletely pear-shaped.

There are al­ready fish top­ping as we find a de­cent peg and be­gin pep­per­ing the wa­ter with berries. For me, they work a bit like hemp. Slower sink­ing, but as with the deadly seed, the key is usu­ally to feed like clock­work and of­fer a fine pre­sen­ta­tion. What could pos­si­bly go wrong?

Af­ter steadily bait­ing for 30 min­utes, that ex­pec­tant first cast is met with… ab­so­lutely noth­ing. I’m still not un­duly con­cerned 10 min­utes later. Even the ducks are feed­ing on berries, cran­ing their necks to pick from the bram­bles on the other bank. But where the heck are the roach?

It’s mys­ti­fy­ing. Last sum­mer I had a net­ful of fish on the el­ders – to­day I don’t get a shud­der of in­ter­est. A nugget of ground­bait on each of our lines only suc­ceeds in draw­ing thou­sands of starv­ing fry, un­til I get the pre­dictable line from my own el­der: “Mind if I try those mag­gots?”

Within about seven sec­onds, elas­tic is stream­ing out of the pole as Gar­nett se­nior brings in a per­fect quar­ter-pound perch.

It hap­pens three, four, five more times as I sit there bite­less, not want­ing to ad­mit the ob­vi­ous – the only thing th­ese berries seem good for is stain­ing your hands pur­ple.

Two hours in and I’m no wiser. Mean­while dad, Devon’s most laid back and least pre­pared an­gler, is sit­ting in his plas­tic gar­den chair pulling in perch af­ter perch on a pole rig he nicked from my box.

At about two thirty, I get a quick bite on the drop and strike. What was meant to be a half-pound roach turns out to be the tini­est perch of the day. What can I say?

I reach for the mag­gots, al­ready

Dom’s dad John was glad he took some mag­gots...

John Gar­nett takes it se­ri­ously easy on the Grand West­ern.

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