Reflections on my first season
Anearly 54 I have come late to the fine art. Over the past year I have read most editions of the Mail and feel it is time to put down a few observations.
The rivers I fish have proven hard. To be honest, I haven’t caught much. I was, though, privileged to weigh and photograph a 15 lb 10 oz barbel, and to marvel at the power and beauty of this golden specimen.
I fished early. I fished at midday. I fished into dark. I walked with lures on scorching hot days. I sat legering, beside the river, freezing.
I have learned the grinner, spade-end and knotless knots from a friend, the barbel catcher. He advised me on tackle and gently pointed me in the right direction, without claiming to have all the answers.
The angling adventure should be about discovery as well as following sound advice. Other anglers I met varied from the chatty, funny guys keen to share opinions (and moan about there being no fish) to those who turned away, pulling up their hood, preferring not to engage – and that is there right.
Then there were those in a state of reverie who could not believe their luck at pulling out a big chub. I always prefer to believe their stories. It is not for me to judge their provenance.
The club bailiffs have been fine. Keen to share READING Roger Surgay’s tales in AM (March 20 and 27), I had to smile, as when I went to a Dragon Carp show in Kettering I bought some tackle, including a bite alarm. It was only a fiver, but when I got home and tried it, it was no good.
So when he came up to a show at the Villa ground I took it back. I queued up and as usual he came down the line of punters saying: “Get your experience, they know their waters well. There was only one disagreement. It seems that not all who watch over our fisheries are in full knowledge of their own rules. The experience was disconcerting enough to really put the honest angler off – but not for long.
The tackle hunger has also grabbed me, and I find I have an assortment or rods, reels, whips, a pole and all the rig paraphernalia to go with it.
I have read so much angling literature and been influenced by older, more traditional methods. A year ago I’d never heard of Richard Walker or Fred J. Taylor. The methods of past and present match anglers have also been studied, and I have tried to embrace all tactics and ideas. There’s a lot of catching up to do.
New angler I may be, but I have been a rambler and long distance walker for 40 years, with a good knowledge and experience of being outdoors. I have been disappointed in the attitudes of certain anglers with regard to otters, cormorants and other creatures that may devour our quarry.
We need to manage our fisheries, but we need to be careful of balancing our actions. Perhaps failure to do this in the past has led to where we are now, so let us not compound things and get it
tickets ready, we open in five…”
I spoke to Roger about the alarm and he said: “When you get in the hall, come and remind me.” I went straight to his stall before he got busy, he took the alarm back, said sorry and handed me a boxed set of three. I told him I would pay the difference. He said no, it was no problem. Roger is true to his word. Top man!
P.S. Get those shows back on – we miss ’em!
Brian Biddle, via email. Neil Osborne enjoyed his first full season, at the age of 53-years-old. Neil’s highlights included taking his son Tommy fishing on the River Lea.
wrong with our future actions, by culling, for example.
As for the Close Season, it may seem odd that stillwaters and some canals can be fished, but I think it should remain the same.
Why? Well, look at the spawning period of coarse fish and most fall in the Close Season. There are variations between locations and rivers, but the three-month period that we currently have works.
Celebrate the fact that we can still fish other locations and let the rivers be. Visit them for a stroll and watch spring grow into summer. Or stay at home,
Dick Walker was ahead of his time
THE answer to Tom Legge’s question about why Dick Walker wasn’t criticised over ‘Clarissa’ (AM, April 3) is that he was a man ahead of his time.
At the time it was accepted that specimen fish, especially records, were set up. The previous two carp, and the then roach and rudd records (and others, I expect) had all been killed and set up.
clean and check your kit, tie rigs and flies and make a plan to do something new on the rivers when the season comes.
My first season ended on a cold bank with the sun setting through bare trees, a scene that made me shudder in the face of nature. I feel honoured to have been there. It was another blank.
Undeterred, I have re-joined my clubs, got my new licence and made plans for the Close Season and all that lies beyond.
As Bernard Venables said: “Fishing is worth no more than its pleasure.”
North Finchley, London.
Dick, in his own words, “resolved that the fish should not be killed,” but also, I believe, thought that he would not be believed unless the fish could be produced, so the only answer was an aquarium.
Okay, no one else had the chance to catch her, but thousands upon thousands of anglers could, and did, go to see her.
Right decision, in my opinion. Ian Campbell,