Harry goes fish­ing

(and his tablet re­mains un­touched)

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Tackle - IAN NES­BITT, EMAIL

I cast my float to the edge of the slug­gish flow. The worm sank slowly and the stick float set­tled be­fore trundling to­wards a large patch of ‘cab­bages’. As it neared the out­er­most leaves I leaned for­ward, tense with an­tic­i­pa­tion. Sure enough, as the float skirted the near­est leaves it stopped and bobbed up and down be­fore its lit­tle red top dived down. I struck. The re­sis­tance was the fa­mil­iar thump of a perch and soon I was ad­mir­ing its bold black stripes and orange fins. This was me, fish­ing when I was a young lad. I just loved it. Forty years later, I’m still fish­ing and to­day was to be a spe­cial day. I was tak­ing my seven-year-old son Harry fish­ing for the first time. Spring­wa­ter lakes is a com­mer­cial fish­ery near Lam­peter in west Wales with four lakes to choose from. On ar­rival we went to the shop to buy a ticket and I ex­plained the pur­pose of our trip. We were pointed in the di­rec­tion of the small or­na­men­tal lake with a re­as­sur­ing ‘you won’t have any prob­lem get­ting bites in there’. To pre­vent bore­dom set­ting in and Harry reach­ing for his beloved tablet I gave him a job. I told him to throw pel­lets to­wards the edge of a small patch of lilies near the bank, a job he rather en­joyed. By the time I had set up my rod the fish were be­gin­ning to roll. Bait was a soft blood­worm pel­let fished on a bar­b­less size 16 hook, the line shot­ted so it sank slowly past the greedy mouths. The loosefed pel­lets had done their job and it took 10 sec­onds to get our first bite – that’s about the at­ten­tion span of the av­er­age seven-year-old! The float shot un­der and I shouted ‘strike’. Harry gen­tly lifted the rod but to no avail. Af­ter a quick les­son in the art of strik­ing Harry pro­ceeded to strike in a way which would have given any small hooked fish its first fly­ing les­son. It’s easy to for­get that cast­ing and strik­ing are skills that can­not be taken for granted. So to­day’s aim, apart from hope­fully dis­cov­er­ing the sheer joy of catch­ing fish, would be to learn how to strike. The way things were go­ing there would be plenty of op­por­tu­nity to prac­tise. Soon he got it right and swung in his first-ever fish – a small golden rudd. His smile said it all. Af­ter an hour or so, Harry had com­pletely for­got­ten about his tablet and was now a study in con­cen­tra­tion, lean­ing for­ward wait­ing for the next bite. I acted as the ‘swim­feeder’, throw­ing in small dol­lops of mashed pel­let, the fish boil­ing on the sur­face with ev­ery throw. The float was con­stantly dip­ping, ris­ing, tilt­ing to one side or the other be­fore slid­ing un­der. I told Harry to wait for the float to com­pletely sink be­fore strik­ing, not an easy thing to do when you’re seven. Af­ter the first rudd he caught a suc­ces­sion of roach be­fore the gold­fish moved in. These were his favourites! Then he caught his first carp, a mon­ster of maybe a pound and a half. The only prob­lem was that af­ter each fish Harry got so ex­cited that he would jump up and down and go off on lit­tle runs up the bank. He couldn’t help him­self! Af­ter three hours and count­less fish we had to pack up and get home for tea. The tablet had stayed switched off and when we got home Harry asked: ‘Daddy, when are we go­ing fish­ing again’?

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