I’m awake before the alarm, there’s no point in rolling over because I won’t get back to sleep, not on a fishing day so I’m up early, boiling the kettle and filling flasks. I had envisaged getting a sleepy teenage lad out of his bed would be difficult but no Isaac gets up and is almost human, after tea and toast he’s almost awake. For once we are out of the door on schedule and on the road with ‘Twenty one Pilots’ blasting out of the stereo. The kids have introduced me to this band and I really like them, both of us sing along on the journey.
A while later we arrive and start loading the boat, by the time we’re ready I can switch off the head torch. The row down the stretch is with the wind, the row back could be tricky. For some reason our weather forecasters have taken to giving storms names, I heard some explanation about “awareness” the other day, bollocks if you ask me. Anyway ‘Brian’ was due in our part of the world around midday giving us three or four hours of comfortable fishing. Isaac has usually had enough of fishing after a few hours while I would happily stay all day but with this forecast we’d both be happy to get home early.
We arrived at our first spot of the day only to discover the boat was missing one mud-weight, yes I should have checked. Still no problem, I pushed an oar into the shallow margin and looped the rope around it then we set about getting a few deadbaits scattered around the swim. With everything set we tried to get comfortable, settled back and relaxed with a bit of gentle piss taking; Dad gets some stick then replies, the laughter building. Whoever gets the first fish will be in pole position for the wind up, talking of which it should have happened by now? It’s been a while since I’ve fished this water and I’ve forgotten that this is normal and I never get a take here until I’ve had time to start scratching my head and wondering what’s going on? There were plenty of natural distractions however, baitfish were topping in the area, there were skirmishing Swans which somehow managed to avoid our lines and we were treated to a close view of a Bittern which flew slowly along the stretch.
Something caught my eye, a float was on the move and it was mine! I’ve not had much practice at this so far this autumn so it was a relief when everything went to plan and the rod bent round nicely. A long, lean fish allowed itself to be pumped back to the boat where it woke up and charged around a bit. As I reached for the net I heard the unmistakable sound of a ticking baitrunner, another one of my baits was on the move. As I was otherwise engaged Isaac eagerly took his chance and poached a fish on my rod. My fish was a low double which I unhooked in the net and returned in time to bag a fish of seven pounds or so for Isaac who had cheekily christened my new P3. Honours even but my fish was the bigger.
We’d just got the boat back to normal when one of Isaac’s rods was away, I smiled to see him wind down and bend in as if he done it every week. No sooner was this fish unhooked and returned when another of his rods was rattling off. This time he done absolutely everything wrong, struck thin air but still managed to wind down again and hook his fish. At this point things went pear shaped; the mooring rope slipped off the buried oar and the boat began to swing, what’s more one of my rods plopped over the side of the boat. Thankfully Isaac’s fish were getting smaller and this one was soon secured in the net allowing me to swear heartily, retrieve the rod (eventually) and secure the boat once more. Isaac managed to resist ribbing me for the calamity but wasn’t quiet about the 3-1 lead he’d now taken.
The swim had gone quiet so we had a short move downwind and started again. It didn’t take long for one of my baits to be picked up again, the result was another jack. On with another Mackerel and the float had hardly settled before it was travelling along the reedline once more. No mistake and I levelled the score with another jack but they were definitely getting smaller. Meanwhile it looked like ‘Brian’ was on his way as the wind was starting to gust, not a day to be afloat on a more exposed water. It seemed a good idea to cover some of the distance back to base so we had another move. Would we get another chance? Yes, one of Isaac’s floats dipped and slid away giving him the chance to sneak a last minute winner but this time he wound down to a dropped and chewed bait.
The wind was starting to roar and we were both happy to settle for a 3-3 draw, the decision to move closer to the yard had been wise but rowing back was still a good work out. We made it back to base without disaster and were back in the car before the rain came. Because of the manic nature of the fishing I didn’t get the camera out at the right times but here’s a picture of someone keeping a careful eye on the floats.