But when you look back, it is my fishing that always shines brightest. My first fish, my first Carp, my first Pike. I guess I'm lucky in that my train into London Victoria each day gives me time to think, maybe dream. A few years back a week before Christmas the snow fell heavy in our part of the world. It seldom does so I dashed out with my camera.You could hear the flakes fall, utter silence apart from the stream freezing at it's edge. I love these photos, going out just to capture it, then getting home in the warm. I fished the next day and blanked, but it really did not matter.
Now this one to me always makes me smile, three years ago on the river Wye. The culprit Mr DD had experienced a torrid time for two days on the Barbel front. Not a touch, me being me had snatched a couple of nice Barbel. But Mr DD never gave up, he found some Perch and nabbed this PB of three pounds, six ounces. I'll always remember the shout.... "Jay I've got a good Perch on here". I stood up on the high bank and watched every thrust from the fish, every waver and moment of angst from the angler.Yearning the fish not to escape. The Perch hit the net, and when my mate looked round and up, the relief was palpable.A huge smile from us both.
But this, this will live to me until my last breath. My mate Gruff, now Gruff has been busy this season with work. Life does for me, for you get in the way at times. Though this Saturday, he and I will fish together.
Gruff and I are different, his from Yorkshire, he is I think now is sixty two? Thoughtful, an engineer by trade. He repairs my cane rods, boiler and makes his own centerpin reels when he has time. Me, well I'm forty four and an office "bod" If I ever phone Gruff to ask advice to mend anything the reply is always the same..."Don't touch it kid, it will be fit for fuck all if you get your hands on it, I'm on my way". His right though, me well changing a light bulb takes a weeks run up. Hurtful but true.
But this Pike, well a few years back we shared a bay on the river. A very mild January, we had few Jacks, the Gruff's float buried. What a fight, she went down under the near bank, line grating on the branches. Shook her head, angry, venomous. The river was not long back in the bank, so netting her was difficult, the footing covered in silt. A big stretch and a wobble from me and she went in.
"Good fish that Gruff"
"Fook me kid, yeah"
I unhooked her, we weighed her and bang on nineteen pound. Photos taken, I slipped her back. Gruff had hold of my coat in case I went in. People have said that's not a nineteen in the past, we both weighed her and the man is a lump. But we both know, that's good enough for us. As Walker said..... No need to lie, unless your are on a sponsorship, free bait et al. Then it would be a good mid twenty.
When the pair of us watched her swim off, two grown men man hugged on the bank a good fish for this river. That's fishing to me, not always about what I caught, but the memories. I hope it is the same for us all.
Here is to Saturday mate .