It has been a long time since my last ramblings. Apologies, to you my loyal and patient reader. Life has a way of impacting on our pass times.
As you may have guessed I’m moving away from shooting for this little tome and I hope you enjoy.
As you may have guessed I like nothing more than instructing a novice, no matter the age in the art of all things Field sports. This includes the piscatorial pursuits or simply fishing.
Allow me to transport you back some fifteen years. My own kids would of been about 13 years old , I would be about 33ish , and back then I was a very keen maggot drowner, (angler). My wife was convinced I would fish any puddle after a downpour.
As with all fathers I was very keen to involve my son but my ultimate ambition was to involve my daughter too. Bold idea I know but the Gods love a trier.
So after much cajoling and if you come fishing I will take you…..whatever my daughter chose to do, she actually agreed and even talked her best friend in joining us.
You bet I was. I can’t say my son was too thrilled though but, Hey Ho, a deal was a deal.
The desired day was agreed upon.
The venue for our epic adventure was decided. Nothing too bold, no Carp match for our little band, we decided on our local park lake as our destination.
The weather checked. Maggots purchased and stored overnight, in the fridge, and the fishing gear was given a final check over. All was set.
What had I let myself in for?
So the Sunday in question dawned. Clear blue skies with little puff ball of clouds here and there and a slight, cooling breeze.
Time to rouse the troops and hit the Park Lake before the boaters came out.
Dear reader, please tell me how two teenage girls can take nearly two hours to get ready for a day’s fishing ? Why does it matter that your top is not coordinated with your hair bobble thingy. Does it matter what perfume you wear?
The blooming fish don’t care.
At around mid-morning we arrived at the Park lake, luckily I don’t live miles away from it , and I designated the girls their ‘swim’ which would be between my sons and mine. All the better to keep an eye on them.
I set about showing the girls how to set up the rod, fit the reel, thread the line through the eyelets, affix a float and shot and tie on a hook (size 16 if I remember right) then came the awkward bit. HOOKING A MAGGOT.
Those of you that partake in the piscatorial pursuits will know maggots can be smelly, slimy and, if warm, wriggle like buggery.
As the day had turned into a balmy summer’s day the maggots were on top form. The girls did that little on the spot jumpy thing girls do and shrieked ‘EEEeeewwww’
Oh dear. This did not bode well.
After much ‘it stinks’ and I’m not touching that’s daddy hooked the maggot.
My daughter took the rod, eyeing the now hooked and dangling maggot as if it would attack her, and gently and dare I say expertly, cast the line. The float landed with a gentle plop and a quick turn of the reel’s handle had the line sunk. The girls were set.
Now it was my turn. Road assembled. Reel fitted .Line threaded. Hook, shot and float attached. A few casts and a few float adjustments had just the tip protruding above the water. Perfect.
Reel in, hook a maggot and recast then a few maggots scattered around the float tip and wait.
Some say men cannot concentrate for long.
Not so. I can concentrate on a float tip for hours (and I have).
A quick glance showed the man child was setup and intently watching his float tip.
A chip off, the old block that one.
The girls were busy chatting about ………whatever girls chat about and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Life, at that moment, was bliss.
Have you noticed how staring at a float tip, for what seems hours, you can make it move?
I’m sure it twitched. Your hand hovers over your rod, like a gunfighter in the old westerns, waiting to strike. Your whole body tenses waiting to lift the rod and set the hook.
And then everything goes still.
Nothing, not a twitch.
This fishing lark can be annoying at times.
Do you have kids, dear reader, if so then you will know they have a short attention span. Girls, I think, are the worse.
As the morning headed to mid-day the two girls were restless. Wondering the lake side and chatting about whatever girls chat about.
The boy child and I remained focused on our respective floats.
DAD, DAD I can’t see my float! Says my daughter.
Lift your rod then’ says I
ITS TWITCHING, ITS TWITCHING, WHAT DO I DO? shrieked the daughter.
All hell broke loose. Leanne, the daughters friend was jumping up and down on the spot whilst repeating you’ve got one, you’ve got one’
My daughter was winding the reel handle the wrong way whilst the boy child and I gave advice on her technique and playing the fish.
After much shrieking and plenty of good advice the fish was on the lakeside. A small skimmer bream. My daughter’s first fish caught with a small low budget starter rod. I was proud. My daughter was ‘buzzing’ even the boy child was a little impressed with his sisters fishing prowess. On offering to rebait the girls decided to give it a miss and headed to the swing park leaving the boy child and I in peace.
And so the float watching resumed.
After what seemed like an eternity and possible eye strain my float dipped. Not once but twice so I struck, my hook bit, and the rod tip bent over. I reeled in what felt like a whale. As it broke water I saw its white belly. My pulse raced. The man child was creased up with laughter.
I’d only hooked a blooming carrier bag.
People should dispose of their rubbish better.
Feeling a little sheepish, I rebaited my hook , cast out and settled my rod on its rest.
And so the eternal contest between man and fish continued.
The day wore on. My float remained motionless. I trickled in a few maggots and waited.
The sun continued its arc across the sky and evening settled across the park.
I trickled in a few more maggots.
Suddenly there was a flash of wings and a splash of water. My rod tip bent and the reel screamed.
I grab the rod with lightening reflexes and tightened the clutch.
I could not believe my eyes.
A blooming Mallard, male duck, had swooped down for a beak full of maggot but had grabbed the hooked one and was now furiously trying to gain height against the tension of my line and reel.
The man child was by now howling with laughter as I reeled in the somewhat furious duck.
Just as I got it near the bank it would try to fly off again.
Now, dear reader, Mother Nature has a way of maintaining the balance. Reproduction is key in maintaining the natural balance in the wild.
However there can be the odd anomaly within Mother Nature.
As I’m trying to “play” the hooked duck to the shore and said duck was flapping like a mad thing in swoops another Mallard which landed on the hooked ducks back and promptly attempted to umm eerrrr, make little ducks.
The man child was beyond himself by now and so it was left to me and my expert angling skill and rod, reel control to wrestle the two ducks to the shore.
As i got the two birds within my grasp the more amorous duck paddled clear allowing me to grab the hooked duck by its neck and lift it ashore.
Straddling the duck I held it by its neck behind its head and, using my trusty forceps, removed the hook from the corner of its bill. Lucky the duck hadn’t swallowed the hook really.
Once the hook was removed I returned the duck to the water’s edge and it swam, flapped away.
After a brief reflection on the days angling and the results it was decided to call it a day so we packed up.
The days results; my daughter = 1 small skimmer bream.
The man child = nothing except sore ribs from laughing so hard.
Yours truly = 1 carrier bag, 1 mallard duck and out of pocket by about a fiver for maggots.
Some may say, dear reader, there is a lesson to be learned from this days experience.
But I’ve never been one to let a lesson learned getting in the way of getting outdoors and engaging Mother Nature in all her splendor.
That’s a story for another time though.
Take care until next time dear reader, tight lines and shoot straight.