Not long after I’d cast out my waggler rig I had a phone call from a friend. I was after tench, admittedly a little early for the water I was on, so in this instance the intrusion was a welcomed one. The voice on the other end sounded a little jaded. Make that frustrated. My friend was suffering from Fisherman’s Blues. It had lost its sparkle. Time for some words of encouragement. I thought about something I once read. About history being compared to a wheel. “Inconsistency is my very nature, raise yourself up on my spokes if you wish, but don’t complain when cast back down. Good times pass away but so do the bad.” I didn’t quite think it the best time to start quoting from centuries past but the sentiment was certainly one to push.
The remedy? Well, it was natural that we both came to the same conclusion, of course. Time to take everything unnecessary away. Strip it all back. No pressure. Start to enjoy the little things again before placing any ‘extras’ back on top. There was still a laboured almost resigned tone in his voice but I could tell we had hit a chord. All the while I stared at the float tip. There wasn’t any threat that it may carry out its intended purpose and signal a bite. Yet there I sat. Still. Pleasant time passed but not fulfilling time. A wry smile forced its way on to my face as I thought about the now earlier conversation. Where had the day gone?
That evening, as I started my second pint of beer, I received a text message. It turned out to be the friend from earlier. He had gone out, with maggots and worm, and simply fished. A few gudgeon to start. Then a carp. Finishing with a PB of another species. Success! The tone of his message now much more upbeat. I was over the moon. I decided at that moment that it was time to take a leaf out of his book. Starting first thing in the morning.
So the next day, much later than planned and fuzzy head in tow, off I went with some maggots and a rod. To fish for whatever came along. Small roach or perch, maybe a few tiny tench, or a hungry intruder in the shape of a carp. It didn’t matter. It was just going to be a few active hours where time would hopefully pass away in a much more fulfilling way. Feeding maggots regularly and fishing a bunch of them over the top. Maybe even a worm. Perfect.
It didn’t take long for the fish to give their presence away. A series of patches of tiny bubbles. The unmistakable trademark of a tinca grubbing away in the silt. Any moment now the float would have to slip away. But it did not and I had to keep a regular supply of maggots raining through the water to keep the fish feeding. Eventually their confidence was won and one or two perfect palm sized tench dragged the float tip from my world to theirs. Spirited fighters, punching way above their weight, and pretty to boot. Then the swim became quiet. Too quiet for there not to be a fish there. A certain presence to the apparent absence. It had to be a carp. Patiently I waited and hoped the carp would not spook. I knew the worm hook bait I was using would prove too tempting with time. And so it followed. A savage bite resulting in a plodding fight. A quickly duped mirror carp nestling, confined, in the landing net. This was more like it.
I never mentioned that my friend had also turned up. He enjoyed another cracking days sport. By the end of the session he was glowing. Grinning from ear to ear and already talking about his next outing. What a transformation from the empty angler just a day before. Looking inwardly, I found that I had enjoyed myself a great deal. Much more than I would have done waiting patiently for a bite that deep down I knew probably wouldn’t happen. To see and share the joy of simply fishing with a friend was inspiring and satisfying. Now which way are those spokes travelling?
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