My dad first took me fishing when I was about 4 years old, on the local canal, where I watched him catch roach after roach on caster. Good sized fish were caught, with some fish well over a pound, there was even a rogue carp caught in the evening. A white and grey ghost carp and it looked colossal. I caught little perch a few feet from the bank. It was amazing how my swim fed itself all day and the fish kept coming. My dad of course responsible for this. I also fished out great crested newts, that were abundant at the time, with the landing net when I needed a ‘break’ from the fishing. It really was eye opening. Dragonflies, damselflies, shrews, roach and perch, newts and frogs, croaking as the sun sank. All this a mile from our home, in the middle of a busy city. Another world to me.
I must have been a real pain to take fishing. Relentless questions, fidgeting and climbing trees, my old man must have had the patience of a saint. But still he kept taking me and answering my questions, offering advice and encouragement, letting me make my own mistakes before showing me how to avoid them. He was a fantastic teacher and I have a lot to thank him for. Now its my turn to ‘put up’ with things, like he used to do, ‘that peg could have been a bit more comfortable’, or ‘I’m not going if its raining anymore – I’m past all that,’ and my personal favourite, ‘I’ve told you I’m not using any of those stinking pellets!”
Recently, I had a trip out with my favourite grump. We fished very differently to that first trip to the canal. My dad opting for waggler fished caster and hemp whilst I tried the lift method and sweetcorn. It was a lovely sun filled day and we fished into clear water. Dark shapes, and some brightly coloured ones, swam past with regularity. I was the first to get a bite, a dark, wood hued mirror carp with beautiful plated scales. We both admired the fish before it was released, watching it swim away strongly, a congratulatory nod in my direction from the old man.
My dads swim didn’t wake up at any point in the day. Still he fished on, with as much enthusiasm as he once did, perhaps only lacking the drive to practice more regularly. I hooked another fish around dinner time, a common carp this time, followed next cast by another, both of similar size. The icing on the cake came a while later in the form of a beautiful ghost carp, white and grey shades the majority of its colour with flecks of orange, and the hardest fighter of the day. A echo back to that first session on the canal many years ago. Strange how events unfold.
I really enjoyed the day out with my dad. He shown as much interest in what I was doing now as I used to show him when I was younger. Seeing something he has practised for so long through fresh eyes perhaps. Or maybe he was appreciating an angler doing nothing more than enjoying his fishing. An angler that probably wouldn’t be an angler if not for his tremendous help and investment. Yes, I certainly have a lot to thank my old man for. So thanks, dad.
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