The door bell sounded. Instinctively, and much like some Pavlovian subject, I rushed from my seat to the door without hesitation. A quick glance through the ‘peep hole’ revealed the face of a man in his mid forties, distorted by the glass, and appearing as he would do in the back of a spoon. I opened the door to a more normal looking person, no doubt excited about the acquisition about to take place. Letting me know he was here about the fishing tackle I ushered him inside and proceeded to show him the bounty; a well loved and versatile float rod.
It had been mine for more than a few years now and had caught me many different species from a multitude of venues. I recalled first using it late one summer, fishing the waggler with caster for tench on a Cheshire mere. The day had been tough, not many fish were being caught, and around dinnertime the ashen sky began to darken. Brooding in the distance a thunderstorm. Umbrella put up just in time as the first heavy drops of rain fell from the sky. Over the next forty minutes the rig was reeled in. The rain so heavy it simply sank the float. Forked lightning streaked earthbound and the audible reply of the thunder vibrated, both in my ears and my chest, seconds later. It was disconcerting to say the least but also an amazing spectacle. Nature truly a powerful force. Once the storm subsided, I landed a lovely four pound tench on the very next cast, with two others following in quick succession. It christened the rod and cemented a memorable day firmly in my brain.
“Yes, it will handle small carp and tench, perfect for lazy summer days,” I exalted, “but it has enough sensitivity in the tip to hit finicky roach, dace or crucian bites.” I wasn’t kidding either.
Cut to a particularly cold December morning on the local river. We were here at my Dads suggestion. The canals would be frozen over for sure, and although he expected it to be a slow day, he was confident of a bite or two from the resident chub. Again, I fished caster, trotting a light stick float down a lovely length of intimate river. I spent most of the morning in that beautiful swim but had no fish. It was time for a change. I climbed up the high bank behind me and walked downstream. The sound of the weir became louder; like someone turning the volume up on a television playing static. Once I passed the sill, where violent and turbulent currents lashed, the volume began to decrease and where the white, foamy water started to break apart and steady somewhat, I decided to fish. The current pushed my float very close to the near bank but it was ok. There was good depth here, eight feet or so, and I fed the swim with a generous helping of casters, waiting as long as I could before running through. I might have made it to two minutes. First cast and a six ounce dace was swung to hand. Next cast another dace of a similar size. Brilliant! For the next hour and a half I caught around thirty of these dace along with a few better chub mixed in for good measure. It really opened my eyes to the merits of roving on rivers and the pleasure of fishing with balanced tackle. A most enjoyable day with a stunning sunset to end with.
“Well, it sounds like it’ll cover everything I need,” the man said, “I’m just a beginner so this should be perfect.” He handed over the rod tokens, all ten of them, and with a smile said goodbye.
On closing the door I suddenly felt hollow. That would be regret raising its head, I guessed. I realised I’d made a mistake. I felt like opening the door and running after him. Why had I just sold this rod? One that had been with me through the many trials and tribulations of my formative years. The rod who’s carbon had not just a few light scratches etched into it, but also a myriad of memories, successes and failures. A rod who’s handle had collected the oil and dirt of ten years spent nurturing a love and fascination for this most diverse and rewarding pastime. Maybe I shouldn’t have sold an old friend so readily.
There was one consolation though. All I could hope now was that it did the same for its new owner as it had done for its old.
Until next time,