June 13, 2011


Eager to get back to my secret lake I decided to give it a go for a day or two. I was amazed at the amount of weed that had grown in a fortnight. The whole place was in full summer bloom and buzzing with life.

I fished an open swim with a platform that made casting and hopefully, landing fish easier due to bankside reeds and trees. I was happy with my lot and settled back for the evening full of anticipation.

The only thing that disturbed me during the night was Buddy, my dog, who leapt up the bank to investigate every single sound in the undergrowth. At first light he saw off a magpie which later returned only to be seen off again. The amount of arguing from the bird showed it was not used to being bossed about.
A shaft of dawn sunlight burns off the mist

I had a stalk around the lake and saw plenty of fish but they were totally disinterested in food. I assumed that they were about to spawn and felt I'd gain some Brownie points by going home early and doing some gardening.

The next day I removed three elder trees that were a problem in the garden, physical work but I felt no after effects - until the morning when my back started to stiffen. Nicky drove us towards Gloucester where we had things to do. We stopped half way for a coffee and I could hardly get out of the car! My back has been a problem for years but, over the last year or so, it has 'gone' a few times, getting steadily worse. This time was the big one. I was completely crippled with it and have been walking with a stick for over a week. Ah well, the Osteopath is doing well out of it.

So, its been an inactive, boring sort of week but at least I've been able to sit and give the new issue of Riffle my full attention. As I type this, there's only an editorial to write and it will go out in a day or two. This edition will only be displayed on the Association of Barbel Fishers site, so if you want a peak - join :-)

When you are under the weather its always nice to get something in the post. So, I was very pleased when my brother Chris, who had been sorting out his spare room, sent me some of the stuff he's unearthed. With a postcard of Ron and Nancy Reagan (the last card he sent me had King Kong on it along with a badge, now on my fishing hat), was a photograph that I'd wanted to see for years. It's of me and my brother, both looking very guilty, having apparently damaged windows with our air guns. It was taken for an open day at Taunton police station back in the mid-60's. I'm the little fella' with the pistol. I wanted to hold the rifle but my brother is bigger than me.

The other items were some of my first rod licenses. I was certain that they had been stolen, along with a load of other documents, during a burglary but, it would seem that they were at my parent's house and had been given to Chris to sort out.

I can't tell you how pleased I was to get those licenses, well, the first one anyway. As an angler I'm a bit of a hoarder and I'm also quite a sentimentalist when it comes to my fishing past. I can recall my first fishing trip with crystal clarity as I set off with Bob Boyland who was five years my senior (I was 8), on the 1 mile cycle ride to French Weir on the river Tone. We tried a couple of spots but, eventually, by leaning over the top of a fence and lowering my maggot baited size 14 hook into clear water just below the weir sluice, I watched as the minnows surrounded it. I caught 6 of the little brown and black fish, winching them up the side of the high wall and fence with my 2" Bakelite reel - cane and pin don't you know. It was a magical day that I shall remember as long as I hold breath and it was the first step on a very long road.

That first licence cost 6d or 2.5 pence in modern money. It had the sizes on the back of all the fish that you could take home but it took me another year before that was even a consideration as minnows dominated that first summer. I never did find anybody that measured a bream at 14 inches and thought "Mmmm, yummy yummy".


  1. Nice stuff mate, i have a tin with around twenty five years worth of fishing licenses and permits in it............. i would be gutted if it went missing, its my fishing 'history'.

    Good luck with the back mate, i did mine when i was sixteen, suffered with it ever since!

  2. I'm one of those heathens who has a sort out at the start of every season and bins the lot....It takes all sorts you know.

  3. We're all different Ade, its just that you're wrong ;-)