There's no better angling story than to catch against the odds, to rise above adversity and to win the day with a broad grin and a hearty handshake from your impressed peers. Well, my weekend was nothing like that.
I had an evening with my old (literally) fishing mate Bunny. We sat amongst his magazines, model aeroplanes and latest ebay acquisitions and discussed all of those things that matter in life like fishing, politics and women. I love Bunny's company and look forward to our next French trip together.
That night the mild winter gave way to a cold front and I woke to a white, frosty vista and the diminishing chances of a fish wanting to feed. I found Paddy (eventually) at a little carp water in deepest Devon where, despite numerous attempts, Paddy has yet to land a fish. Over a much needed coffee we discussed tactics and the appropriate approach for these telling conditions. Despite the chill there was a fair amount of activity in the pool with fish topping and rolling so I was confident but Paddy reckons this is usual and that they rarely follow it up with a wild feeding frenzy.
I put a couple of rods out with small pva bags and a pop up on one and a bottom bait on the other. Paddy did likewise and we sat back to await action............
I had a run on the pop up. Paddy made some caustic comment or other as my rod bent and I landed a little common of about 7 or 8 pounds. Not exactly a monster but a welcome diversion on such a chilly day. I slipped it back and relaxed, maybe it would take off from then on and when Paddy hit a run I thought things were well and truly on the up ............................. but it came off. Once again the curse that follows Paddy wherever he fishes had struck and he was left to rue the loss and practice his Anglo Saxon. I was, of course, the very epitome of sympathy and support as I laughed and told him he was crap :-)
The surface activity died around midday and it got colder. We packed at dusk and went back to Paddy's cottage on the edge of Exmoor where the evening was spent going through Paddy's newly acquired tackle and explaining what the various bits and pieces do and how to attach or tie them together. This was done as ever more malt whiskey was consumed so most of the lessons were a tad confused or just forgotten by the morning.
A harsh frost settled overnight and although we tried a different, hopefully easier venue, it was obvious that our chances were minimal. And so it turned out, a bitter East wind drifted across the water that was surprisingly busy despite the conditions. To say that my heart was not in it is an understatement and the prospect of returning to Hereford where freezing fog had been settled all day meant that I left for home at about 3pm.
It was, in all fairness, about all that I could have expected from such a weekend. It was great to catch up with old mates and any time spent fishing has a value. I saw a marsh tit (my first), heard a woodcock in the undergrowth and met the intinerant peacock that has adopted Paddy's garden for the time being so how can I complain about the fishing?