August 25, 2013


Determined to catch some more crucians I decided to improve my set up. The cane rod was just too heavy to hold in a 'ready to strike pose' all day and I figured I would miss bites as my arm got slower as the session progressed. I dug out a 6 metre whip from the back of the garage and converted the tip to take 30" of pole elastic, I then bought a couple of pole floats and off I went ready to sort them out.

A few hours after the session started I was well aware of why I had to give up my 11 metre pole some twenty years ago. I was involved in a car accident that screwed my neck up and that, with ongoing lower back problems, became very apparent very quickly. I grimaced and stuck at it for a while catching lots of roach on bread, corn and cubes of meat but, although I am convinced they were on my feed some of the time, I failed to see another crucian carp.

The effect of that day was to put a crimp on my fishing activities and general mood for a while but I still went and did another ouch. I was sat in an uncomfortable swim that I tend to fish for short periods at a time. Its one of those 'if they're at home you'll get one' swims that rarely produce if nothing's shown up in the first twenty or thirty minutes. This time it took just two minutes and I stood quickly to connect with the fish banging my hip on something protruding from the hedge to my left. Adrenalin and concentration make us ignore such inconveniences and I quickly slipped the net under a listless chub. It had the head of a big five but the body of a tadpole, I weighed it and it barely passed the four pounds mark. A lot of the bigger chub look like this at present, I wonder if they are carrying a disease or parasite. There are plenty of fit youngsters coming through so I can only hope for a bright future.

Twenty minutes later and the rod twitched then bent upstream in the direction of a hefty snag, I leapt into action and completely forgot about my previous encounter with the protrusion - OW! This time I hit my waist and it fair took my breath away but not enough to prevent me landing a small barbel.

I packed up soon after and went to sit with Neil who'd also had one of each in a far more comfortable spot. I said I'd sit and chew the fat but he insisted we share the swim - as long as I sat upstream of him. I put my rod together, cast out and say back with an audible groan into my reclining chair. Three times I had to move, tutting and grunting like some geriatric as I did so. Twice for barbel and once for a chub. Poor Neil managed one more chub from the best bit of the swim before we called it Beer O'Clock and retired to the pub.

My bumps developed into outstanding bruises. When does that happen? When young your body shrugs off injury with a spot of blue before fading after a few days then, when you reach a certain age, bruises go black and purple and hang around for ever. Our bodies never miss a trick when telling you you ain't getting any younger and mine's been shouting all week.

Despite my grumpiness I joined Neil for another session and had my eye on a particularly uncomfortable swim that, when we arrived, I reluctantly declined in favour of an easy access. Neil jumped in to it and had three fine barbel to eight and a half pounds whilst I sat and watched a static rod all evening. The strange thing about this is that I didn't really mind. The last couple of seasons I've been setting up in a swim only to find that I'm restless, losing concentration and interest and considering either a move or packing up. A look at my watch has often surprised myself when I realise I've only been there about thirty minutes. However, I seem to be past that, I am more content and am happy to stare at the rod, watch the world go by and, in the case of this trip in particular, watch the Blue Moon rising. I haven't listened to my radio whilst fishing since before Wimbledon nor have I read a book or done a crossword. I seem to rediscovered the simple pleasure of contemplation which, despite the odd bump, bruise or prolapsed disc has been extremely satisfying.


  1. looked a good trip Dave,

    know what you mean regarding the chub, big head and shrunken body as have had the odd one very similar to the one in your picture a few seasons ago.

    Looks a lovely part of the world where you live. Unfortunately my area in Berkshire a lot of housing development has been given the go ahead and is going to turn the area into the next Slough in my opinion, with many 1000s of houses all penned for construction along with the expected supermarkets and other infrastructure that comes with them.

  2. Its not coincidence that I live here Mark, I moved here because it has the Wye and plenty of open spaces :o) So don't ask for a swap.