As they had gathered at the Red Lion and as I knew a good few of them, it fell to me to show them around. I was more than happy as I too have been using old cane rods for a while now and I too have turned my back on the high pressure sales technique that our favourite pass time seems to have become. I too am looking for respite, for quiet waters. Unlike some I do not embrace Chris Yates as some sort of deity and you will never catch me in tweeds or moleskins, perhaps I'm just a tad too cynical for such things.
Anyway, I eventually found Stuart, I'd given him minutiae instructions on where to fish but he had found a different area that looked good enough and had taken a chub. He did move to my suggested spot and he did lose a barbel but Stuart has a very itchy bottom and he cannot sit still for long, he tried elsewhere and again caught chub. He also had issues with the resident livestock and was uncomfortable with their 'looking' at him offering "There's a whole pack of them". He was referring to cows by the way.
The river was on the rise, I winkled a chub out then mooched around looking for new arrivals eventually joining the throng in the pub during the evening. All talk was about location and, due to the fast altering conditions, I did my best to put everybody on fish. Bob especially as he was getting over an illness so I again spelled out the finest directions known to man and pointed him to a going swim just fifty yards from a car park.
Next morning I found Bob half a mile beyond that swim. "Is this it?" He asked. "Err, no" I replied, wondering how far he had walked before guessing he had passed the spot? Oh well, whilst he had got this far I put him in the suggested spot that Stu had been in just a few yards beyond. You can tell a hunter by his eyes and when Bob saw the crease before him they sparkled, he couldn't get into position quick enough - he caught barbel too.
To be honest the river did not fulfil its promise and the fishing was hard but everybody got on very well, the sun shone and we managed to spend plenty of time chin wagging and eating some wonderful plum cake.
With the weekend past I was determined to get a fish or two for myself. I hadn't wetted a line on Saturday or Sunday and Monday was spent doing homely stuff so today I wanted to get out before the weather changes. I have found that although I love the feeling of a fish on a cane rod I am not that impressed with the older reels. I have some wonderful centre pins and age makes little difference to their performance but fixed spools, well that's a different story altogether. My Abu Cardinals are smooth and beautifully made and my Hardy Exalta is a miracle of engineering but they all twist the line to a point where I just don't enjoy using them that much. On Monday I bought a brand new Fox Eos Baitrunner.
Tucked under a high bank this evening, watching the cattle silhouetted against an evening sky and listening to the strangled cries of the jackdaws as they settle in their roost I had an urgent pull against my finger and my Chapman 550 took on its battle curve. The modern reel complimented the set up and dealt with the demands upon it with ease. I don't care what anybody thinks, old rods and new reels will do for me and I soon had a veritable torpedo of a fish in the net, long, pointed and with a huge tail. Why couldn't a few more like this have appeared during the weekend?