I nipped to the bedroom, strapped myself up and took two steps forward. The next minute or so was one of me hobbling toward the front room whilst uttering gutteral noises that were a mix of comments on the pain level and a list of every expletive I know. "What's up?" said dearly beloved, "If you don't say I can't help you". Eventually I was able to breath normally and find my voice, I expressed myself clearly as I slumped into a chair with one last, very loud, curse.
Trip cancelled and off to A&E. I could put no weight on my left leg neither could I straighten the damned thing. The doctor was talking about laughing gas and hitting it back into place but he couldn't find the right pain killers so it was two Paracetamols and a full Velcro leg splint. Getting back into the car was reminiscent of this....
I thought I was in for a long haul of immobility but by the Monday appointment back at the hospital, all had settled in my left knee and I was told to go away. The problem was though, the limping had thrown my back out and the sciatica was making my right knee hurt - a lot.
By the following Sunday I felt it necessary to have a day session and gingerly descended the steep bank to my chosen spot - about five times to get everything in place.
Despite the potential of this swim I failed to get so much as a twitch. I found some fish feeding nearby but it meant shifting tackle and an even steeper climb. I took the blank and left.
Frustrated by my lack of fishing - well, catching, I was back at the lake last Friday. Another two nights planned, again with Neil albeit he'd only be contactable on the walkie talkies as he was as far from me as possible - charming. I got there first and picked an area where I'd seen fish moving on my last visit. It was a long chuck across and it took me a couple of hours to get three rods set up, bait in place and everything ready to go.
I didn't want three rods on the same spot and decided to drop one short. I've had plenty of fish from the margins but in this swim it's very shallow. I found the drop off into deeper water about 20 yards out. It was reached by casting around an overhanging tree from an awkward angle which, I figured, would make it virtually unfished. I baited lightly over my rig thinking that steady feed over the session may bring a bite there from a cruising fish or two.
Soon after casting, Neil arrived and collected some bait from me. I had a single 'bream' bleep on one of the distant rods, we both commented on their nuisance value. As we chatted I heard another bleep - bleep but this one became a one toner. It was the inside rod and a powerful fish headed off left with me pretty much helpless to do anything about it.
"Well, I'll be off then" said Neil, which made me laugh. He did stay and offered encouragement and comments on the fish's strength and cunning as it powered through branches hanging in the water and made powerful long runs all around. Then its back came out of the water and we both gasped at how dark it was, most unusual for this water. Maybe the hot weather and low, clear water has had an effect.
After a memorable fight it went into the net without too much fuss and weighed in at a satisfying 31lbs exactly.
There you are. A pretty rubbish season so far then a thirty after twenty minutes on a new spot. Fishing eh? Don't you just love it.
I was satisfied but fished on until dusk when I wound in and slept long and happily until my dream about an attractive girl kissing me became my dog licking my face as he wanted his breakfast.
The forecast for the next day was rain, rain and more rain. I hate packing when it's wet so I decided to call it quits and head home. Neil stuck it out and had seven fish, six of which were over twenty pounds. But hey, I was only fishing for thirties.