There is a pike on the edge of the reeds, when everything settles it lunges scattering the fry that hold up in the shade. I have been through every lure in my bag casting and retrieving them as close the stems as I dare but none so far have sparked any interest. Paul a fellow angler spots me and comes over for a chat, eyeing up his brace of rods and bite indicators set up a little way down the bank I ask if he has gone over to the carp side. He tells me he has always been a carp guy and only fishes the float for roach and bream when he has not had much luck with the big fellas, which he says is more often than he would like.
The carp here can get to just under the thirty pound mark but they have seen it all, every rig, bait and trick in the book and while getting fat they have learnt to avoid spending any time out of the water. So we talk about baits and he tells me about one of his friends who used a chicken Macnugget to land a twenty pounder and the next day Paul had been through the drive-in hoping to repeat his friend’s success. Talking weird baits and strange catches is a vast subject, I throw in a couple of tales including the story of the terrapin catch I had made on pellets; the non-native terrapin had probably been released after the Ninja Turtle craze had subsided. Then I tell him about Dave taking a pike on a mussel while float fishing for tench; a fish so ugly it would not be considered pretty if it was amphibian.
It is a little over ten minutes later when Dave arrives as if summoned by the mere discussion of his fishing exploits. To say Dave is an unorthodox fisherman would not quiet convey the distance he has travelled either by design or folly from the main practices of the modern coarse angler. This evening he has two rods, the first is a fly rod fitted with a fixed spool reel to which is attached an unspecified monofilament line, a cage feeder, a hook length of 1.5lb and a size twenty hook, with this set up he hopes to land something. His other rod as if to balance things out is a straight piking, dead bait set up with a bubble float. As he has carried both rods from his house, broken down with the rigs attached and has not brought his glasses the task is given to me to untangle the treble hooks from the feeder and the rod rings; Dave helps by holding his can of beer steady.
I tell him about the topic of our earlier discussion which encourages him to share his own little gems including his story about catching the same catfish in a Thai lake as Jeremy Wade of River Monsters fame. He has lived probably a little longer than the biggest carp in the lake and has seen almost as much but listening can be a bit of guessing game. Dave’s ability to communicate is based largely on the powers of his audience to fill in the bits of his sentence’s that are missing or edit out the bits that have been added by mistake. Sometimes if my concentration dips or Dave breaks his monologue by swigging from the can that he has been using as a microphone I am left with the feeling that I have been eating pasta without the sauce.
The light is falling and Paul asks me if I am still selling lures, and I tell him about the videos and people making them themselves. I tell him about the guys who have made lures from my designs and send me pictures from Australia, and South America of fish and places to fish, we talk for while as the drunks on the far side of the lake laugh into the darkness and the rats scuttle.
A Baramundi on a Phox Minnow made in Australia by Roy Priestley, thanks for sending the image Roy