Banana fingered man attempts to tie knots. Brothers decorate lake side tree. Well groomed granny wins best dressed award.
I was up at 'sparrow fart' to be greeted by a sky greyer than an elephant’s backside in a mono-chrome photograph. Nothing to worry about. The crystal ball polishers at the Met office said that there would be no rain until six that evening. Driving to Luckfield the clouds began to lightly sweat everywhere causing the windscreen muck spreaders to spring into life. It won’t be much because no rain was forecast.
My heart sank when I saw a solitary car parked at by the gate. The same gate that I fixed a deceptively legible sign saying that the lake was closed. Oh dear…
I grabbed my super official looking membership card which is attached to the lanyard of power inscribed with the legend saying, ‘Society Official’. Wearing it makes me feel like I’m wearing my big boy pants.
The mist from an angel’s armpit had by now changed to droplets from the fountain of joy. I turned back and plucked my Warty-proof jacket from the chariot. This was going to be a good idea very soon.
The gentleman had set up his stall in peg five and, after exchanging the customary greetings that moist anglers do, I asked him if he would like the good news or the bad news? He chose the bad news, and I delivered the fact that the lake was closed today as softly as I could. He mumbled words like ‘Good gracious, if only I had known’, and ‘Cripes, that’s so awfully inconvenient’. To be fair, he took it well and decided to pack away and leave. I did offer him the opportunity to stay until 9:30 if he wished. But he declined and I left him to it. Later, in the car park, I slipped into ‘Full English mode’ and apologised at least 27 times…
As I made my way back to the gate, the clouds had ripped open, and the rain was pouring through the gaping wound pelting me and everything else. My big boy pants were wet through, and my skin was soaked through to the skin. I sought sanctuary in the car.
The rain by now was biblical, and it is at times like this that anglers start to question their sanity. It was the special rain that comes straight down, maybe slightly to the left, and is extremely wet. Up yours Met Office!
Apocalyptic rain eventually stopped, and we can fast forward over setting everything up and having a brief dabble down the edge.
One Roach later the participants started to arrive.
We waited a while for everyone to be present. Kenzie was running a little late, Kevin and Jack were off-roading down the lane, and Austin was…well who knows where Austin was?
The Winspers arrived as did Kenzie and Tina. I couldn’t wait any longer and moved towards the tutorial arena. Sgt. Bracey was positioned on my box and was ready to take the tutorial. Happy days! I could take some pictures and throw some witty heckles! The Shrimps were threatened with a quick death if they didn’t listen to the Wookie as he waltzed through the basics of rudimentary feeder fishing. I added to the pearls of wisdom by showing how to tie a shock leader on and setting up ‘Tucker Style’…
The Shrimps did well to stick with it and, before too long, were released back into the wild. It was at this point that Austin finally arrived with someone that I though was his auntie. It turned out the lovely Alison was his Gran! (I promised I’d write that because flattery and flannel gets you everywhere!). Apparently, the effervescent Alison had to get her hair done before coming to the lake. I told her that she need not have gone to such great lengths for a junior event, but that I appreciated the effort she had made. Of course, this could have just been a ploy to avoid listening to me droning on about fishing. Later, when I got home, M’Lady said that the expense of a hair appointment was a small price to pay to avoid listening to me talking on any subject, and that she would be employing similar techniques in the future.
I spent the first part of the day watching Tina avoiding Kenzie’s swinging feeder at all costs. She revealed a dread fear of flying hooks. Fear of the ‘Nylon accelerated tungsten piercing’ is a valid one, particularly where juniors are concerned. I swear telling them to ‘do a safety check before you cast’, is translated as ‘Make sure you have a live target within range before you cast’ in their prepubescent minds. I will be filming Tina with a full phone battery if we ever go fly casting! Kenzie fished well today and caught some spectacular Roach and a Tench.
Round on peg five, still warm from its previous inhabitant, the Cryer brothers were doing their level best to festoon the surrounding trees with as much fishing equipment as was humanly possible. It would have been cheaper to hang five-pound-notes from the branches. The deceptively high branches were being treated to some new jewellery at an alarming rate at the start, but they soon settled into a rhythm of one hook every 15-minutes… Paul had placed them both in swim five, I assume so they could help each other seeing as Paul needed to shoot off for something that he described as ‘Work’. I looked this word up when I got home, and I don’t like the sound of it at all. I think I’ll just stick to cooking, laundry, and jet washing M’Lady in the back garden three times a week. (She do squeal when it be cold!). Putting brothers so close in a confined space could have been a recipe for disaster! But they were as good as gold. They are both quiet lads and you don’t normally get a lot out of them. But today they were singing like Canaries. We spoke briefly about home, and they spoke fondly about their mum, Daniela, who is off Czech descent. I asked them if we would get to meet her? They said probably not because she is not keen on fishing, but she does like the taste of Carp. I then realised that, perhaps for Daniela, returning Carp to a lake having caught them is like trying stick steaks back on the cow! You just wouldn’t do it! I realise that I may have created a scene of carnage in your mind. A macabre scenario of someone trying to build and ‘Ikea-cow’, one steak at a time. My apologies to any plant murderers reading this.
Jack and Grandad Kevin were happily positioned in peg one. Kevin has already said that he is willing to purchase any gear that Jack will need to pursue a sport that he clearly loves so much. I told Alan about this at the shop, and he instantly opened a Swiss bank account in readiness (another one?).
Kevin is a tough cookie. Heralding from the darkest parts of West Bromwich, Kevin has probably seen most things and done a lot more. But his face when we are talking through the more intricate parts of fishing one of bemused amazement. Kev mentions often that he ‘knows nothing about fishing’ and I hope we can remedy that.
He also mentioned that, if it gets too hot, he will think nothing of stripping off and going for a dip. I advised against this during a junior event, however. Not only because the sight of, let’s say, a larger framed man in speedos which may overwhelm (nauseate) some of the ladies present. But also, because the juniors might mistake the giant bow wave as the biggest Carp they had ever seen and start a Blitzkrieg of feeders heading in Kevin’s general direction! Jack fished happily with both feeder and pole and caught well today. Practice is everything…
Austin and Alison (Vogue-Gran) were positioned in shady peg nine, and Austin was catching lots of small Roach and fancy looking fan tail Carps. We discussed last weekends match and about overloading the feeder and the consequences of doing so. As usual, Austin absorbed the droning well. Vogue-Gran and I talked a lot about the juniors, and how her daughters’ internal compass is so damaged. I told her that I thought that Amy was avoiding me and how much I missed the source of so much blog material. Alison did recoil from the camera saying that she can avoid having her picture taking most of the time. Not on this occasion, I said, because I had already got her! I later received a strict telling off by M’Lady about using pictures of people who do not want to be photographed and spend the night outside with the cat. (The cat has a surprisingly interesting social life). Austin called across the lake that he had landed a 4lb Bream. With no specimen fish of any note yet recorded, I trotted round to weigh it. 2lbs 8ozs… Later, the shout went up for a 1.5lb Crucian Carp, a specimen indeed. Back I went with the scales… 1lb Fan-tailed Carp/Goldfish/Carassio(?)… Finally, another shout for a huge Bream. ‘It better be big because I don’t get fat from walking everywhere you know!’, said a now wheezing Lead Coach. 3lbs 1ozs… In my mind, I’d thrown Austin in and held him under until the struggling stopped. I shot him one of my sternest looks and I hoped that would be the end of this nonsense.
The Knight Rider was in the next peg and Kit was doing battle with some hefty fish. Sadly, they were winning. I have never seen a feeder so deeply embedded into a Lilypad before and was secretly impressed. Kit was sat in the swim that Austin had had an amazing bag of silverfish from earlier in the year. But it was big fish bust for Kit today, and he set about trying to even the score. I was not present at the time, but I think he caught a Tench(?) at one point during the session. Kit and I made whispered plans to visit Todber to practice for the up-coming pairs match where we would all watch Richy Butler catch 400lbs+ in four hours. Sadly, I am not able to join everyone on the 29th for the practice coaching session because I am taking M’Lady to Bournemouth Hospital. She’s getting her knees polished or elbows sharpened …. Something like that.
Later, there was a point at which Kenzie had stepped off my seat box and wandered off. I seized the opportunity because the fish were looking like they wanted to be shallow and prime picking for a pellet waggler fan like me. I started to ‘ping’ 4mm pellets into the lake, and it wasn’t that long before the swirls started forming on the surface. (Some of the dry 4mm pellets float, helping to feed the fish on the surface). I leapt from the box like an injured arthritic Gazelle and unpacked the pellet wag. By now, Kenzie had zipped back in my seat (the little monkey!), but I was focused on the task in hand. As I set up the rod, I explained what I was going to try to do and how I would execute the process. More swirls, less pellets more regularly and eventually it was time to cast in the float. First cast, nothing… Second cast, same… Third cast, WHAMMO!, and the fight was on… I pulled the fish from the Lilypads and patiently started to fight the fish in open water. Chris by now was telling Kenzie what I was doing as it happened. I was engrossed in the battle, and we all know about men and multitasking! I confess that I liked this ‘live commentary’ and I’m thinking of paying Chris to commentate on my everyday life more often. He’s got such a lovely voice. Every bit equal to Daniel Craig or Benolin Bumbley-Snatch, or whatever his name is… After a decent battle the fish was in the net and went 10lbs 8ozs on the scales. Gasps from the juniors, and I felt like a rockstar again! How easily pleased am I? Pellet-Wag-Man strikes again!
All too soon the day was at an end and, like all junior events, had come and gone in a blink of an eye. It was then that I realised that I had no pictures with which to blog with. What should have been a mild panic, wasn’t. Because everyone was still fishing and did not want to leave. The weather was good, the lake looked resplendent, and everyone was enjoying the day. I’m going to chalk that one up as a win…
Photo’s grabbed, eventually it was time to leave. I packed up and chewed the fat with a chap who had turned up to fish now we had finished. I had arrived at the lake at 8:05am and I left at 5:40pm, a typical junior fishing day for me. I will admit to feeling a bit burned out in the last couple of weeks. It’s not the physical side but trying to think of subjects to coach. Harry told me that he wanted to learn more about Carp fishing, and I will try to accommodate him at some point. If there are any areas of fishing that our juniors wish to know more about, then please let me know. Writing this I’m feeling more revitalised and enthusiastic than of late. Maybe because I have a weekend off.
When I got home, I read an email that I found very exciting. I am not going to say too much until I have finalised the details but, I can tell you it involves a very special guest and a brand-new venue for our junior events. Intriguing huh? Watch this space…
As usual I must thank our two intrepid coaches in the shape of Agricultural Chris Painter and Sgt. Jerry Bracey for their knowledge, help and support today.
I’m going to give a shout out to the dedicated efforts of the parents and grandparents too. Without you, we would have no juniors to coach! Thank you…
The Tuesday Club returns to Sharnhill next week, weather permitting. The long-range forecast looks iffy at best. I will let you know in due course.
Take care and tight lines,