FWTCW - Todber Manor - Ash Lake

Updated: Aug 26


WIND, BLOOD AND THE SEXTUPLE TON...

I got up in time to kick the Cockerel (early) in an attempt to arrive at Todber Manor before the shop opened. A peg saving strategy that has worked well for me in the past and there was no reason why it shouldn't today. Trudie was gutted to not be attending the session, she really has got the taste for being outside again, which is great to see. But, we had agreed on baby steps to start with and Todber is 20 miles from the safety of the home if anything went wrong. I promised to take her next time, gave her a warm cuddle, and then legged it.... (Joking x)

As I meandered through the small villages of the Piddle valley (The Piddles), I was thinking to myself how proud Mike would be to see me successfully navigating my way along a road that I have used hundreds of times before, this time without getting lost. I still can not explain exactly what happened the last time we came this way. I can only assume I had some kind of mild stroke, a glitch in the Matrix or I was abducted by aliens. Any of those three seem a sensible excuse to me....

Upon arrival at 'The Manor', I was not the first one there! Mild oaths of an earlier start were mixed in with extreme resentment of those that had beaten me to it. One or two Grockles (Holiday makers), some chavy tent anglers and two guys already sat at the heart attack van for their 'Breakfast'.

I parked strategically, so I could get a good run at the roadway to the lakes from the shop. If they were going to get through the door first, by God they weren't going to get up the track before me. I left the car to go and eye up those of the group who were fatter than me and those that I thought I might be able to beat in a high speed 'mince' back to the car after obtaining my day ticket. You never want to be seen to be running to the pegs you want, it just seems unnecessarily desperate. So I was planning to adopt the mincing method of speed walking similar to those that may get caught short after a night on the curry and beer...

The sizing up had begun, but was then suddenly halted by the appearance Red Fox himself, Mr T Foyle and his chiselled thighs...

We entered the now open shop to purchase the necessarily admin and Tom let some moths out of his wallet by spending a cool some of money on 'stuff'. It really is a great shop at Todber, and I was way beyond four or five hundred pound myself, until I snapped myself back into reality and put the bag of groundbait back that I realised that I didn't need... The Red Fox and I then made our way up to the lakes and stopped to exercise what we pass off for advanced watercraft, by accessing a mobile app to see which way north was, so we could work out the wind direction. We both agreed it was coming from 'That way', and that way was anywhere between North East to East...ish. Pin pointing the wind so accurately like this, is essential to deciding if it was warm or cold wind, thus dictating the end of the lake to fish. We surmised that the far end would be best, a decision that was reached, in the large part, by the fact that you can park behind your peg anywhere along Ash lake.

The fox chose an ex Des Shipp peg from a match report he'd stumbled across recently. I couldn't help thinking that he may be hoping to rub himself on the platform, a bit like a cat, to pick up some of the 'essence of Shipp' and therefore some of the residual talent left there by the great man...

I decided my home would be peg 72, two pegs from the Fox, to deter him from his straying pellet waggler. His floats are known to home in on swims that are more productive than his own, as I learned to my cost in the past...

The set up process was going along nicely, although there was a stiff breeze blowing in over our right shoulder at a forty five degree angle. Then it happened. The moment that would seal the fate of the Fox for the day.

Now, young Thomas is a fair skinned chap, who usually has the rosy flush of an untouched milk maid most of the time. But not now. Now he looked....different. There was a haste to his step, an urgency if you will. He was pale. Something was amiss.

I enquired to his wellbeing? His reply was curt. "I've just cut my <expletive> finger"...

Like a Gazelle, I leapt to his aid and rushed to the back of his open car. He had indeed cut himself. Enough to have been an extra in a horror film anyway.

I offered him comfort by suggesting that I had been more injured the last time I had cut my toe nails. But the lad was wobbling at the sight of the stream of crimson that had found it's way down the back of his hand and on to the floor. I remember thinking that, if he did pass out at the sight of his own blood, would it be acceptable to throw lake water over him, or use some of his fresher, cold drinking water. Which ever would have been utilized, there was no way I was going to able to shift him from the road way. Some kind of diversion would need to be employed, like an open car door to make the cars swerve around the stricken soul.

Fortunately, he had a first aid kit, of sorts, that had some small plasters, some gauze and some tape, the end of which was being difficult... I took a peek at the offending finger and you could indeed see daylight through a part of it that you should otherwise not able to.

A mixture of first aid training and parental instinct kicked as I opened a small gauze pad and attempted find the end of the impossible tape. I found it and it tore a thin strip off that would not have restrained a difficult ant. The strip then attached itself to me instead, causing much gnashing of teeth as the boy bled out. However, the Fox had the situation under control by finding a grubby roll of red electricians tape, that I'm sure had been thoroughly sanitized. I moistened a gauze pad with some of Tom's drinking water (Made from the tears of his pupils I'm told) and began to wipe the blood from his hand. I swear I heard the theme tune to Titanic as we shared 'a moment', but I was snapped out of it by Tom saying "I think I can manage that mate". I suddenly felt awkward and dissolved the situation by expertly asking if he wanted me to kiss it better? Tom declined the sarcastic comment and asked if I wanted him to put the finger somewhere personal? Again, this offer was declined and I couldn't help thinking that the place he offered to put the injured finger would not result in some kind of severe infection for one or both of us...Electricians tape can be very sharp..

Together we had saved his life, or at least his finger. So, more comfort was offered in the shape of a 'Man up snowflake', and the setting up was resumed.

Naturally Tom was now handicapped with the now throbbing digit, but I didn't see the need for him to be waving the taped up finger at me just because it was the middle one...

PC Bracey arrived just as we had started fishing and joined in with the caring sympathy for Tom's injury. When we had stopped laughing, it was time to get on with some serious practice.

I started before the other two (for once) and had a fish on immediately. We chuckled about how the bait must have fallen in the fishes mouth when it yawned. But it happened again, and again, and again. One of the fish being around the 8 or 9lb mark. In 10 minutes I had banked at 20lb of fish. Was this going to be one of those days that Todber is renowned for?

During this time I was wondering where Pantsman and Mrs Guru were. Then Trudie called from home to say that she had seen a message to say that our other companions were not going to make it. We were going to be juniorless again... Which was a shame because things just got better and better.

It didn't matter what I did, or what bait I used, I just kept catching Carp. Feeder, Waggler, Pole, they were everywhere! I normally try to find out the methods that do not work, but everything did! Incredible fishing...

PC Bracey was doing his best to use every rig in his box and give the fish a fighting chance by letting them go before they reached his landing net. A kind of 'catch and release' if you will...

By now, I was pushing through 50, 60, 70 fish and closing in fast on the big 100. So I decided that 'The Ton' was going to signal lunch time, for me at least...

I sat with Jerry and, after the nosebag (lunch), I wandered up to a group of three kids and their granddad to introduce myself and explain about our Juniors. I guess we will see if they remain as interested as they seemed when I explained what it is that we do...

Tom's friend, Sam, had turned up and Jerry and I thanked him for entertaining Tom meaning we didn't have to...

Towards the end of the session, the Red Fox was suffering from what I can only imagine as extremely low blood pressure from the injury. Sam had helped him to redress the wound with fresh surgical red electricians tape, but it was still leaking. So our brave boy decided that enough was enough, and it was time to drag his corpse to A&E. Probably for some more professionally applied electricians tape. We said our goodbyes and got back to some serious bagging.

Recently, the venue record for Todber had been smashed with an enormous 647lb in just 5 hours. Jerry and I questioned how on earth someone could catch fish that fast? So, I set myself a challenge. It was now 4.00pm and I would be packing up at 4.30pm. My tally was sitting at 160 Carp. Could I catch 40 Carp in 30 minutes? Challenge accepted!

Head down, no talking, just fishing....

As 4.30 ticked round, I had just 9 fish to go. I hadn't managed to meet my impossible challenge, but I was not going to miss out on catching 200 Carp... It only took another 7 minutes to meet the required amount.

Jerry has a rep for pretty accurately guessing the weight/size of his fish and, he had caught over 60 Carp for an estimated weight of around 187lbs. We agreed that the average weight of the fish was a good 3lb and he thought that I had topped in excess of 640lbs+... I am not as good as Jerry at guessing weights, but I can count.

I am happy to know that, during my session, when I tried various methods to see if I could find what would not work, I have caught way over 600lbs of fish... My best day ever!

Critical Injury Update:

As many of you will be familiar with Tom, and not in that way I hope!, you will be like me and not be able to sleep without knowing the outcome of the A&E visit... I am almost emotionally pleased to say that the Red Fox will scamper once more and the injury has been fully addressed by trained professionals. The levels of heart felt sympathy that overflowed at the lake, were upheld by the staff at the hospital. When our hero exposed his wound, he was met with comments like,

"Is that it?"

and

"Fetch a Steri-strip someone please <eye roll>" I am happy to report that Thomas is now home and tucked up in bed in his favourite Spiderman pyjamas and a some hot milk... All sharp objects will be removed before his next outing...


Juniors Sec.


#ddasjuniors #todbermanor #juniorcoaching #juniorfishing


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