The weather for today’s Blog is bought to you by the letters, O, M & G and by the phrases ‘We must be insane ‘, ‘what the heck am I doing out in this?’ & ‘It’s coming straight downwards’…
For those that do not know, to the side of ‘Mason Howard’ is a covered driveway. A barely standing wooden frame adorned with a plastic covering. When it rains, it can sound a tad worse than it actually is. But not today. Today it sounded every bit as bad as it was. Deafening in fact…
I did have a little luck however, a break in the rain allowed to hurl my gear in the car like a fat contestant on ‘It’s a knockout’ (ask your grandparents kids), making multiple trips as fast as I could on slippery mud that used to be my garden. The rain started again as I locked the shed door. I scampered inside and flipped the clouds off as I went…
The journey to Revels was interesting to say the least. Splashing through some pretty impressive puddles that made a roaring sound on the car as I sped through them. If only you could bottle the childlike glee that this generates, you’d be rich!
All was calm upon arrival at the fishery. It was 8am and clear dawn skies covered the half lit water. Fish were ‘pimpling’ everywhere and the lake was as flat as glass. Surly the rain had not blown through overnight?
I hear a roar of bored indifference asking me, why are you there at 8am?
A brave young lad who, at the moment, is known only by the name of Lewis Griffin, (no Family Guy jokes), had booked a Taster Session for 9am. Brave because the weather had been forecast to be somewhere close to biblical.
So, the gear was set up, flag and banner positioned and peg numbers laid out, re-laid, then laid again, I wandered to the shop to await the arrival of my new Padawan. No sooner had I reached the door, than the headlights of a car swung onto the track and made their way to the shop front.
Introductions done, Lewis and I wandered to the lake with mum, Laurie, in cold pursuit (Driving slowly) behind us. We dispensed with the necessary admin and I ran through some bait prep and basic pole fishing tips. Lewis, who had never fished the pole before, did so with remarkable ease. He managed to catch a few 'pairs of eyes', some roach and even a few small Carp and Crucians. Lewis is a delightful young man and he will flourish with our Juniors for sure.
Taster Session complete, I turned my attention to the main event. The troops had been arriving steadily and you could feel the anticipation in the air. The smell of the grease paint and the roar of the maggots. Nothing gets the butterflies fluttering like waiting for the draw of a fishing match. The draw went as follows;
Peg 1 Josiah Wells-Parkes (Quiet Jo) and a magnificent name in anyone's book!
Peg 2 Faith 'Not Fred Dumbass anymore' Stone
Peg 3 Jack 'Twiglet' Copp
Peg 4 Ollie 'Aquaboy' Smith
Peg 5 Lewis Griffin (nickname yet to be attached)
Peg 6 Jake 'The Mud Monster' Taylor
Peg 7 Carter Lynock
Peg 8 Joseph 'The Meat' Altuzarra
On Peg 9 we had Jack Grassby, who had decided to opt out of the match and do a shortened coaching session instead.
Organising these events is fairly stressful sometimes. Everyone wants a piece of me and, as everyone knows, multitasking is every mans achilleas heel. But, I must admit, forgetting that Lewis was borrowing my fishing tackle for the day was impressive, even for me. Seeing him standing there, motionless at his peg whilst all the commotion of the start of a fishing event happens around him, made him look like something from an arty 90's music video without the music and dry ice.
"Am I using your gear today?" he asked.
My reply was something akin to 'Holy crud on a cracker! Yes, of course, I'll get it for you!'
I scurried off to fetch the loaded trolley and hurried back with it. Almost running, I caught the piercing gaze of Anna, The Cheerleader, Who I swear tutted at the sight of me 'nearly running'....or maybe it was just nausea?
Now panting like a old cart horse, I started to assemble it all. Lewis gazed in amazement as he watched the equipment come together like a fat, geriatric transformer.
Lewis did well considering how hard the fishing turned out to be, and was thoroughly good company. Mum, Laurie, clearly had not heard about the 'Curse of the Blog', and promptly threw herself from her stool/chair into the mud right in front of me. Fortunately, her fall was cushioned by my rod-filled rod holdall. Nothing broken either to precious mum, or precious rods.
I love it when blog content appears in front of me with no effort on my part. Thanks Laurie!
Lewis didn't have a lot to show for his efforts at the end. A mere 11ozs 4drms, in fact. He was top silvers on the day though. A tough day indeed. Well done Lewis.
So that's peg 5 dealt with. Let's go back to Peg one, where we could find Quiet Jo and Sgt. Bracey. Jerry had also bought his own equipment today and Jo looked comfortable on it too. This peg has fond memories for me. My late, great friend, Martin Vine, drew this peg in a Christmas match one year. It was pouring with rain, and he was complaining about numb hands and fingers. How we laughed when I pointed out to him that, the numbness may well subside once he has stopped using the electric Otter fence as a pole roller. How we laughed, well I did anyway! Happy times...
Jo did brilliantly well today, finishing with a gnat’s bits over 4lbs. Jerry did the biz for one of our newer anglers today and deserved the nosebag that can be seen disappearing down the cake hole in the middle picture... Jo slightly over stretched himself at the end, but still managed to keeping smiling for his medal and second place at his first ever match. Bravo, quiet Jo, well done...
Peg 2 was our very own little Faith. Fresh from her victory in the Senior/Junior pairs match at Todber last week. Did I mention that we won that? (Big up the Team Quietly Confident, Whoop, Whoop!)
This peg used to a firm favourite years ago, but history means nothing on days like these. Faith was happy to virtually share a feeder peg with Jo, and no one argues with the tiny tornado when she's in fishing mode. It amuses me to give Lydia (Mrs Guru) my phone and send her out around the lake to take piccies of the shrimps. As a rule she cannot help herself, and takes one or two 'Silly pictures'. I thought I would honour her compulsion by making her picture the title image for this post... Fanks Lyd!
Faith bought the style with the cutest glasses and her big woolly hat She fished well on a hard day with feeder and pole for a respectable 2lbs 11ozs 8drms.
Peg 3 saw super Twiglet, Jack Copp, supported by mum Donna today. When days are this tough, it's harder for those that are normally at the top of the tree to have a bad day. But I always say that good days are easy and you learn very little sometimes. It's the tough days are when you learn the most and you can work on getting things better for your next event. Jack did struggle today but had a blast with his old mate Aquaboy on the next peg.
They did have a small territorial dispute at one stage, but sorted it out with a game of 'scissors, paper, stone', or 'flick the bogey' or something...
For jack, this was a match to put behind him, because he is back at one of his favourite venues next week. Whitemoors Donut. Jack finished with 8ozs 12drms...
Peg 4 was the quarantine peg. Ollie the Aquaboy was back, ably escorted by mum Anna known, of course, as our Cheerleader... I was frowned at for suggesting that we paint a red cross on his seat box and have a 20-metre exclusion zone around him and, to be honest, the lad looked no worse for wear after his brush with the dreaded lurgy. He had developed a 'Barefaced cheek gland', over his isolation period, and used it almost exclusively on the lead coach. Such barefaced subordination will almost definitely lead to a deduction of points or a light flogging with wet spaghetti in the future.
Ollie’s casting is impeccable, most of the time, and it showed today. With the peg opposite being vacated early, Ollie took full advantage by casting across and claiming it for himself. He even managed a brightly coloured Goldfish or 'Carrot' towards the end.
I was able to engage in one of my most favourite past times, a cheeky game of winding Anna up until she snaps. Most enjoyable.
Ollie finished the day as top banana with a magnificent 7lbs 4ozs 12drms. Well done kiddo, great to have you back.
P6... Mud, Mud, and even more MUD! This can mean only one thing. Team Mud Monster is reunited. Jake truly lived up to expectation by turning his peg in to a pig pen within a few minutes. It's truly amazing to see how, a fairly 'moist' peg, turns into and unbearable mess. Even Si Wag was looking to buy himself out his Mud Monster contract by the end of the day.
Glenn, who arrived late and was brandishing four letter words like 'work', had come dressed for winter with some thicker shorts, a waterproof jacket, and some wellies.
Muddy had a slow start, but persevered on the feeder, and caught some small Carp towards the end. Jake finished with 2lbs 12ozs 12drms which was good enough for 3rd place on the day. Well done muddy one. Sorry about the lack of pictures of the Mudster. My camera puked and won't let me see them... I blame Lydia (She didn't use the camera.... But, why not?)
Onto P7 now and, The Captain was sharing his knowledge with young Carter. Mum Becky had arrived with 72 new woolly hats just in case she was called on to do some casting at any point during the day. Meanwhile, Chris took my advice and bought a tin helmet with him from his ARP days in WW2. (Disclaimer: Chris wasn't in WW2 or any other WW as far as I am aware).
Becky was blending in a treat with her bright yellow puffer jacket. Nothing screams camouflage like Radioactive yellow. Carter went about business as usual by confusing everyone in to thinking he was fishing, when, actually, he was on another nature trail. I like to think of him doing his own voice over, like the late great David Belemy. (Ask your grandparents again kids)
The shop end of the lake was the toughest of all the ends. Carter and Joseph struggled to string many fish together. They both weighed only 3.5ozs each therefore getting equal points.
Last on the match, was my old friends Carlos and the meat. I'm not sure if the sausage meat came out today, but it was certainly mentioned in dispatches. Carlos did manage to make a very small fish look about 5lbs for the photograph though.
Carlos, whose former wrestling name, I learned the other day, was 'La Patata Ardiente' (roughly translated as The Fiery Potato), asked me who the nice lady in the eye burning jacket was?
This, of course, was our Becks. Who had earlier called Carlos by name (Not La Patata Ardiente) and, in true Carlos style, had totally forgotten Becky's name? I enlightened him about the 'Mate' and 'My Love' names that I use for nearly everyone, including...what's her name.... the lass I live with....TRUDIE! that's her!... It's far easier than using up vital fishing memory space with things like people’s names and my pin number...
Like Carter, Joseph struggled to catch many fish. But this is fishing, and if it was meant to be easy, it would be called catching...
One last mention is for Jack Grassby who, along with granddad David, fished with Junior helper Paul Wyatt. Paul was kind enough to come along and help for a few hours because we were a little short staffed today. In only Jacks third trip out with us, Paul got him using the pole like a champ and, if he had been in the match, he would have done reasonably well to be honest. But Jack couldn't stay for the whole session. From what I saw, he handled a 5 or 6 metre pole quite well and has a unique cross-legged style of fishing that I shall call 'La Peche Nonchalant'. Well done Jack... (The pics of Jack were on my camera too. I blame Lydia...)
So, there you have it. Not a great day really, but they can't all be good. Some new faces to mix with the old and, after last year, they are all very welcome.
Just a few parish notes before I end this blog post, if any of you fancy a trip the River Frome in a couple of weeks’ time, The Red Fox and I are thinking about taking a couple of juniors at a time to the river at Wool, fishing for some lovely Grayling. It will be a one-on-one session and, if we get a few interested, will be done in morning and afternoon shifts. So, if you are interested, let me know.
Ollie has now taken the lead in the championship by just three points from Jake, and with just one points match left, it could go either way. Exciting, isn't it??
Big thanks to Jason Fricker and the staff at Revels for your help and support this weekend.
Thank you to Jerry, Si, and Chris, with special thanks to guest helper Paul.
Thanks, as always to our Juniors and their patient parents for creating such a wonderful fishing family.
I'm off to read a bedtime story to the maggots...