Every now and then events do not go to plan. The plans for this event were slightly damaged by a spilled cup of tea, wiped dry with a wire brush, dipped in drain cleaner, thrashed with an old umbrella, and then fed to a rabid dog…
The much-anticipated trip to the river had been scuppered yet again, but this time not by the weather. Had this been written during the heat of the moment, it would probably need to be heavily censored.
I arrived at Nutford to be greeted by a grass verge that looked more like a jungle than a grass verge. I have a tallish car and it was up to the wing mirrors, and that should have been clue number one. Someone had broken the sky because it was leaking, and there looked to be more where that came from. Clearly Accuweather had read the wrong cup of tea leaves because no rain was forecast after 7 o'clock.
I had been messaging Craig Whelan from Blandford and had been given the gate code. I had also been briefed with the protocol for being in a field with Bulls. According to Farmer Dan, I only had to outrun the slowest junior in order to keep myself from being squished by a giant angry methane machine. I had greased the wheels of the trolley for just this kind of eventuality.
Before I removed any equipment from the car, I felt the need for a reccy to familiarise myself with the lay of the land. I let myself into the field and realised I had left my keys in the car. Dammit! I re-entered the code into the padlock. Nothing… I re-entered it again. Nope… A third time… Oh, come on! I examined the padlock and realised I was looking at it from the wrong side… Doh!
Newly freed from my temporary confinement, I decided to quickly set up the flag I had brought with me to signal the location to any early attendees. In the meantime, Si Wag rocked up in the meat wagon, and together we set about covering the 300 metres to the river.
The first impression was that the river was ‘unkempt’ at best as we searched for a peg number. Was this a peg? Yes, it was… Peg 9 in fact.
It wasn’t looking good.
We walked to peg one and it was obvious now that we were in trouble. The riverside foliage had not been touched for weeks, even months and it wasn’t looking anything like the video Craig had sent me from last year’s preseason trim. It was so overgrown that I nearly lost Si to the river early doors due to hidden dips, something we can ill afford. On another peg, I edged down the bank whilst hanging on to Si’s hand. (For the record, I knew where the edge was. It was just an excuse to hold his hand).
I don’t want to go on about it and by now I think you get the drift. Out of the 19 pegs we looked at, only 5 or 6 were viable for junior anglers. That’s 8 juniors, spread over 19 pegs, covered by 4 coaches, with no direct line of sight, on a deep river. As pros and cons go, the con’s had the unanimous vote of the jury…and then it started to rain…
The wind (Which is nothing to do with the venue other than which way it faces) was going to be a nightmare too howling, as it was, downstream.
Nothing about it felt right. Soaking wet, we abandoned the walk and made our way back to the cars.
Upon our return, we found Captain Chris preparing to tackle the gate laden with equipment. He read our gestures that confirmed that the event was likely not to go ahead. Further discussion was had when Jerry arrived. We all agreed that you cannot scrimp on health and safety, so the decision was made, for the first time in 5 years, to cancel on the morning of the event.
I confess to not being at all impressed or happy with the situation. The phone rang and it was Craig answering my earlier sent message. Like us, Craig was gutted and could not apologise enough for what had (or hadn’t) happened. I won’t go into it but let’s just say that plans made earlier in the month were not executed resulting in the state of the river we found this morning. Craig asked me to convey his deepest apologies to our juniors, the parents, and all the coaching team for the situation.
It was gutting to say the least, but the priority now was to halt the progress of the juniors who were, by this time, making their way towards Blandford. I sent out a Spond message and waited for the responses. This wasn’t happening fast enough, so I made phones calls to those that needed one. Anna was halfway to Blandford. Paul was in Puddletown, and God only knows where Austin would be if Amy was driving…Probably somewhere near Northampton I would guess. Sadly, Austin and grandad Brian did not get the memo because they arrived and had to get the news from Jerry that this horse had been shot in the face, and there would be no river fishing today…
Thank you to the guys (Si, Chris, and Jerry) who hung on until 10:30 just in case there were any stragglers. Anna had told Jerry that she and Aquaboy would be heading to Revels. I needed to go to Revels to speak to Uncle Jason, so I headed that way too.
I’ve never had one before, so I wasn’t familiar with the sound of a stone rearranging the style of the windscreen. So, it took me a while to spot it… Well that’s just peachy isn’t it!
I wasn’t aware that I’d driven under any ladders on the way to Blandford, ran over any black cats, or forced any lorries transporting mirrors off the road on my travels, but I may as well have done.
I arrived at Revels and parked in front of the shop. I hopped out, closed the car door, and made my way to the doorway. A crunching sound alerted me to a situation that was developing behind me. I hate electric handbrakes and the car demonstrated its impatience by making its way, as it was, towards Jason’s expensive Biffa bin. Moving fast with a loosened sphincter is not easy, but I was fast enough to persuade the car to stop before it became one with a bin, all be it at low speed.
I batted away comments about Hyundai’s self-driving technology from the good laugh gang in the shop, and repeatedly tried to change the subject, without success…
I parked up, this time successfully, in the car park and immediately spotted Saucy Sue (Haine) a participant of the Open Day. I like Sue. She has a lot to be bitter about, but just isn’t. I like her hubby/carer Brian too. He might be joining our coaching team when he can. Carers are just the best people.
The rest of the day was quite relaxing, even if fishing a commercial fishery with bait and tackle you had brought with you expecting to fish a river. Fate had one last surprise for me because the elastic in both river kits broke whilst attaching the rigs.
Always check your elastics kids!
The day ended better than it started because I walked away with a new pole!
You could be thinking that I purchased a new Carp bothering stick? I didn't... Jason had shown me a new Middy pole and I had passed the info on to Mark Freeman in the form of Chinese whispers and interpretive dance. I stunned Mark with what I can do with my knees, and this caused him to take out his wallet for a sound thrashing… Kit was only allowed a glimpse of his new toy before immediately handing to me for elastication…
I apologise to you if you have logged on for some junior fishing action on the river, but there we go. You can’t get everything you want all the time… I switched off ’Coaching Mode’ and attempted to enjoy an afternoon’s fishing with friends. This would have worked if Ollie and Kit had not switched on ‘Let’s keep chucking pellet wagglers in bushes’ mode. Another attempt on the river will be made in September.
With little else to write about, I guess this is a good time to mention the ‘Tuesday Club’ starting at the end of July. I will be hosting a series of six coaching sessions at local venues during the summer holidays to offset the large number of matches this year. Being midweek, it may be difficult for some to make travel arrangements. If this is the case, let me know and I will see how we can help.
I plan to cover a variety of subjects fro Equipment set up to techniques and rig making etc.
They will (hopefully) be relaxed coaching days where I/we can teach you some stuff, but also enjoy some fishing time too.
If there are any subjects that you wish to know more about, let me know and I will try to cover them for you. (If casting is one of them, I will try to arrange a casting session at some point if enough of you show interest).
Another subject looming in the fast-approaching future is the Senior/Junior pairs match on the 9th of September.
Usually held on Ash Lake at Todber manor for 7 pairs.
If we get more than 7 teams, I will ask for the match to be moved to Hillview if possible.
This will depend on how fast I get notification of the teams. If I cannot get the match moved, it will have to be limited to 7 teams.
The rules are that juniors must ask a senior member of the coaching team or a parent (doesn’t have to be yours!) to partner them. We try to keep it in house, at least begin with. No you can’t ask Des Shipp Jack Cryer!
Pegs will be drawn in pairs and the team members will be given a peg to fish on so that no juniors are pegged next to seniors other than their partner.
It is likely that their will be no wandering coaches (because we will all be fishing!), so any help must come from the senior partner.
It's first come first served. So, get asking….
Your team of coaches are…(Subject to availability)
Other coaches who have helped this year may be available, but let’s use the regulars up first please.
Plus any of the juniors parents that may want to fish.
I normally do it at every event but, I want to take time to give my thanks, on the juniors behalf, to our coaches. I work hard to make things happen. They work hard to make things work! My appreciation is endless…
So, there you have it. Loads of drivel and no pictures. Not one of the best junior blogs but, a day spent with friends is rarely wasted…
Next event is the Junior Pairs Match at Harbourbridge Lakes in Chickerell. I will give you more information on how the pairs will be drawn next week…
Until then, tight lines…