So it ends....... this is my last blog, an enjoyable journey for me and my occasional readers. I would have of course preferred being remembered for being a winner and esteemed angling success. But as it was at school - with the exception of Cricket I was always B Team Captain and never in the A Team.
For private reasons I reel in and just one more cast, can be said no more. Forty Five years of bullshit stories (verbalised by me) of the one that got away. Wishing my arms were longer to be able to express the immense size of the fish, the titanic battle and how I overcame god and nature by bringing a wild creature to the bank.
Funny word realisation it covers so many emotions. It convinces you that you are a Jonah, the bearer of an invisible never ending supply of bad luck that no one else can see. It certainly is only happening to you and not to your fellow Piscators’. I certainly felt that if "I " fell into a sack of tits, I would come out sucking my thumb…. the false casts and hooked branches are all a part of some cosmic ritual the mental game begins…..
My first realisation was one of wonder that one could see a fish in the crystal clear waters below the Town path bridge (Lizzy Gardens) and with a “cunning plan” could actually hold and touch a wonder of nature.
Someone once said – and it’s stuck with me – “when you fish, you enter into a staring contest with potential, a challenge devoid of guarantees. As you stand at the water's edge gazing at a glassy pool or a river proceeding with the freedom and discipline only the natural world can finesse, you are scrubbed clean of life's trivia.”
Fishing and writing are largely acts of faith: you believe that there is indeed a rich run of ideas lurking below. It’s tempting them to the surface.
Realisation and those quieter moments’ when honesty dawns and you accept what your actual skill level is. There are times when I have felt on top of the world in a vein of superb results. I would arrive at a match and inside be thinking – Ladies I am here wring your knickers out and brace yourself. Then there are the times when the road to victory seems to be travelled with glacial slowness. Those are the days when Sisyphus came to mind.
As a punishment for his trickery, King Sisyphus was made to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself.
I think if we are all honest fishing is a combination of luck, skill and loads of time on the bank practicing. In this last of my blogs I didn’t want to pick out individuals for fear of them being embarrassed or that others would take offence at not being on the list. Nevertheless it is required to convey my point, of the strengths of the best anglers.
For me, it’s been my brother in law Gordon Rowland now in his 7th decade and still able to catch lovely fish. Dave Moody, god with a waggler rod, and despite continued health issues a hero of mine. John Dewberry, the guys clarity of mind and machine like attention to detail is immense. He also wins the mind games with me every time. James Knight – awesome nuff said. James Carty , what a Gent. I am sure he was conceived or at least born on a canal. Then there is the Fish – Gary Etheridge, peg like a car boot sale but always net fulls of fish; and how could I not mention my long-time pal Brian Shutler
Fishing however is all about characters’ and friendship. Fishing starts in the tackle shop and without fail I have been a loyal customer of Reid’s Tackle, from Mr Reid as I called him to his successors Mr Moody and family. I never understood that Dave didn’t change the name; but I suppose Moody Tackle sends out the wrong dodgy message. I will mention of course the long suffering Christine Moody the best catch Dave ever made and a lady where my school boy crush has never faded. Then of course there is James who is morphing nicely into his father; and I would be remiss not to mention my friend Frank Gumbleton.
When I have strayed and cheated on Reid’s Tackle I have been lucky enough to have Challis Tackle on my doorstep. What a splendid help Buzzer Bernstein and Tracy been to me over the years. Death to the internet and long live quality tackle shops.
Life sometimes dumps a shitload of realisation on your head. In fact conversely the bigger the pile of shit; the starker clarity your eventual decision is. Realisation is the naked truth that backs you into a corner with no cliffhanger for next week at the Saturday morning visit to the cinema. So its time to say goodbye with pictures and those hundred (plus) words.
True friends and people I would stand in front of and take the hit. Gordon Rowland - family I know but great angler in his day. Landing a 2 lb 15 oz Roach for him on the Avon in near darkness will be among the memories that only he and I share. Dave Moody a true friend, confident, honest as the day is long god with a waggler rod. John Dewberry - getting emotional now. John the quite man, John the quality angler who grinds out the wins and yet remains humble and likeable. For ever grateful for the sage advice and mentoring; the only person to congratulate me and acknowledge my worth as a team Angler.
The next few well I have been blessed to have met and shared oxygen with them. I am not ashamed to say in the Bromance sort of way (nothing physical) these guys are what true friendship is. You know that feeling when you feel part of a gang or group. Its the sort of feeling that transcends the normal friendships, there is an invisible glue a loyalty in following and taking part. Its you and your mates - its Pewsey against the world. Many's the time the result has been sweet, occasionally an ounce here or a lost fish there deprived us of more deserved success against recognized teams and superstars. But what people don't realise that was always tempered by the knowledge our bond of friendship was an honour to own and - well there is always next week! Thank you Leo, Spanners, My little Pony, Team Russ and Lucky Bri.
First a couple of collective groups:
Pewsey Fishing Club, 100 years plus of Angling a group that has managed to move forward and retain the balance of a club feeling.
The Wessex League boys (summer and winter) what a great bunch of blokes.
Army Angling Group 2. Great memories with John Dewberry Keith Armstrong and Kev East.
I would need a blog a mile long to list everyone. So no offence to those omitted from this or not previously mentioned. No lesser mortals have I met on the way along the " cut" towpath. Mike Marsden - Mike has been good to me and it has been a privilege to know him.Mike, always kind even when the truth hurts .
Si Irwin Ben Bentley, Nic McCartney. Mark Blake, Mayo and Dazzer Draw bag Mayo. Mr Quite Simon Burden. Jimmy "in the old days" Broomham. The piking pirate Will Tapper. Kev the bread Chubb and fellow Thin Lizzy fan Steve Trevett. Tappy Tappendon and Dave Self, the Fourshaw family . The legend that is Dazzer Edgell. Ray Kelly, Carl Amann. Attilla Dino Adam, big Shaun Bryan what a terrific fella. Rogues gallery Martin Aris Chas Short Steve Dean and those departed fishing the big canal in the sky Keith Seaman, Dave smoker Karl matey from Eastleigh.
Thanks to my virtual Facebook and blogger friends. The Silver Fox and Ivan Currie, and the inimitable Cliff Dutton
I could of course fill a book with names and good times but pictures paint a thousand words and happy memories.
My only regret – not catching a 2lb Rudd . Tight lines and full nets to you all.
vale amici mei