Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dynamo Kev


sorry for the delay... lines were down after a nuclear strike from the electric company, a well aimed million volt power surge knocked out the 8 houses in my hamlet, smoke pouring from electrical goods two fridays back just as we were all plugging in our toasters and downloading the morning post. my modem in ashes, so too the radio caught mid-humphries, freezer with bait the fish got prematurely, eco-light bulbs and everything with a wire attached. heavy losses. this is the great EDF luftwaffe who are going to build britain's nuclear toasters. go solar is my advice. i have recieved not the least apology nor any admission of liability. some metal head pulled the wrong switch at hq, dynamo kev himself shakey after a night stealing cars probably. my insurance company are sending inspector cluebucket who has yet to be seen. i'm having to connect to blog on with a tin can, some fish-paste and a length of copper wire slung up the telegraph pole.
in the meantime, whille you were on the football special rattling over points, i was fitting out the icebreaker for imminent service, minus 1 at sunset all that week and plunging. one night i couldn't sleep so i watched the pond freeze over in moonlight you could've played extra time in if EDF had done the floodlights. days are garden duty now, the crusade against creeping buttercup, the original green fundamentalists, suicide weeds that evade your most efficient security. dig one out and make ten more of the raging, clustering parasites. i've had to move my entire herb garden to a secure zone. risky when half the garden's an iceburg till midday, but the herbs are well trained so can take it. a pair of fox euro-warriors with full cork handles arrived in the middle of this skirmish to hasten forward my next leave behind the lines.
i did manage a scrape-through double a week back. remember those stuttery half-seven bleeps i was getting? stephane got them too apparently but it was too cold to sit it out another 2 hours in case they were line bites. i did 3 blanks, then a bit of on-site rig-tweaking, dump the pop-up, short hook-links, anti-waterlog 12" stringers, leave the stutters and sit tight, fucking freezing, till nine o'clock then hit a good run as the herons fly past in the night croaking like cut-throats, camera flash bouncing off the mist:

next day a parcel to fetch from a cafe 3 villages off, a post-house, fag shop and flat screen, heinekin optics and a five quid menu dinnertimes. it was four pm and the gear was still in the land rover half frozen and wet from the night before. the parcel was a new fleece duvet i was going to flop the evening away on with the wood stove boiling fumes and the wine chilling on the porch. but the gear was with me and 300 yards from the cafe is the scuffiest gravel pit, a scum dump for petrol-heads whose only mission in life is smashing bottles on the benches. i've fished it once, last june, three hours dusk till dark in the pissing rain, but even that didn't deter the pillocks sliding through mud on their peugeot 50s. i was on that point in the photo, putting out a pva bag into a big hole 30 yards off. as the rain lashed and the gits road round and round with bottles in their gobs i got a run and lost a big 30 at the net. i had the fucking thing over the rim 5 times too, but the bottles were flying and the pests were circling... something, i thought, must put them off, keep them indoors. maybe the freezing cold. so by 5 i'd set up in a chilly corner with the hole outfront, pit levels up at least a yard . zander dandy fishing off the point which meant i had poor rights of way; a bouy on the left and tree roots to the right. off the point you're in the clear. the fish actually came off on a sand bar close in.

well, nothing came by except a pheasant to roost in the tree beside me and squirk till i packed in. since then the leaves have sprung on the willows, three muskrats have set up an underground station beside my pond and a calf was born in the field opposite:

solar panel where the bird table was


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You'll Never Make The Station


the last of the few marched from the birdtable via redan hill and sebastopol road to the east bank aldershot with a pint of bull's blood from the crimea fresh in our throats. to stand in a february fog in tailored red coats with brass buttons, led by a drummer boy who took the king's shilling out the back of the bus station in '82 and has never looked back. suedeheads and old songs. a richardson linocut come to life entitled, 'everywhere we go, people always ask'.

the five fifteen out of waterloo took us there out along the thames past bob's catfish swim at battersea power station, along the side of the pike cut at staines to the basingstoke canal at brookwood and the pits at ash vale, stopping just short of badshot lea pits where i hooked my first ever pike by the caravans. a night time tour of the paid up permitted waters that i have failed to fish for a full calendar year. all too soon. rather than the empty bank and the lonely moon i needed the camaraderie of the crowd, old familiar schoolyard faces and the blinding white light of the floodlights. a glimpse of heaven. just enough to know that it might exist.

last train out of here on the birdtable


Tuesday, February 5, 2008



thanks for that buchaneering tale, nabbing a duke's pike under flush winter sky from a punt, clapping butler and cooing maids. there should be tapestries and painted ceilings of stag party pike inside the dutchess's boudoir. you know the old song of course, "pull out the stopper & lets have a whopper/get me to the bob church on time..." was the butler singing that?
pit fishing was just flushing lead down a hole last week. minus 7 sunday night, water tanks frozen even in sun. i put two baits out at 3 monday afternoon but by 4 the temperature was zero. sky streaked like a german raid on the docks at sunset. a fin nudged its reflection 30 yds off. numb toed, minus 2 before the blackbirds put their songsheets away.

i packed up as church bells rung up the start of the archers. chair frozen into the ground, pulled the skin away with it. line frozen in the rings, making the reel gears clunk. wednesday was identicle in blue:

this time an itchy run after dark, four stuttering bleeps. i struck ice. put the same bait in the same place as fish started rolling in the mist. my boots froze into the ground as i stood like a red guard outside the kremlin, brushing frost off my sleeve. cat ice forming on my teeth, findus written on the rucksack. yesterday it was back to mud and just raw. a bream hooked in the back, two bleeps in the only ten minutes of sun at 4 o clock. listened to the archers driving home. wednesday's forecast is belting sun and 13 degrees. the wind is whipping the margins to froth in the bay as i speak, a wind in its twenty-fourth hour. wednesday's carp is full of bait, they say. they'll be butlers clapping, and rods a-looping, sure as g's pike...

last of the few on the birdtable


Monday, February 4, 2008

The Last Supper


whilst you were gorging on your winter harvest of fat monks me and g were punted up on blenheim for the last supper, the final cast before g tied the blood knot and got married. lost count of the false casts and pulled hooks that had led to this day but there we were the anticipation greater than ever. as best man it was my job not to forget the bait. the day was breezy, a westerly rolling in from ireland bringing scudding clouds and the threat of showers, a hint of spring but nothing more. the floods had brought the level of the lake up by over two feet, some feat when you consider its vast size. occasionally in winter the boathouse there is full of fry penned in by perch and jacks but today the water was clear of souls and we rowed out to the slope. we put the baits into eighteen feet of water and waited for marlborough's blast on the bugle and for the fish to come over the hill. at lunch there was a shooting party on the horizon birds dropping into the water but it wasn't until dusk that the music started. g's float vanished and his rod looped round. it was a good fish from the off staying deep and diving for the anchor rope. after a fight of ten, maybe even fifteen minutes it was the net. what god has created let no run cast asunder. shoulders like a horse jaws clamped shut. a stout eighteen pounds. the hooks were out without a struggle and the net was thrown over the side of the punt for the staff of the house to see the evidence. centuries of them from the butler to the cook standing on the lawn with the lights from the house in the background applauding as g climbed the path away from the boathouse smiling and laughing because he knew it was meant to be.

bells ringing out on the bird table