Sunday, May 25, 2008

Taught By The River


once more you stalk the concrete brooks, shadow fishing, casting at the moon. is that the thrift shop where i used to get my breeches and elliot symack knitware? in my day there was a tackleshop in kentish town. john's tackle? for close season junkies, sundries for the vulnerable, beside a petrol garage after a crescent of low-rise, today's gun turrets for your boy gangstas. has it gone under too? a tackle shop where the maggots came in ectoplasm, reel boxes so bleached by sun in the window there was no writing left. celephane hook packets disintegrated in your fingers. run by a limping biker and his old man in leather jackets. they still had agate rings in the wooden drawer. there are no tackle shops in france. just warehouse sheds on out of town shopping centres, chains without dignity or tradition, or a few shelves in a supermarket, chineese trash with blood on its hands. tackle for dystopia.
i've left the carpark lakes alone this week and humbled down with rod and float to black-eyed pools in thunderstorms.

where viking carp make for the ribs of armoured longboats wrecked ten feet down, where they snap floats in two and fight like beurwolf (who never could spell his own phucking name).

and on to where the even humbler river runs through buttercup plain, you wade through lakes of buttercups like i've never seen before, on to where long abandoned fishing huts and crumbling pontoons haven't seen a bamboo pole since 1968:

stephane was downstream fishing the silt under fallen trees with spuds and chickpeas, all for a brace of chub on the chick pea, one a fat half-pay territorial but not the plunder we were hoping to find. i was fishing hard baits on hard gravel, one along the reeds, the other roving every half hour. i pulled the rover back just off the middle late evening, and ten minutes later it took off in a battle cry, body-building in the current, punching twice above its weight, half barbel this carp with its underslung pucker:

we glugged it with a 2000 savenniers blanc which cost s. a tenner from leclerc. angler's mass for a holy lesson by the river. spoling for a fight now i swung the lead at penelope pit thursday evening where there was post-spawn convalescent laze, a moth or mayfly running the pharangyal gauntlet but nothing solid till one beep before dark had me using up a week's worth of spinach. i must get a bigger tripod for the camera - i'm hiding a 28 behind that grass stalk.:

friday was poaching night, an overgrown NO FISHING pit with no swims either except the back gardens of four houses along the roadside. a hampstead pond in normandy without brick or privilage, just beige bungalows, the 4-car scum who leave a rod outside with a livebait 12 months a year to fish for itself. there's a bramble scrub by the last house where i could get the vehicle in unseen and just before dusk i set to work with a hand saw and took out two willows and a few bushes, enough to poke two rods through, swing a lead 20 yards if lucky. i even chopped the cuttings up and stashed them under brambles and in thicket. no one would notice any different. everything invisible from four sides:

nothing got a hook in it but they came, fat walloping carp intrigued by bait, very big fish stumbling into the line and having me hitting line-bites. neither of us used to this and the carp got bored and moved out. this is the view of it from my hide:

back on the train tomorrow, land rover in for a service, going light, 3 rods and a rucksack, 5 days bait, heading west to mike walker's lake where every fish is billy bunter. comfort feeders, like their tuck in wind and rain, and it's a glutten's forecast with a 50 on the cards...i'll let you know.

a tenner on the birdtable for leclerc


Tuesday, May 20, 2008



whilst you were perfecting the art of the drive-by, french style, i was out wandering the old english close season, the only map the one i was making up as i walked along. leaving the heath behind i headed down the hill past the ghost site of fields tackle shop on highgate road the place made famous by their roach pole maker who took a holiday in australia and got eaten by a great white. about as ironic a feat as emigrating to normandy and spending your days fighting them in the car parks. beyond the closed doors of fields lies kentish town proper not a place you'd recognise any more, wholly changed since your last century sojourn in north london. i found your memory half way to camden standing under the sign for angler's lane, a road to nowhere if ever there was one. on the corner where the anglers pub used to be and flat caps used to talk about the spiegels in highgate and the tench in vale of health and drink in memory of roach pole is a branch of nando's where they serve the meal of choice for every gib wielding gun toting under 16 gangsta in greater london - drive-by chicken - the tastiest dish for miles around. and opposite the perilous parlour of peri-peri a thrift shop whose bookshelf revealed a piece of hidden treasure. casting at the sun as written by shane meadows. elliott symak's diary of a lincolnshire redmire which he kept secret for ten years throughout the seventies. a two acre bloodstain on the ordnance survey map populated by mahoghany monsters and fished by h block lookalikes. the particle chronicles, a broken bedchair confessional which is more aa than bb, and either way a classic, ' my thoughts plummet back to earth as a chilling yell escapes from the spinney to my rear. the vixen - perhaps attracting her mate, or gloating over the steaming corpse of a luckless rabbit. so too do the owls screech, sending the iciness of death into the heart of an innocuous shrew. and all the time the stars watch down on us in stony silence; atomic furnaces from which we will never feel the heat but of which i always dream'.

close season confessions of a carp fisher on the birdtable


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mowing Days Are Here Again


since your last glimpse of the winter underworld on the heath, the green fuse blew. from squelcher to scorcher in a week of spawning bream. grass growing under your feet as you mow, the oaks beat the poplars into leaf and there's cuckoo spit on the willows. spring like a rapid deployment force in realtree. yesterday's carp are over the spawning grounds and the villages are under the yellow siege of rapeseed:

last week i was squelched up to the nines, no sign of the fritz speigals here, flash floods and window fishing:

cast and run at penelope pit as the storm hit car rolling mood and even the land rover turned land lubber as i pitched in a swell with a face gone solihull green. three hours trapped in the cab, like the dug out's caved in and the drowning rats cling to your hair. i suppose the rods stayed upright on the buzzers the way a butterfly survives a downpour.
a week later the patrol boat comes by:

no roaring forties, just a pit becalmed and a common under the rod top:

carp spies the other side had binocculars on me and mustered into the freelander, reaching me as i was mid-photo. oh, the tosser said, a little common. we know it well. your first fish is it? he squeels off in a cloud of dust, back to the day bivvy in the six-car swim. they packed up and went home at eight, back to their nintendos. they're just hired rods, enduro fodder, fucking spodnicks with bent hook rigs and fin clippers in their 300 litre rucksacks. and they are everywhere and taking over. they want roads round all lakes and carparks and bait-boats and the right to fish under lights, compulsory enduros and margin fishing banned, swim booking agencies and no fishing unless accompanied by another arsehole to help throw the rubbish in the bushes. society probably says it's better they're fishing than hanging round carparks. well it's not. society is better off if they're knifing each other where they belong because the carp lake is now the carpark and it's lone opportunists like me who are caught in the headlamps.

the writings on the birdtable