Caught by the River

Catching The Eight 30

Dexter Petley | 27th August 2007


wouldnt mind a soaking to fish a river like the kennet, though here the huisne could do with a roving by the likes of you and that perfection. you might get to take the same picture again, plenty of undiscovered chub under the parsnips. i’d coached mike walker in the art of pursuading you over here with talk of carp like pumpkins, but your tea kettles and bread punches must’ve gone to his head, or you spotted the hook. cant get bob on a boat neither. ten years of tea and lies and postal orders but the nearest he’s got is a passport form which he’s rolled his boilies on the last 5 yrs in any case. so your leave is really cancelled? well if it means the london book will get to print, then i’ll put up with empty rodrests in the swim next door come november on walker’s pitch. your waterlog “white house” article, and all your london gospels, is enough to stop the olympics. bob’s right when he says you’re the only contributor to waterlog who’s doing anything important. the rest of them are just your tributaries flowing in all directions. your london book will turn even sinclair and ackroyd into lost becks disappearing down a thames sewage gully.
work has had me in snags all week. 7 days between outings, watching the rain dribble down the window, going outside like getting a slap with a wet cloth. by thursday, all fighting waterproofs wounded and down to the reserves, i found myself doing battle again. completely ambushed by a delivery of stair rods early afternoon, laure phoned with a get-out clause: could i drop her sproggs at the nogent swimmer and she’d pick em up later. well, if they wanted to get wet twice… the carp rods were still in the back of the vehicle, so in the downpour i left them there, squeezed the kids round the fishy pong and dropped them off. by rights i should’ve driven home again, but “the rods were with me”. the way home goes past the gravel pit. my baits were rotton from the week before, the windscreen was a bathescope, but i’d left the logic at home. short shopping detour, a bag of frolic from leclerc to bait up with, and a little zip up case for my new digital camera, and i parked up beside the church and walked the mile round the pit in my t-shirt: best to keep the dry clothes in the rucksack for later. low-down anti-gypsy barrier means i cant get the land rover into the lane anymore, let alone down to the carpark; nearest slot’s beside the church, an extra 400 yards walk.
fucking sick of waterproofs that melt like pva, and pva more water resistant than my army poncho. set the rods up squelching, then stood like a marsh duck till the five o’clock downpour began to ease off around 8. till then the morale was no fitter for the purpose than the pva. i put the dry clothes on, born-again, running on instinct at least. for 3 seasons i’d seen a good fish top in the same place 20yrds out, always the first up of an evening, always about 8 o clock. saved up this swim till i needed it, and today seemed right to put a bait there. i was just doing the settings on the camera when the run came at 8.30. 35lb mirror. didnt jump this time:

lit the stove too that night, but not for the first time. all the summer’s corks long burnt and up in smoke through stove-pipe hat, the summer of rhumatics and trench foot and carp blowing water spouts like whales one over the plimsol line. i must’ve caught that carp as it was putting it’s clock forward, half way through its tail turning orange.
it’s the time of year too when i have to bushwhack into my caravan, the vegetation up & over, way into row F:

feel like a castaway in the wind in the willows myself, till the first cold snap will me unpacking the moleskin long johns and the weasel fur mittens.

goretex gift voucher on the birdtable