Caught by the River

Cider With Mutants

Dexter Petley | 9th August 2007


your dawn dispatch took me jolting over the ruts down memory bus-lane, the summer dawns in a london park. there is no city scum more stiller or the need of a fish more depressingly urgent in the world than in a london park at 6.30am as the sun comes up to sour the stomach. and to come so close to going home for breakfast john. hooking dogs and ducks and having hyperactive commons fed on burger buns tailgate old mens’ floats is a great part of the game and i’m pleased to see you’ve kept that tradition alive. you did very well to get a take first time on. i want to see your float as much as a fish on your mat.
bb’s words are gospel here too, engraved on the rod butts. more If than but, i’m not a dawn angler. unless the wind is slapping the boards, i can’t fish through that sense of diminishing hope you get after the early morning bubblers have dispersed and the fry huddle the margins for the day. your photo fixes that classic atmosphere beautifully. the rising sun sours my stomach and blears the eyes and suddenly the rest of the day has to be endured at half-mast. i like getting to the water after tea with the wind at full flight, an hour away from a nice shade, hopes building as the fish start showing and smelling out the groundbait. unlike the mornings, time is on your side and every blank hour means the next hour only brings you nearer that first pull on the tip. my whole life is based round avoiding other anglers & kids & dogs(no cider mutants in france) and that’s another fact which makes evenings my domaine. the world disappears into a black hole till that little red light comes on…
the last two trips to penelope pit didn’t pan out like that. the solitude was there but the fish were turning on sixpences. cast a yard wide and they won’t play. yesterday afternoon i tried getting there before six when they give away their positions for the coming hours. only there was an air raid and i just got the anderson up in time. must have been bomber harris come back to finish off the snipers. a hundred thousand tons of ballbearings hit the water just as i got the second rod out and had my feet up:

h2o bombs or a leak from a lead research factory which even downed a few swallows attacking from below. the anderson was still leaking after the last air raid but i managed to get the pva saftely away so it didnt fall into enemy hands for a meltdown. trouble is, a straffing like that kept the fish in hiding, probably till dawn when you should’ve been there to take over the quill watch with a chick-pea. by midnight i was in full winter gear, 2 carl-forbes under fleece and thinsulate and gortex and dri-plus and just the gloves missing. i drove home scattering rabbits and knowing i should’ve put the right hand rod 3 feet to the right just before black-out.
with autumn just over the hill i’m taking one more 3-day trip with laure on the off-chance this friday, rods in back and mais in bucket, over the loire & just beyond, before watching the local leisure waters empty of their campers and become fishable in solitude again after august 15. this is your cue, of course. i’ve given up trying to get bob over to france. i’ve added one intriguing little water to the list. this one is half a mile down the lane from me, a poaching job, an acre of rush fringed pool owned by some parisian git who comes for 2 hours a year just to walk his dog round it for ten minutes then phone up the garden care to cut the brush back and mow the grass. this could be the lost moat from roger deakin’s garden. i’ve long thought of poaching it, thinking it maybe a rudd haven. so i sat by it the other night at sunset to see how the land lay, seeing as the pond is visible from the lane(following spy-photo taken mid afternoon in drive by shooting):

as the moon rose red, so did the carp. double or quits. i’m putting in the mais for a week down by those rushes where even bomber harris wouldn’t find me after dark. the dummy run on that red moon night was accomplished with avon wrapped in a groundsheet and done up with bale twine, worms in pocket. twice had to throw the rod in the ditch and whistle on my way down the lane as the local farmer stopped to shake hands and inevitably said: taking a stroll? ten minutes with silver paper and a size 10 in the margins produced a little rudd. i’m thinking of putting an dead rudd eel rod out too. something tells me there’s an elephant’s trunk or a teenage mutant swimming round this place. what do you think? worth getting on a lysander?

black out drapes on the bird table