Caught by the River

Sawdust Specimen Hunters

John Andrews | 9th August 2007


finally made it down to bushy park yesterday, to the leg of mutton. left home at half five and was on the water by half six. an august mist coming off the bracken and the water like a stew. carp all over the place. the sun hot even at seven. i fished chick pea on a goose quill that john richardson made – copper wire and all. think the carp wanted to take the float more than the bait. got plenty of liners. was tempted to fish on the top but there wasn’t a ripple in sight. just good to sit by the water and drink tea. by ten the wind had got up and the fish had gone down. i switched to a leger – 1/4 ounce arlesley and long tail and had storming take. back-winding for jesus, bottle top butt-ringer. a good fish, a common probably set off down the other end of the pond running the clutch. not wanting it to cross the lines of the two old boys fishing next to me i clamped down and the hook pulled. that was it for the rest of the day. the only unhooking i got to do was taking a size 4 out of a dog’s jaw – a discarded link tied to an 1 ounce lead. the owner was fairly sanguine when he had every right to be furious. despite the legion of rules the baliff didn’t show up and by the time i packed up it felt like shooting apples in a bucket – a cheap fairground ride. i committed the cardinal sin of staying beyond midday and the pond filled up with kids on holiday – sawdust specimen hunters developing boilie related psycosis, name dropping the big carp in the heron and teenagers out of their heads on cheap cider. i vowed not to go out of the house for a week and sit in the garden reading bb – confessions of a carp fisher. he had it right when he said, ‘early morning and late evening will find your carp addict abroad – during the midday hours he is not visible, having left the waterside. so then after a long apprenticeship, he takes upon himself something of the character of the carp – he is most active at sunrise and sunset, and the midday hour knows him not’. i’ll be back there over the coming weeks but the midday curfew will be observed. i just wanted to fish but the place i should have fished was really the moat in roger deakin’s garden. i remember my visit to his house in eye in suffolk a few years ago. the moat was like a medieval stew pond. you could have fished it forever and blanked for eternity. it would have been paradise. he left the house unlocked and we went inside – i was with his friends paul and sarah – the kettle was still on the stove and there was an unfinished manuscript on the table. probably the book that’s just been published. there was an abandoned railway carriage in the garden. no sawdust specimen hunters, no teenage mutants, no dog snares. nobody at all.

a dream of solitude on the bird table