Caught by the River

Buster Crabbe's Baitdropper

John Andrews | 17th June 2008


It was too much, the wait for the beginning of the season, the false alarms, the rumours, the pictures of fat birds from France and the people who went over the top too early only to be shot in the back of the head by the baliff or sent to Porton Down to be fed on additives. The rumour doing the rounds on the Heath is that there are no more tench – they are extinct, gone to ground, buried their heads in the mud in disgust at the four ounce leads which keep hitting them on the nut. Come the evening of June 15th the shores of the boating and bathing pond looked like a bad festival, bolt riggers all waiting to be taken up in a spaceship come midnight to Planet Boilie. In defiance since 14th March I have been on the roof building a Thames punt from old mahoghany wardrobes and soon it will be complete. I will drag it across the Heath in the dead of night and set off across the Viaduct in search of just one tench. The lone bubbler, the acqualung exile, spotted in the cabbages one more than one occasion. In the meantime my other close season contraption is all ready to go: Buster Crabbe’s Baitdropper, the Bloodknot Dreadnought, an Archway Bomb, and up here the only way to fish.

A large splash in the distance on the birdtable