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General Category => Articles, Fishing Stories & Yarns => Topic started by: Mugs on May 29, 2011, 04:13:02 PM

Title: In The Beginning
Post by: Mugs on May 29, 2011, 04:13:02 PM
It would be nice to claim to have been born to fish, but a claim like that would be far from the truth.
My earliest memories were of dad being in the army, and away a lot, and when he was home he was out racing on his bike, or playing county standard chess. His love of bike racing ensured that I learnt to ride before the age of 5 and by the time I was 6 I was allowed to ride to my grandma’s house some 3 miles away, on my own. The roads were much quieter then, of course, and it was on one of those visits that I first saw a fishing rod.
Grandma and I had walked to her local shop and there on the top shelf I saw a cane rod and green plastic centerpin reel. The “set up” came in a plastic case along with a red topped float, I have no idea why I decided I had to have it. I could read at the time but doubt I had read about fishing, certainly, nobody in the family fished, though my grandad had a passion for wildlife and dogs.
Some time later, and with winter approaching, mum asked what I wanted for Christmas and without hesitation asked first for a dog and then, hedging my bets, I told her about the rod I had seen over at grandma’s.
Well Christmas morning arrived and I hoped that a puppy would be downstairs, the disappointment tempered a little when I unwrapped my main present that cane rod. The float that came with it had the brightest red top and as I now know would have been a perch float. Course neither mum or dad knew anything about fishing so my stocking had no line or hooks as extra presents but at least I had a new tyre pump.

So the years moved on, and I’ve left primary school. My “must have” rod had long since left the house for the confines of the garden shed. I have spent the years playing in the local woods or riding my bike for miles and miles, often finishing up at Brooklands in Dartford. I read everything I could about wildlife and by then kept ferrets and pigeons, rabbits and guinea pigs and hamsters, and still no dog, but even then, during my rides round the lakes, I never considered fishing.

Once my younger brother was old enough, I was made to take him with me on my outings. 2 years younger than me, it was a pain in the arse having him along for the ride but I soon discovered that, if I went to the lakes, I could leave him to his own devices, he would find some old gentleman with a rod and spend hours talking to him, a right result as I could carry on with my searches for birds nests and the like, or ferreting out rabbits from the woods behind the lake.

Nights became a problem though, we shared a bedroom, he would chatter away about catching bloody fish and how he wanted a rod of his own. Yes you guessed it, I wouldn’t let him use mine, I wanted it, just in case, and it had never been used, why would I let that pest have it, ah yes, of course, because mum said I had to. And so my much loved Christmas present was retrieved from the shed and reluctantly handed over to him.
I know I whinged a lot, but he didn’t have any hooks or line so that was good. Trouble was, I passed a tackle shop 4 times a day, 5 days a week when I walked to and from school, so mum gave me money to obtain the required line and hooks for him, bloody hell, he was a nuisance

Stopping outside Norman Toyes Tackle, I gazed at the stuff in the window, I hadn’t a clue, but there was a special offer, 50 yards of white 50lb breaking strain, braided stuff. Remembering my brothers tales of the deep lake and huge fish, I knew this was the stuff to have, plus it was 2 shillings cheaper than anything else in the window. I had enough money to buy that and some drilled bullets, about as big as a gob stopper and some meat from the butchers 3 doors down, for the ferrets, result again.

“Going deep sea fishing “ asked the man in the shop, not wanting to sound silly, I replied yes, and asked “what hooks should I get for Brooklands” The stupid man didn’t put 2 and 2 together and so I left the shop with some size 16 hooks 50 yards of white braided line and 2 drilled bullets.

“Take your brother fishing” says mum, in those days we did as we were told and on the Saturday morning we arrived on the A2 bank at Brooklands, having ridden there on our bikes with my present strapped to the crossbar of his bike.
The first couple of swims were occupied so we settled in the first available, well I wasn’t going too far round the lake on a blind goose chase. It was my rod, as mum wasn’t there to watch us, and I was bigger and older than him, so I set it up. Now I don’t know how many have tried, but it was a nightmare trying to thread a size 16 hook on 50lb braid. The float was on the line ok and the drilled bullet, but the hook posed a serious problem. In the end, and being resourceful, I frayed the end of the braid and granny knotted the hook on to one of the threads that made up the line.
Being equally resourceful, my pesky brother had found a matchbox and had ponced some maggots from one of the fishermen further down the lake and we were off, we were fishing. I took the maggots, well it was a dangerous hook, and stuck the hook through one of the maggots and cast out.
Problem number 2, the drilled bullet flew forward alright, but without much line off the reel it flew straight back and hit my shin, it hit it so hard I fell to the ground in pain, “what a stupid game this is” I thought, and, as I writhed about in agony, my sympathetic brother picked up the rod and looked toward the water. All thought of pain left as I jumped up and hit him. Status quo re-established, I pulled a few yards of line from the reel and instructed my brother to pick up the drilled bullet and throw it into the lake.
Problem number 3, as the lead passed me the hook embedded itself in my arm, jeezus this game is dangerous, so after hitting him again, I rode off to the woods, at least it was safe there.
He said he had caught a couple of fish when I returned later that day, silly thing to say really, I wasn’t in a good mood, he was obviously lying and mum said we must never lie, so after punching him again, we rode home.

Not sure of the time frame now, but it was some weeks before I once again held that rod, for some reason my brother didn’t want me to take him, which was fine by me, I’m certain though, that the next time was on a family trip to Tonbridge on the river Medway

“That rods in the boot” says mum, so after sending my brother to ponce some maggots we were once again fishing, though I use the word “fishing” loosely. The tackle hasn’t changed, only the technique, I let him hold the rod this time and I’m throwing the lead into the water, no good getting older without getting more clever, if I get hurt again and I have to hit my brother with mum around, well world war 3 would have broken out.

A man approached us, asked if we had caught anything, watched our antics for a while then went and chatted to mum and dad, it worried me a bit, I wondered if he had been at Brooklands and seen the goings on there.
He and dad left the park for a while but both soon returned with a big box of gear. As it turns out, following their chat the man has decided to help as dad is as clueless as us.
He soon had some proper line on the reel and my beloved red topped float is bobbing about in the river and after catching a roach, he hands the rod to my brother who also catches one and then another, god I wanted to hurt him.

And so there it is, how it all began for me, the rod was now my brothers property and I was never to touch a fishing rod again until I was 14 years old.
Title: Re: In The Beginning
Post by: Mugs on May 29, 2011, 04:20:43 PM
Dad was working at J & E Halls in Dartford. One of his workmates was a bird keeper and I spent the next couple of years learning the art of rabbiting and everything countryside related. One of lez’s mates kept and raced pigeons so my pets became racers, for a teenager I was a busy lad.
By the time I was 14 I had joined the local young farmers club. Our club meetings took place on a local farm and within weeks I was working there on a part time basis. Evenings and weekends, school holidays, as many hours as I could spare to fund my pigeon racing.

While I was doing this, my brother was busy too. A close neighbour was a keen fisherman and had taken the pest under his wing. Each weekend would see him off out of the door at 4 or 5am with mums special sandwiches packed in his little bag. I was tired after working on the farm all day, I needed my sleep, but no, on and on, dace this, bream that, chub chub chub,

According to Mr North, the neighbour, apparently my brother was a good fisherman and after a couple of years is competing against the adults in fishing matches, he became almost unbearable to share a room with.
I was nearly 15, my brother nearly 13 and Mr North fell ill. “Can you take your brother to the river tomorrow” says mum, “he’s too young to go on his own and Mr North can’t go this week.”

So there we are, he gets 2 rods from his bag, sets them up with reels, threads the line baits the hook and cast mine out into the river “watch that swing tip” he says “when it moves strike” I wanted to strike him, but hey, this can’t be too bad. He moves down a few yards and repeats the process and minutes later he’s caught a chub “look at this he says” blimey, biggest fish I’ve ever seen, a chub of around 2lb. I go back and concentrate more because my swing tip hasn’t moved. Suddenly it twitched, I strike and the smallest gudgeon I’ve ever seen sails over my shoulder. Why is he laughing, for god sake, “look at this” he says as another chub gets netted.
After I have caught 6 gudgeon and he has caught endless chub, I’m getting miffed “here, you fish here and I’ll fish there “ he says, I’m straight into another gudgeon him another chub and so the day went. Yes he caught other stuff too, but me, just gudgeon, what a stupid game this is, and  I don’t go again.

Moving on, I’m now 17, have left school and am working full time on the farm and have a full driving licence. Brother has a part time job to fund his fishing and I have use of the farm van. “Come down Brooklands with me”, he says “night fishing” pffttt I don’t think so “are there any gudgeon in there” “go on” he says “I’ll pay you” So we arrive in darkness, because night fishing is banned there at the time, and its great. First fish to me is a bream of 2lb plus, bloody huge slab of a thing “let me cast this time” I’m saying. Soon I’m forgetting how hard the bank is on my arse, my eyes focused on the flake hanging between the reel and first ring, knock knock and it kinda levitates, as if by magic to the rod, and another bream comes to the net. Now this is good.
By first light the action is over, I will never forget the sight of those bream in the keepnet, to me they were massive, huge bronze flanks, beautiful things. We arrived home and got a bollocking for smelling like a rotten fish, and covered in slime, and I find myself defending my “not so pesky brother” I got a bollocking at work the next day because the van stank too, but I didn’t care, I was a fisherman and the bug was about to bite big time.
Title: Re: In The Beginning
Post by: Dick Pasfield on May 29, 2011, 06:24:25 PM
Good story Mugs :thumbsup, must ask is that pest seadragon?
Title: Re: In The Beginning
Post by: Mugs on May 29, 2011, 06:36:04 PM
 :thumbsup but don't tell him I posted this here  ;D
Title: Re: In The Beginning
Post by: Dick Pasfield on May 31, 2011, 03:56:35 PM
Just read this again Mugs. I remember 14yo was the critical time for me as well, fished with my old man prior to that but at 14 we had a family holiday to Currarong south of Nowra.  I caught  a cod of some description that was big enough to be considered a meal and therefore was. Be it a mouthful only.  I still remember clearly watching the fish hit the bait in about a metre of water and dissapear under a ledge.  No problem for the 24lb handline that was my sole bit of fishing tackle at the time. Important thing was that I caught it on a trip we as kids organised with no adults. :thumbsup