Every so often a weekend occurs that you just know will remain with you forever, this weekend was special ion many ways, I’ll explain. Traditional Forum friend Garry was due to fish the Kennet on Friday, as he’d come all the way from Manchester he decided to make a weekend of it, stay over and fish with me on the Itchen on Saturday morning. As Garry is old buddies with Chris Yates, he’d also arranged to pop round for a couple of hours for tea and a catch up in the afternoon, and I was to tag along!
I was to meet Garry at the river at 8am, but a lack of maggots meant I had to sit outside the tackle shop until 8:30 for them to open and for hundreds of gentles to find their way into my bait box. Why tackle shops fail to open before 8:30 in beyond me, all the best spots are gone long before then! Perhaps there should be some kind of law invoked whereas all tackle shops must open at 5:30am on weekends but may stay closed until 10am on weekdays; I think everyone would be happy then.
So after the shenanigans at the tackle shop I arrived at the river at a little before 9am. Garry was already setting up in his swim and we chatted for a while, shook hands and he gave me the box of books he brought along for me. We spoke about his new Wizard rod, the rod he received the day previous and christened that very day with a pb barbel almost ten pounds!
We began fishing and an amazing thing happened to me first cast. I trotted double white maggot through the swim after loose feeding a few handfuls and just at the end of the glide the float dipped. I wasn’t sure if it was weed or a fish as I hadn’t plumbed the depth, but upon striking I was soon to realise that it was a fish, and a big one too! At first I thought it might have been one of the fabled barbel that reside in the stretch we were fishing, but the guy a thirty yards downstream saw the fish roll and shouted “Sea trout”. So there was I, 3.5lb line, size 16 hook and being towed all over the river by a Silver Tourist, it was heart-stopping stuff and after a lot of persuasion Garry expertly netted the fish and we let out a cheer.
The fish was returned to the river and we continued fishing. I caught a couple of nice roach and at around 10:30 decided to try and get the Kelly kettle going. We’d already had a heavy downpour and it looked as though another may be on the way. But I was soon foraging in the dense hedgerows looking for suitable fuel. I found a fair bit too, mainly old brambles which scratched my hands and wrists a bit, but after fifteen minutes of trying to get the fire going I gave up calling it a valiant effort but everything was just too damp. We settled for some jam tarts and back to the fishing it was.
Before lunch I managed a couple more roach. Quite often I would stop fishing and chat with Garry, he had a fair few stories to tell and tells them well. At 1pm we packed away the fishing things and headed into the pub for lunch. We sat outside under a gazebo so we could eat, watch the river and be sheltered should the rains come back. As I was tucking into lasagne and Garry a hearty rabbit suet pudding the heavens opened once more, but as heavy as the downpour was we remained dry.
The Honourable Yates
Lunch was finished, our Tetley shandys were drunk and we set off for Yates Towers. We arrived around 3:15, sat in the study and immediately started talking about fishing. A pot of tea was brewed (70% Ceylon/30% Earl grey) and some generous chunks of fruit cake were handed around. We spoke about Redmire, local pools, rods, reels and his unhooking mat for monster gudgeon. We were shown his Edward Barder roach rod, the 1920’s Aerial given to him by Donald Leney, the Sealy Floatcaster wonderfully restored by Jason White of Dorset which he uses for most of his fishing these day’s and many other items of drop dead gorgeous tackle. A second pot of tea made and drunk, more fruit cake was consumed and Chris went on to tell us all about the latest craze, Floop!
We sat and chatted away for over 3 hours, but as it was Hugh Miles birthday and Chris had to get away for a special birthday supper. We left Yates Towers and thanked him for the tea, the cake and the stories. It was a very special visit I’d been looking forward to for a long time but never actually thought it would happen. As Garry and I went our separate ways I thanked him for his wonderful company, the books he brought for me and for organising just the most special afternoon.
The newest acquisition to my vintage tackle collection is a wonderful original B James and Sons Richard Walker Mark IV carp rod I purchased from the much respected Steve Middleton. http://www.traditionalangling.co.uk/ I plan to christen it at Redmire next weekend, here are a few pictures of it.
I’m really pleased with the rod and can’t wait to use it, stalking the Redmire shallows for big carp using the same tackle Dick Walker et al used back in the 50’s, that’s the way to do it. But I shall not fish for carp exclusively, I am yet to capture a Redmire carp on cane, but I am also yet to capture a Redmire gudgeon. So time will be put aside for gudgeon scratching, perhaps 50/50.
There will be no fishing now until my disembarkation next Sunday for Hereford, I promise to tell you all about it.