Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Tonkin' Fish

As cars go by I cast my mind's eye
Over back packs on roof racks
Beyond the horizon
Where dream makers
Working white plastic processors
Invite the unwary
To reach for the pie in the sky
Go fishing my boy !

Today, I had pretentions of catching myself a fine Perch from my local river with cane and pin..I didn't., but, I did have a splendid couple of nostalgic hours.
My Chapmans 500 lissom wand of cane does not have the correct rings on it. My old Speedia centrepin, rescued from someones shed when seized up and neglected, now runs free and long. It does, however, have a wonky handle. I find these imperfections endearing and they have far more character than my modern gear.
 What better tools then for a couple of snatched hours on the river ?
 Not today, the mackerel'd skies of yesterday after the wind had blown, instead, blue and clear, though the winds had left their mark.

I hoped that the Crack Willows had completed all the cracking they had to do this week!
 The walk to the river from my front door took exactly seven minutes, it acts as a boundary between town and country, on one side a factory with noisy fork-lifts and lorries, on the other a protected water meadow.
  Having tackled up with a small drilled bullet and large Lobworm I nestled myself amongst the invasive and alien Himalayan Balsam, it's a plant that the rangers around here have an ongoing battle against, I actually quite like it, and so do the Bees.....and I like Bees, a lot.
The first marginal cast is usually a hint to the way things pan out on this little haven...nothing happened.
 I was soon distracted by a Treecreeper searching out grubs and insects from a tree on the opposite bank, then, a Great Tit gave a 'Tweet Tweet' from a higher limb...Still the rod stayed static.
 On a short river session I will stay in an unproductive swim no longer than fifteen minutes., so I was soon on my way.

The next little pool I visited had me sitting a little too precarious for my liking, on the opposite bank I could clearly see pram-faced teenagers pushing their offspring and elderly couples on matching disability scooters, but they didn't spot me.
 A knock, yes, a definite knock, then again....strike....a perfect Chublet, so small that the worm really was longer. The river does need at least another foot on it for decent Perch action, only, I just couldn't wait any longer.
 Moving on then, the bridge, surely a stripey marauder lurks here.

In the fifteen fishless minutes I sat in this swim,ten people crossed its span, only one stopped to look and stare, a small child hanging from her Mother's hand waved at me as her parent hurried on thinking about food shopping and the electricity bill. It would seem that many have lost that youthful awe at ones natural surroundings, I'm happy to not count myself amongst them, how else would I have noticed my friend the Kingfisher as he shot past at speed along the winding flow.

As the sun shone through the willows, I saw my final swim in a different light, it had previously seemed unassuming, but now became an interesting place to sit, even though I was now on the factory side by the the path and had received a least one glance from a passer-by that seemed to say, 'What's that weirdy beardy up to ? There's no fish in there.'
 Then, just when I thought it wouldn't, the tip juddered around, I struck to solid resistance, and a fight ensued that led me to believe I'd hooked that elusive three pound Perch, for they do live here.
 It was not a Perch though, it was a right old character of a Bream, battle scarred, it had clearly been in a few scrapes in its time, a few chunks missing from its tail, maybe a narrow escape from an Otter.

He certainly fought like a fish that knew how to survive, and as I returned him I felt happy to end the day right there, not wanting to cast again, so I strolled the short way home and back to present day life, happy with my lot.


  1. Hello Dave, I have missed your online presence of late, I hope you are well. Believe it or not, I was given that little tub (I think it's the smallest one they did - ideal for worms) from a lovely lady on Camden Market when I purchased a centrepin reel from her.

  2. How good was that write up and pictures well i give it 10/10 I really enjoyed everything about it, I have tried to take a picture of a Kingfisher but they are to quick for me, And the Centerpin i thought i was the only one of a few to still use one, I have one that lost one of its two handles and its even better than ever, Well done on your catch, That Perch will have to find you out there next time,
    Oh welcome back to reality haha

  3. That is a tonkin' fish from that river, man I've only ever had tiddlers out of the back of old Averys before now.

  4. Lovely post Gurn, that bream has as much character as your tackle :-)

  5. the bigger perch tend to come from a few miles downstream in my humble experience . Unless, of course, you know different!

  6. I have had 2's to 2-14 upstream and downstream of this point, I know that there was a fish kill in the area you suggest, including some big Perch about a month ago so I am giving it a wide berth for a while ;-}

  7. Thanks for the nice feedback fellas...Also, good to see you dropping in from time to time Stuart...hope you and yours are well. Did you recognise the song lyric ? ;-)

  8. Nice stuff Gurn, i love the wandering around style of fishing you have written about.

  9. No, unfortunately my memory is not what it was....(tongue in cheek), I like the meaning of the words though.
    Zander season is just teetering on the horizon over here, waiting for the mercury to drop, but I landed one at 1.3kgs from a local river on a rubber fish this week.

  10. Stu..Roger Waters - The Pro's and Con's of Hitch Hiking.

  11. Found you interesting blog today, some wonderful Roach you have caught.

    I fly fish for trout only now days, but fish with bamboo too. I had some nice fish off the river Wensum many years ago. But sadly now I think those days are gone. What size is the roach in the main picture?

    Kind Regards.

  12. Hi Richard, thanks for you comment, that roach was 2lb 7oz....and I know for sure that there are some much, much bigger at that venue...maybe this winter ;-)

  13. Ooh I missed this post earlier. Glad I read it at last. You and I have a similar affection for Speedia with cane.

    Regular Rod

  14. Very nice , a similar experience, from Córdoba, Spain!