In one way I am very pleased that it is one less lad left on the street corners; bored and directionless but I do have this selfish nemesis within me crying out, pleading that I’ve tied enough hooks for others and answered enough questions already to put adequate numbers on the slippery slope of fishing already.

Andrew, the customary cohort of my piscine dalliances and I discussed a Christmastime sortie or two. I fancied a try at a very over-looked lake that could house some extremely large pike. Andrew then announced he had promised to take his thirteen-year-old godson for his first ever fishing adventure over the holiday break; marvellous.

Now Andrew has evolved (or dissolved!) into a bit of a traditionalist. When we first met all those years ago Andrew would have his head in the latest ‘glossy’, a new bait to try, an improvement on an existing rig and a completely new one to put through its paces. I, on the other hand would harp on about all you need is watercraft and sticking a bit of bread on their noses; job jobbed and all that.

During the ensuing years we may have taken on board the others viewpoint, albeit reluctantly, until we reach the position we are at today whereby are paths seemed to have crossed over at some point.

Andrew this week asked me to sound out my father Peter, at the Bivvy Hospital, with the view to buying a centre pin reel and for my part received a Christmas pressie from the said papa of two matching 2 3/4lbs. T/C horizon busters, even ten years ago we both would not have wanted either, oh the ‘times they are a-changin’ – I’ll be fishing for bream next!

Andrew thought, considering the inclement weather, brass monkeys to you and I, fishing a hungry little water we agreed not to fish anymore would be the way to go. There gets a point in every mans life when a three-pound common just does not appeal anymore but to the young Samuel Haste it could be the start of things to come. I readily agreed, blanking in mid-winter for a target fish was not an ideal introduction to angling and it might be fun to get a bend in the rod and look like an expert for a morning.

Believe me this was an easy lake, neither Andrew or myself had ever blanked at this venue in all the years of fishing it and this had become a standing joke amongst us,
“If you can’t catch at the Castle Lake you might as well give up carp fishing!”(Our friend Geoff Porter did once and we took the piss so relentlessly and unmercifully for so long he nearly did. Sorry mate, it was purely down immaturity and a sense of ‘there but the grace of God…’ but I digress.)

Upon arrival at the water it seemed as inspiring as a Ford Ka.
Young Sam was keen though to find out what it is about these creatures that drives a man from the arms of a warm woman on a cold night. Andrew had other ideas, with his newfound religion at the ‘Church of all things Proper’, he decreed the initiation must be performed with a perch upon a peacock quill by thy lobworm; Thanks be to Crabtree, Amen!
“Watchest thou float” commanded St. Andrew, and verily we watched…and watched…then watched some more: riveting.
I, for my part tied a couple of semi-fixed, hair-rigged, salmon and shrimp boilies and slung them towards the island furthest most away from Mecca.

The float lay idle, the ‘nouveau rig’ flew away! Now as I’ve said earlier a man has his limits when it comes to three-pound carp, and when I struck and felt that familiar tap, tap, tap of disappointment. I handed my rod to Sam; he too landed his first ever fish to that sense of
‘Oh, is that it then…’
Andrew and I were raised in a bygone era of ‘chestnuts roasting by the open fire’, an orange and a small toy were what we and every other child had ever hoped for, young Samuel came from a different time, well, present time in fact!
With Nokia 7250i camera phones with polyphonic ring tones, sex on cablevision and easily accessible alcohol, a three-pound common carp has a lot of competition to impress these days!

Andrew pursued with the quill, a genuine strike at a genuine perch bite would win the day…surely? (Surely not!)
As the day got colder and even less likely to be productive Andrew suggested a change of swim, whatever, I had caught with the aid of Samuel so I didn’t give a fig, with the worsening weather and anymore bites decreasing by the minute I started baiting my favourite foe, my adversary, Andrew.
“Not going to blank are you?” I teased.
“Are you?” I teased again.
The initialisation with the perch was forgotten as Andrew bit, hook, line and sinker: The objective changed quicker than a motor racers gearbox.
With nothing on offer my swinger rose again, this time a surprising tap, tap, thud of something slightly bigger. I knew it was another comparative ‘pasty’ and so handed the rod over to young Samuel again.
The ‘Avon’s’ swung around to 12lbs. 12ozs. A personal best from the water for me but all the more sweeter to hand over to young master Haste, this one totally fired his imagination and really pissed off his Godfather Andrew: nice!

My buddy Andrew fished his heart out to catch ANYTHING but in the ever-decreasing conditions failed as I did to capture more.
The moral is irrelevant; Andrew blanked at the ‘Castle’, Geoff did once before, if Sam goes on to catch the British record or never fishes again we will have one thing in common, neither of us has ever blanked at the worlds easiest venue.
Read it and weep Andy,

The ‘expert’ Young Rodders.


Dedicated to my friend, Stuart Jones.