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Two Brothers Go Fishing by Michael RigleySubmit Your Memories
My brother remarked that it was a while since we had gone fishing together; I agreed and reminded him that, with two nippers and me not owning car, fishing was a luxury I did not have the time to indulge in. He said: how about if I pick you up on Sunday morning, we could go to the lake – I have a season ticket. This was an invitation he would soon regret.
Peat is ten years younger than I am and when he was a child, I took him on my adventures along the riverbank. We were happy to sit and cast a float and sometimes catch a small roach or a chub, and so I am to blame for him being hooked on fishing. Sunday arrived and he pulled up outside our terraced house in his shiny Triumph Herald. And we set of for the lake. On arrival, he unloaded his fishing basket and rod. My rod was a small spinning rod and attached to my line was a spinning spoon about the size of a desert spoon with three barbed hooks swivelling on its end. Peat looked at it and grimaced. Our fishing styles had changed: mine because the previous summer had been spent living in the Canadian Bush and I had learned how to catch fish to eat. Oh dear!
We arrived at the lake to be greeted by a quintessential fishing scene: several blokes where siting either on an upturned fishing basket or a seat of some sort. Not a murmur from them as they seemed to be nodding off with one eye on the float. It was so quiet you could hear the sound of the dragonflies beating wings. Peat had informed me that the lake was plagued with pike and I left him to tackle up and wandered away from the blokes, leaving them to nod off and, with a fair distance between us, I cast my spoon. The Sunday air was broken as my spoon crashed down onto the still water. It sounded like a huge fish breaking the surface. After a few casts the now not so peacefully looking blokes started to murmur amongst themselves and nod in my direction. It looked like a lynching was in order. My embarrassed brother gathered his basket and fishing gear saying ‘perhaps we had better drive to the gravel pits’.
‘That’s more like it,’ I said. ‘Pike country.’
When we arrived, Peat left his fishing gear in his car and we walked around the huge lake. Gravel pits are always set in a barren landscape but the water is fresh and clean. Once again blokes were scattered around one of the largest pits and a few kids were also chancing their luck. Two blokes were packing their gear into to the boot of their Morris Minor grumbling on how they had been baiting this spot since daybreak and had no luck and they were now off to the pub. My pikers eye noted a stand of reads and I could just imagine why they had not succeeded in catching any fish. I cast my spoon and reeled it in and on the second cast – Bingo – the water boiled. The two blokes stood mesmerised and Peat almost fell into the water. As I reeled in a huge pike, he was shouting ‘Play it, play It’. I said ‘just grab the bugger when I haul it on to the shore.’
I had been using a bit of angler’s logic: the two blokes had been baiting the area hoping to catch a carp or a chub and the Pike had slid into the reads, waiting for his lunch, and in doing so had scared all the fish away.
The fish weighed 13 lbs. and fresh water pike is very much like cod in taste and texture, so I halved the fish and Peat took his half home. Mam had eaten pike growing up in Ireland and she was pleased to receive the fish which she duly cooked and she served it up for dinner along with peas’ mashed spud and parsley sauce. Dad ate his portion and remarked on how much he had enjoyed his cod and mashed spuds. To which, Mam replied ‘It was pike and not cod!’ A moments silence then Dad jumped up from the table, spluttering and swearing.
‘Bloody pike – you know I hate the stuff.’
‘But,’ said Mam, ‘you just remarked on how much you had enjoyed your piece of fish!’
(c) Michael RigleySubmit Your Memories