GET HOOKED by Cotswold angler Jon Berry
THERE was no time to fish last weekend. It was one of those occasions when I had other obligations – filling the wood shed for winter, a family meal, a little work-related paperwork, and bailiff duties on the Water Park. My nets stayed dry.
It didn’t help that conditions were favourable. A rainy Friday night, ushered in by a mild south-westerly, was just what the carp lake needed. I’ll bet the margins were fizzing with feeding fish. Big, hungry fish, queuing up to be caught. But I can’t be sure – because, as you’ll have gathered, I wasn’t there.
I can get a little irritable when I miss my weekly cast. It’s a curious mixture of cabin fever and narcotic withdrawal, and only something fish-related will ease the shakes. A leisurely hour in the tackle shop helps, but only a prolonged stay in the ‘man cave’ will give total symptomatic relief.
The man cave is the room where I write this column, but is also where the fancier rods and reels live, alongside books and pictures (all fishy). It is also where all those other essential jobs are done. Rigs are tied, reels are stripped and serviced, rods repaired and, occasionally, floats and flies conjured on the cluttered desk.
It’s a fishy place, and captures some of what appealed to me about the backstreet tackle shops of my youth. Curled, yellowing photographs jostle for space with half-assembled bite alarms and boxes of rusted flies. A life-sized carving of my first ferox trout stares angrily at all intruders.
The mood of the man cave shifts as my fishing interests do the same. All summer there has been something carpy about the place. As autumn arrives and the river beckons, the disembowelled Optonics will make way for bait droppers and swim feeders, and perhaps those pike bungs I have been threatening to varnish for several years. The man cave reflects perfectly the fishing that captivates me at any given time.
In the corner, next to tubes that house my fly rods, are three new carp rods. I picked them up a week ago from Tom at Cotswold Rods. They are cork-handled, soft-actioned bespoke affairs, designed by their maker for the syndicate lake. I’m smitten, and I haven’t even used them yet. But already they have earned a special place in the cave. I can’t wait to use them – it is just a matter of time.
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