Friday, 19 June 2015
At ease, Soldiers. I hope you have been behaving yourselves and catching some fish. Things have been quiet down at military command. Too quiet. It can be a dull life as a fictional military leader. No new wars for ages, and my highly trained men are reduced to rescuing immigrants and attending marches. I have been increasingly reaching into my desk for port and opium to numb the boredom. To be honest, no bugger really noticed the other day when I went AWOL for some fishing.
A foolish friend of had invited me invited me to fish one of these so called “commercial” fisheries for ages, a place owned by Wayne Templeton, an aging Brummie. I had heard about these places in one of the angling rags, and remember being appalled at the battered looking common carp and even more common matchmen with their beer guts and crooked teeth. Ridiculous quantities of fish and golf course smooth banks. A little portaloo, so that Fred and Barry’s wives can take a piss while he reels in another carp. Even as a military hardman, I believe angling demands a little more romance than that.
However, I was assured that Chavvington Carp Fishery was different. In fact I was told that not only were weights up to 1000lbs commonplace, but there were genuine world record crucian carp to be had.
I immediately reached for my long pole. Now I know some of you will be farting about with 13 metres of overpriced Italian carbon, but I seldom ever use less than 24 metres of pole, because I can. Some of my US Army connections have crafted a pole using banned space alloys that weighs only 45 grams at this length.
Wayne duly handed me a long list of rules and also told me that he charged pole fishermen by the metre, so my day ticket would have cost £48, had I not threatened him. The rules were damned confusing to be honest. Even as a man with a fetish for iron discipline and order, I found the following a little bizarre:
1. No vintage tackle or pipe smoking.
2. No Cornishmen
3. No nuclear weapons
4. No sweetcorn allowed on a Tuesday
5. Barbless hooks only
I had planned to use sweetcorn, but it was a Tuesday, so this wasn’t allowed. Instead, I opted for pellets. I like these because I can then use a standard issue rifle to feed the swim with devastating accuracy.
What carnage these commercial fisheries are. I had a bite, very first put in and a measly carp. I fed even more industrial sized pellets, until the water was heaving with them. I fished on, but after about 100lbs of them, I began to lose my temper.
The crucians weren’t getting a look in, so I started to open fire on the carp, if only to thin out the numbers a little. Of course, I checked the fishery rules first and it said absolutely nothing about the use of firearms.
As the carp took a heavy toll, I waited for the damage to clear and baited my hook again. The next bite was different, a cagy affair. I reckon it must have moved less than a millimeter when I struck with utter fury.
Wayne came over as I was playing it. It made deep, powerful runs.
“It’s a crucian” he said. “Look, just like a bar of gold.”
“That’s a bloody poor mans cliché Wayne,” I threatened. “Get me a bigger landing net or you’ll regret it.”
For a moment, as it surfaced, it looked like the sun had fallen out of the sky and into the pond. It was a blaze of gold, not a ruddy bar of it.
My excitement was quickly dimmed. After counting the fin rays and DNA testing several scales I came to a sickening conclusion. This was no record crucian, but a colossal, inbred whale of a goldfish. Seventy-eight pounds, and a world record, to be exact. I hurled my pole into the lake in disgust, punched Wayne in the face a few times, before heading back to the barracks to take out my frustration on the troops.