It was the day we'd all been waiting for. Glen and I were to meet Mick (Trugg) and Johnny (Colmans) at the Grouse and Claret in Rowsley for a slap up breakfast to set us up for a full days fishing on The Peacock's stretch of the Wye.....bit of a false start as we missed the 10.30 breakfast deadline at the pub and had to go into Bakewell instead (£8 per head for half a breakfast and toast...ouch!)...anyway, tactics, the approach, the weather...., Spongebob Squarepants (I'll explain later), were all discussed and we were ready to go and headed off to the Fisherman's carpark heading back towards Rowsley.
We fished the field downstream of the car park, all finding it tough going with the few rises and awkward wind conditions. The Kelly was lit while all, particularly Mr Pointon, concentrated on a fish that was rising in a very tricky location....after a somewhat unproductive hour or so, we headed back to the cars to regroup, light the Kelly once more and to plan the rest of the day, all the while, the weather seemed to improve.
After leaving the cars once more, Mick and I headed off towards Rowsley, and I'd like to thank him for the help and advice that he was giving me with my casting which I found to be most useful. Glen and Johnny couldn't resist stalking a group of large Rainbows that were holding fast but were slowly rising frequently, until they decided to rejoin us and head in to Bakewell to fish for "The big uns".
By this time, the weather had become pretty grim and just as the heaviest rain started, we managed to find shelter in a large marquee that had recently been erected in time for the Bakewell Show. Morale was at an all time low. We were all soaking wet, knackered, thirsty, hungry and there was a feeling that we may have all made our last casts for the day, it was only 4.30 and we'd have to head for home. Bugger.
Glen, however, having recognised that his comrades now lacked the morale that they once had earlier in the day, decided all we needed was to be cheered up with a cup of coffee, an unfeasably optimistic weather report (the sky was black and the rain would surely not cease for the rest of the day) and a hilarious anecdote that I can only tell you ended with the punchline "Mr Pointon, you can now pass wind".
"But we haven't got any water for coffee" says Mick, "Sow rate youth, way'll gerrit off markay roof.......lark" says Glen, all exchanged expressions of surprise, astonishment and terror. We only had two cups between the four of us, Mick very wisely refused one for fear of bird muck filtration, Glen used his own Kelly cup which holds just enough water to make a perfect strong coffee when using a sachet, and Johnny and I used a cup three times the size with just the one sachet, the result being 1/2 a litre of gutter water with a bit of coffee in it. When asked what it tasted like, Johnny's reply was simpy "special".
The coffee was crap but we'd all had a great laugh and were now ready to fish the rest of the day...at a point at which many I know would have called it a day. If anything, the weather got worse but we now started to catch fish.
Glen had a good scrap with a Rainbow of at least 4lb in the town stretch, and I enjoyed a good few Rainbows and Grayling by the weir beyond the road bridge. I was pleased with the fact that
although I didn't land every fish I connected with, at least I've not been missing as many takes as in previous outings.
Mick landed the fish of his dreams, with the help of Glen, he landed a monster Brownie and was absolutely over the moon.
We headed back on foot to the Fisherman's car park, whereupon the Kelly was lit and Mick was presented with a wee bottle of Talisker 20 year old 62% for the prize for the day's biggest fish by a million miles. We discussed the differences between a "Rayt Lunker" and a "Proper Lunker" and all agreed that the later title was applicable in the case of Mick's well deserved Brownie.
TALISKER 20 YEARS OLD 62%
Nose: Waves of toffee, cinnamon and spices with rich Oloroso Sherry notes with a faint wiff of alcohol, more toffee and peat.
Palate: Just huge, again dark sherry and spices with a touch of caramel and subtle vanilla. A peat explosion...smoky rather than medicinal phenols.
Finish: Can only be described as stupendous, everlasting dark fruit overtones and wave upon wave of that smoky peat. An all round classic, very rare dram.
COFFEE MADE WITH WATER FROM THE ROOF OF A MARQUEE IN BAKEWELL
Nose: Sparce, understated, peculiar, freshly cut grass, silage?
Palate: Over ripe fruit, very over ripe. Rough, bird droppings, PVC?
Finish: No thanks. An underated beverage?
I have to say that the one thing that got me through the rain, the wet, the crap coffee was a story Glen told us at breakfast concerning a visit with his kids to the car wash in 'Osh Bonk' in Stoke. I haven't cried so much in years. Apparently the car was greeted by a very large lady with a strong potteries dialect and a very deep voice, dressed as what can only be described as Spongebob Squarepants. On seeing this massively oversized, and very real Spongebob, Glen's kids immediately began to scream in fits of terror..at which point Spongebob leant into the car, and said in a very low tone.......
"........Dunner worry duck, arr wunner ert yer".
A day that will be remembered for a long time, great company, ace fishing and a right laugh.