Thinking small

I can hear her words today just as clearly as when she said them to me. Mrs Collier was my teacher at primary school, a lovely woman who doted on her charges but stood for no nonsense. What with eight year old me being a bit of a tearaway there were frequent clashes between me and the tweed wearing teacher. One day I was up to some old tricks or japes, I forget exactly what it was that attracted Mrs. Collier’s ire but I upset her somehow. Fixing me with one of her infamous glares she dismissed my errant ways saying ‘small things amuse small minds Mr. McLean’. Why, among the seemingly endless litany of cautions and punishments for assorted misdemeanors, this chastisement remains in my memory is not clear but 55 years after the event and long after that nice lady has passed away it remains vivid in my mind. Today I was thinking small again.

A second dose of Covid had come and gone, not nearly so bad as the first infection but enough to leave me tired and listless. I lacked the energy for trout or salmon fishing but a couple of hours sitting on a seat watching a float seemed to be a good idea and would get me out of the house. In the bait ‘fridge I found a few maggots and casters and grubbing about in the muck heap yielded a dozen worms. Off I set in the warm sunshine, the small fish in Eaton’s lake my target for the day.

Setting up the float rod was the work of a few minutes and right from the off I was getting bites but converting the bites into fish on the bank proved to be a huge challenge. Finally I got a small perch so at least today was not going to be a blank. Only a few casts later the float disappeared and a small roach wriggled but stayed on the hook. This was pleasant enough, just me sitting on the seatbox whipping out the occasional small fish. She was right, Mrs Collier, small things were indeed amusing my small mind.

Lots more missed bites ensued, even the most determined ones resulted in nothing hooked. Peering into the water the reason became obvious, thousands of fry were shoaling in front of me. Too small to take the hook properly, they never-the-less tried hard to eat the maggots on the size 18 hook. Casting further out seemed to help a little so I loose fed at three rod lengths and concentrated out there. More small perch followed interspersed with occasional small roach. I ate my sandwiches under the hot sun watching the float quiver or bob as another silver chewed on my maggots a dozen feet below the shining surface.

While the fish all morning had been small (very small actually) the afternoon brought a better stamp of fish in to the swim. The float shot under about 2pm and I lifted into something with a bit more weight than I had been used to so far. A nice roach of about 12 ounces came to the net, followed by 4 more of its brethren each of roughly the same size. All too soon though the shoal drifted away and a hush descended on the lake.

Maybe it was the heat of the day or just my tiredness after the infection but I decided to pack up early. In total I had landed 9 roach to 12 ounces and 8 small perch. It had been a lovely session, just what I was wanting. Peace and quiet beside the water and a few small fish to keep me busy under the sun. The more I see of Eaton’s lake the more I think it needs a different approach. Weeds blanket the bottom as far as I can see, so a good raking might be worth the effort to clear a swim and at the same time churn up the mud to release insects and crustaceans. I can find no reference to tench in this lake but it looks very ‘tenchy’ to me so who knows. Again, a good raking might be all that is required to attract any tincas into the swim.

Meeting my Doppelganger

Rods broken down, I was busily packing up my gear when a voice from behind hailed me. Turning, I found a chap a bit younger than me who inquired,

‘Colin’?

‘Yes’, how did he know my name?

‘It’s me, Colin’ he said.

I will explain. For some months now I have been in contact with a fella who does a bit of fishing. Emails have been exchanged but we had never met, until this afternoon. Driving past the lake he had spotted someone fishing so had come down for a chat with the angler, not knowing it was me until I turned around. By some weird coincidence we share an awful lot in common.

From the UK – yes we are both from the UK

Moved to live in Ireland – Yep, we have both decided to live in Mayo

Christian name – both called Colin

Keen fishermen – yes, both of us are experienced anglers

Now it begins to get weird

Football club – Both of us are passionate Burnley supporters!

Partners name – hard to believe this but both of our partners are called Helen!

So it appears I have met my doppelganger and a nice man he is too. We chatted for a while and he kindly gave me a hand to lug the gear back to the car. Arrangements are being made to fish together next week. Small things…………………….

4 thoughts on “Thinking small

  1. What a series of amazing coincidences. Wow. Your psychic twin? And I am now wondering if all teachers told their students the same thing about small things and small minds. Interesting post – thank you.

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    1. Very real! He got in touch via the blog a few months ago and we chortled at having the same name but it became apparent there were numerous other similarities. Only found out yesterday that his wife was also called Helen. Really is very odd indeed. Lovely chap, carp angler but we won’t hold that against him. I have said I will show him the ropes around this area and he is keen to learn to fly fish.

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