Thursday, 23 February 2012

Family Fortune

Jay Barnes

I have met and fished with some great people over the years and formed some good friendships,shared great days fishing and had many many laughs along the way.As this is my first article i would like to share a season that most sticks out in my mind. A special one shared with my dad (Buddha) and my son Josh in my boat fishing the Broads and rivers.

The winter season was fast approaching,the annual PAC Convention had taken place, gear was sorted,the freezer was crammed full of deadbaits and for once i was well prepared for the season ahead. The only downside was this all coincided with my old man having his hip replacement operation around the second week of October.......Bummer!. Just how much of the coming season would he miss I asked myself ?. Oh well, more fish for me.... or so i thought !

At the time my son Josh was doing a fair amount of fishing with me, so it was just the two of us that got the family season underway while dad Buddha was preparing himself for his looming hip operation. Our first few trips out that season did not really amount to much, apart from the usual few jacks and odd small double all mainly falling to livebaits. Josh did manage to hook one of the biggest eels I've ever seen on a whole lamprey but sadly we didn't get it into the boat to weigh it as this enormous eel threw the hooks at the side of the boat.

With the season now underway and a good few trips under our belts Buddha had just  had his new hip operation,so a quick visit up to the hospital to see how he was doing was in order. On getting in to see him the day after his op it was clear to see he was doing just great,in fact they had him up out of bed even taking a few steps. OUCH the thought of it !.Perhaps i will have him back out in the boat fishing sooner than i thought. As it happens it was two or three weeks following his operation when I managed to get him into the car and to a little swim we could park the car close to.Just a couple of hours fishing and a blank, but at least i had got the old man out the house.

The following few weeks and we are into November and things were now on the UP! Josh and I had been out in the boat together catching several nice fish up to 19lb off the river, all on static dead baits, the only thing missing from our boat was Buddha.

Getting home one evening i called in to see if Buddha fancied getting out the following day with us, although the fishing was good he wasn't overly keen as it had only been around 5-6 weeks since his operation.I did however convince him that as long as i could get him in the boat with no problems then the rest would be plain sailing so to speak.

The next day saw all three of us in the boat together for the first time in what felt like years. I found Buddha a nice big comfortable chair sat him down and we were off up the river. Great ! On reaching our first swim a mixture of static deads and livebaits were cast out all round the boat and straight away we were into fish, several small fish were boated in the first hour then it switched off , a quick move further along the river was decided. Josh had lifted the front mud weight and i assumed everyone had sat down, we both had but Buddha hadn't quite. Then when i gave it a bit too much throttle on the outboard he ended up in a big heap down by my feet !  "Ooops sorry mate" I said once I had checked his leg was still attached to the rest of him.I got him back in his seat and saw he wasn't in too much pain but I couldn't help but laugh,he wasn't very impressed at all though!. Two or three other swims were fished that day that all produced fish but nothing above 12lb or so, a great day was had none the less and importantly we had Buddha back!.

Over the coming weeks and leading towards Xmas it was mainly Josh and I getting out and very occasionally Buddha. Some good catches were made with plenty of nice doubles thrown in. The fishing just seemed to be  getting better and better each time we went out. Looking back now it seemed we just couldn't do wrong. With Xmas fast approaching i decided on long holiday from work to get a bit more fishing in ( Oh ! the beauty of being self employed)

With Xmas now upon us  the next trip out would be Josh and I on Boxing day with Buddha joining us both the following day.With the boat launched and leaving the slip we noticed a huge number of cormorants were working a very tight area close by. What do i do.... get back to where we had been on previous trips or give this area a go?. As we were only fishing a half day i decided on staying put and see what this area might just throw up. Bang! Josh cast out and he had hardly put his rod down when he shouted he was away, great stuff i thought and even better a new p.b for Josh was netted, a fish just shy of 20lb , He was all smiles until i told him i had left my camera at home ! He was extremely happy with his new PB but absolutely gutted he did not get a picture as you can well imagine. The rest of the day was hectic to say the least, with good sized doubles caught and plenty of them. As we packed up I thought it a shame we'd only had half a day at them, would they still be here tomorrow ?

The next day as planned Buddha joined us and at first light just like the day before we were out and boat launched. Again there were loads of cormorants working in the same tight area, a small channel some 200 yrds long appeared to be stuffed with silver fish. A mixture of deads were cast all around the boat and we were soon into decent fish yet again, great stuff! . Several doubles to 18lb were caught during the morning before the runs dried up so we decided on a little move of probably no more than about fifty yards. Baits were cast out and Josh was "in" again almost straight away ,the fish was netted and weighed and was yet another PB for him at 23.08. A quick couple of pics were taken this time and on putting the fish back i noticed one of  my floats sliding away.This fish didn't feel too bad either, on netting her i thought maybe the fish was another 20 and so she was at 22.10. Result !.

As the day went on a few more fish were boated before Buddha joined us with a 20 as well at 21.04. We had never managed together to all have a 20 in the boat on the same day until this day. It really was  a great day for the three of us!

Unfortunately the next few days were spent away at the In-laws for the New Year. Christ did that time drag, thinking about what we could be missing out on fishing wise, selfish bugger that i am lol !. When we did eventually get back out  a week had past. But the fish were still there and yet again decent doubles were soon being boated again all to static deads.I recall  thinking Blimey does fishing get any better that this !. We fished that same area all day and finished with a stack of good doubles between us and another 3 x 20s, all to me, the biggest going 23lb.

A day or two went and it was decided to have yet another go , this time though a couple of other boats were poking about so it was decided to bypass the swim and perhaps give it a go later in the day. We crashed down to reality as four or five swims up river were fished and we were now blanking big time. With the day running out. fast we decided to get back to the hot swim for last knockings, we had about an hour of daylight left.

On getting back the other boats had gone, GREAT ! . Baits out and it wasn't long Buddha was first in with a 23.10 , shortly after i had a 22.06 then Buddha came up trumps again with a 21.08. All these fish literally caught in the last hour of daylight. We only had three runs on that day with the result being another 3 x 20s. Happy days!. We fished the following day and to be honest it became hard going, not that i was complaining, we had just had some of the best days sport we had ever shared together.What did it matter if we blanked?.I did however manage a low 20 at last knockings.

That was pretty much it for the hot swim that season, so our efforts were concentrated elsewhere but our success  continued with a few good fish caught throughout the season no matter where we went. As i said earlier, i was a season where it seemed we couldn't put a foot wrong. Ending up as one of the better seasons we had with seventeen fish over 20lb netted. Sadly Josh's pike fishing these days plays second place to girls and nightclubs and who can blame him at 19 years old. Hopefully one day though, he will get back into his fishing so he can share the special times that me and Buddha still have together.Even if that does not happen the memories of that season will stay with me for ever !

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