Earliest Recollections

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Dave Spence

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Sorry folks but I am off down memory lane again. As some of you know I am currently off work and absolutely bored stiff, so with your permission I am going to be very self-indulgent and write about my childhood and the huge part that fishing played in it.
Most of my posts have been quite long and I am unsure how this is going down with the other forum members, if you dont like this sort of thing please let me know and I will cease them, conversely, also let me know if you wish me to continue. I am finding writing is not only very therapeutic; it is also rekindling my passion for the sport that I have always loved.
This is just one of my earliest recollections but I have hundreds more. Having had a very Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn type of childhood the stories are endless. Most of my Fathers friends were Poachers/Countrymen, all very good anglers and all with a devil may care attitude. I accompanied them, with my Father on many of their escapades in the days when life was a slower pace and there seemed to be far more tolerance between folks.
*************************
They say that every angler can remember their first fish; this is where I differ, although I have a really good memory, I cannot even remember my first trip let alone my first fish. The fact is I cannot remember ever not fishing; it is just something that I always seem to have done.
It was the late 50s/early 60s and I was sat in the living room (only room actually) of our small council house in Strelley, just outside Nottingham, watching my Father messing about with some bits of wood on a tray on his lap.
What are you making Ken I asked (as I have previously mentioned I always called my parents by their first names).
Some floats for the Trent he replied,
Can I help? I asked hopefully.
My Father passed some, already fashioned, floats over to me and, giving me some sand paper told me to rub them down until they were dead smooth. I got myself a tray from the Kitchen and, settling on the sofa I started sanding the floats.
This wood is dead light I stated,
Its called Balsa replied my Father Perfect for fishing
Can I come with you next time I asked, again hopefully,
Ask your Mam came the reply.
This was a real result as, ask your Mam invariably meant yes.

My mother chose that moment to come in from the kitchen, she looked at us both huddled over dinner trays making floats; Like 2 peas in a pod you two are she clucked. Oy, is that my best carving knife? She demanded.
Sorry duck my Father said sheepishly.
Make sure you take it on the front step and sharpen it when youve done she told him.
I always do dont I? He replied.
Looking back it always makes me chuckle to see how my Father backed down to my Mother. Ken was a big, hard man, frightened of no-one but, if my mother said jump he would always ask how high.
Ken said I can go fishing with him I said excitedly,
No said my Father I told you to ask her if it was ok.
Can I go Vi, please I asked pleadingly
I didnt know it at the time but they had lost their first baby (premature birth) a few years before and they didnt know if they would be able to have any more. When I came along, therefore, I was a little miracle and as such was a bit spoiled. This changed, however, when my brother and sister were born but, it was nice whilst it lasted.
I dont see why not said my Mam provided you wrap up warm.
Thank you I replied delightedly.
Oh and one more thing said my Mam dont go catching more than your Dad, I dont want him crying when you get back.
Hell never beat me whilst ever hes got a hole in his a***e laughed my Dad.
Stop swearing said my Mam or Ill bat you round the earhole
Both myself and my Father burst out laughing, I used to love it when they pretended to argue. My mother died 4 years ago (Alzheimers) and right up to her death I never saw them have a real cross word. Its a shame that more relationships arent still like that.
Anyway, back to the story.
Where are we going I asked
Attenborough replied my Father
On the coach? I asked.
In those days my Father only had a big 650cc Triumph motorbike so fishing trips tended to be on the bus. The bus to Attenborough was a red (Bartons) single decker as opposed to the big green, corporation, double deckers that we used for trips into Nottingham. To me the single decker always made me think we were going on holiday.
Yes, on the coach he replied, you will have to carry your own tackle and set yourself up he warned.
OK I said, knowing that I wouldnt be carrying anything, I couldnt even lift his basket and the holdall would be dragging on the ground if I tried to carry that.
Can you remember how to tie a hook on he asked.
I went to the big sideboard against the back wall and got two dummies out of the drawer, I had hidden them there as I was supposed to be packing them up. My Mam said that I was too old now to be sucking on a dummy (this would put my age at about 4 or 5 as I didnt pack up a dummy until I contracted a bad case of Glandular Fever when I was 6 years old. My throat became so swollen I was unable to suck one and, after I was cured, I never went back to it (My missus often comments that she dont think I was ever fully weaned, but nuff said) .
Stuffing one of the dummies into my mouth I, carefully tied an overhand loop on the string of the other, as he had shown me, then swapped the dummies over and repeated the action on the string of the second one. I then, studiously, showed him how I passed one dummy through the loop of the other before passing it back through its own loop and pulling tight.
Well done son chuckled my Father delightedly.
The following Sunday saw us getting the tackle ready for our trip.
Vi will you do my wellies please I shouted to my Mam.
Pass them here then she replied
At that time, for some strange reason, it was the done thing to have the tops of your wellingtons turned down and I had to have mine exactly the same as my Fathers. So, with wellies duly sorted we set off.
We reached Attenborough and started walking to our chosen spot, we always fished the same place; just at the side of where the barges unloaded their cargoes (Attenborough was a working gravel pit at that time). Tackling up I saw that my Father was putting up a leger rod as well as his Apollo Taperflash match rod; my own was a Sundridge split cane 12.
Whats that for I asked
He pointed across the water and said my mates told me that there is a gravel bar out there with some big Perch on it.
He put on a big lobworm and cast in. Putting the, split cane rod onto a rest, with the rod pointing up at the sky, he said if you see the rod bouncing shout me.
I made my first cast, gathered my slack line, and sat on my fishing stool. Almost immediately the 2 dust porky sank and I was battling my first fish.
Ive got one Ken I shouted do I need the landing net?
He looked over, No, you should be ok he replied.
A 2oz roach was duly swung into my excited hand. I must point out that this question of do I need the landing net was repeated every fish (I must have got on his nerves). I had been warned that, if a fish was big enough to require the landing net, you could damage it if you just lifted it out, I therefore, felt it necessary to seek reassurance, every time, before I tried to land them.
I looked over at the leger rod, as I had been doing every few minutes since I had been told let me know if the rod is bouncing.
I often think that I was a little Autistic in those days as I always took things my Father told me literally. Once, my mother and some other family members had taken a trip, in a car no less! To the coast and we made a detour to Stickney to see my Father, who was having a weeks fishing with his mates, something he did on a very regular basis. When we got there I saw him fishing right outside the Duke of Wellington pub, where he was staying, fishing on the Hobhole drain. I ran over to him leaving the others yawning and stretching after their journey.
Have you caught owt Ken I asked.
He looked round, ayup Dave (I always Dave to him and our David to my Mam) he said what are you doing here.
Uncle Bill brought us I told him
My Mam came over then and we both sat watching my Father fish, a large Swan swam through his peg just as he was about to cast;
Watch me go and hook that Swan he muttered. He didnt and my Mam and I sat with him, for about an hour, before the others shouted that we were leaving.
Come on our David said my Mam were going.
We cant go yet I replied I want to see Ken hook the Swan
My Father and my Mam looked at each other in a very puzzled way and then the penny dropped my Father burst out laughing and told me that he had been only joking. I think that was just to avoid having to explain irony to a child.
Anyway; back to Attenborough.
The leger rods bouncing Ken I shouted
My Father whirled around and started to get up, then, looking at the rod he said no, thats just the wind
About ten minutes later the scene was repeated and, again, he told me it was just the wind.
After about the 5th time of my telling him he declared that he wasnt going to look any more. I then noticed the rod doing something very peculiar. First, the tip shook, then bent over with the butt coming up off the floor. It then fell back and the phenomenon repeated itself.
Ken look at the rod I screamed
No its just the wind he replied
These two comments were repeated several times before I made the declaration that I was going to see to it, that made him have look. He sprang up, I dont think I have seen him move so fast, before or since, and ran over to the rod. Picking it up he tightened to the fish and I had never seen a rod bend so much.
Bring the landing net Dave said my Father hold it straight out and under the water, I will bring the fish over it and when I tell you, lift it out.
I was terrified, I had never used a landing net before but ,what he told me some years later, was that he knew it was a very big fish and he wanted it to be a joint effort so that I would be able to say; we caught it instead of he caught it.
That fish was very determined and every time my father got it close it would turn and dive down back into the depths, we had yet to see it.
What do you think it is Ken I asked, still holding the net in trembling hands.
Its a huge Perch he replied I can tell by how it is fighting.
Eventually my Father got the upper hand and a huge stripy flank came up to the surface; I know things can get exaggerated, over the years, but I can honestly say that I have never, to this day, seen any Perch that comes close to it. My current PB is 3lb, ironically caught in the same swim about 20 years later, and it was nowhere near the size of this one. My Father carefully started to guide the fish towards the waiting net; I was almost passing out from holding my breath, when the hook pulled!!
My fault Dave my Father reassured me I should have looked when you first told me.
I was devastated and tears started to form;
Dont ever worry when you lose a fish said my Father, just put it down to experience and carry on, its pointless getting upset about something you can do nothing about.
I never forgot that lesson and even now, if I lose a fish, I dont react and just get on with it.
The rest of the day was spent with me catching a continual procession of small Roach and Perch whilst my Father caught a few slabs and some quality Roach.
Eventually my Father declared it time to pack up; we emptied his net first I think that is a good 20lb he stated, looking down at his catch. When we emptied my net, however, I insisted that I count the fish (something I always used to do right up to about 12 years old!).
Thats 122 I finally declared my best day yet
Well done Dave congratulated my Father but I had the biggest weight so Ive won he teased.
Dont be daft I retorted we always go on how many; when we fish.
Wait till you start match fishing he chuckled.
We got home that night and I ran into the house Ive made him cry Vi I declared excitedly.
Has he beaten you again she chuckled to my Father never mind you might get your own back next time.
Where are we going next Ken I asked.
 

DevonDangler

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Please, someone give Dave a job......................pleeeeeeeeaaaaaase [:D]
 

pat 1948

22/09/13 - 17/03/18
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Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]

No! whatever made you think that Ralph! By the way, do you pronounce Ralph as Ralph or as Rafe?
 

Fishplate 42

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Originally posted by pat 1948

Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]

No! whatever made you think that Ralph! By the way, do you pronounce Ralph as Ralph or as Rafe?

It is Ralph - My old headmaster used to call me Rafe I had not heard anyone call me Rafe, I got into trouble for ignoring him and then for arguing (Who me?) with him.

Ralph [:(!]
 
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JohnTynan

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Thanks for sharing Dave.

I think some of the attention seekers won't like you getting so much! But there you have it.
 

CityFox

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A really great story, painted the picture really well and I enjoyed it a lot [:T]
 

bluemack

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A nice read Dave,but you did remind me of "spoilt ba###rd"in Viz.
[:)]
 

DFL

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"It is Ralph - My old headmaster used to call me Rafe I had not heard anyone call me Rafe, I got into trouble for ignoring him and then for arguing (Who me?) with him. "



Dead posh when you move down here "Ralph", I'll become to know you as "Rafe" when we meet in the "cafe", you can call me Johan.[:)]
 
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banksy

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Originally posted by bluemack

A nice read Dave,but you did remind me of "spoilt ba###rd"in Viz.
[:)]

jump.gif

Still better than George Bestial.

[8D]
 

Dave Spence

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Originally posted by bluemack

A nice read Dave,but you did remind me of "spoilt ba###rd"in Viz.
[:)]
I don't believe you could be so nasty! I was and never will be anything like "spoilt B*****d" and I am going to keep stamping my little foot until you apologise for being beastly!
 

Geovani

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Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]
You did post far too much Ralph and you certainly was NOT as interesting !!
 

DFL

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Originally posted by Geovani

Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]
You did post far too much Ralph and you certainly was NOT as interesting !!

With just 71 posts in a little over two years you're hardly bursting with "interesting" posts.[:D]
 

Fishplate 42

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Originally posted by DFL

Originally posted by Geovani

Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]
You did post far too much Ralph and you certainly was NOT as interesting !!

With just 71 posts in a little over two years you're hardly bursting with "interesting" posts.[:D]


However the last time he posted on one of my posts he said the opposite and was complimentary...

http://www.maggotdrowning.com/forum/topic.asp?whichpage=0.55&TOPIC_ID=188969#1945563

Ralph [;)]
 

Geovani

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Originally posted by DFL

Originally posted by Geovani

Originally posted by Fishplate 42

Originally posted by woodbutcher

Sorry but ZZZZZZ

I Agree. And I thought I used to post too much...

Ralph [;)]
You did post far too much Ralph and you certainly was NOT as interesting !!

With just 71 posts in a little over two years you're hardly bursting with "interesting" posts.[:D]
I suppose the ODD post out of 2600 + Ralph had to contain something interesting eventually ????
 

Wise Owl

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Started reading the next thing i know is our Gert nudging me asking if id had a hard day and did i want the bath running [}:)][;)]
 
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