The Drowners See Red

Dave Spence

MD virtual champion 2020. Golden Pie winner 2018.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental

Deep in the bowels of the Kremlin is a secret room, the door is solid oak, identifiable only by the discreet brass numbers, 42, screwed to the centre; this is the office where sensitive meetings are carried out. Behind the door, the walls are panelled with maple, there is a small table with six chairs arranged, three on each side. At the head of the table, and dominating the room is a massive, ornately carved, mahogany desk. This room was seldom mentioned and if it was, it was in hushed tones, rumours abounded about fewer people coming out than going in and there was also talk about screams being heard, late at night as some poor soul was being questioned.

Today the room contained only 4 men; behind the desk sat the president, Vladimir Putitin, and he stared icily at the three men in front of him. Ivan Ripaknackeroff, head of security, squirmed under the cold gaze of his leader; Ivan was a big, bear of a man with a black eye patch and a shiny steel hook in place of a left hand. The hand had been lost during a vicious fight in a Moscow brothel, the eye, and a testicle, had been lost during the first day he was fitted with the hook.

At the side of Ivan sat Leo Liarlotski, head of international propaganda, his job was to issue statements to counteract what was being stated in the western media in order to show Russia in a positive light. The third was Josef the mole Molevinich, chief of intelligence, nothing happened in the Kremlin without him knowing about it and he was always consulted by Leo before any statements were issued.

Our athletes are the laughing stock of the world said Vlad, his voice ominously low, attempted ban at the last Olympics, banned from the winter games. Do you have answers for me comrades he concluded, his voice becoming even more menacing.

We have doctors working on a new serum which is untraceable and hides our training methods replied the Mole nervously.

Timescale? snapped Mr Putitin.

Olympics 2020 stammered Josef, he knew this would cause a backlash and braced himself in readiness.

2020..2020 purred the president that is a long time to work in the salt mines comrade; could it not be sooner?

The Mole recognised the threat and hastily weighed up his options.
I will ensure it is completed within 3 months Comrade President

Good came the reply and next time comrade; make sure you give me the correct information straight away. There is always room for wives and children in the mines, was the chilling reply.

Leo cleared his throat nervously Comrade President he began In my job as propaganda minister, I make it my business to read as much as I can from the west

Go on replied Vlad

I think I have found an event where we could compete without any need for medicinal help

Continue urged Vlad, leaning forward slightly.

I have come across an online blog by someone named Neil of the Nene

And what does comrade Of the Nene say asked Ivan, absentmindedly scratching his chin with his hook.

He is in a fishing team called The Drennan Drowners and they are beating all competition in England, including their national team explained Leo we could challenge them to a competition here and we would not need any artificial stimulation

How do you compete at fishing? asked the president Is the winner the one who catches the tastiest fish?

No comrade, they have long sticks, called poles, which have line attached by a piece of elastic Leo explained, the others started to giggle.

They catch fish with their little hooks The giggling turned into laughter.

They keep them in a net and weigh them at the end The laughter increased.

Then they let them swim away

This last statement resulted in full blown hysteria, President Putitin was banging his head on the desk, The Mole had tears streaming down his face and Ivan had tipped over backwards getting his hook wedged in the back of Leos trousers and dragging him over with him. The whole scene was reminiscent of the Cadburys smash advert of the 70s. (available on you tube, I couldnt put the link in D.S.)

Once they had composed themselves, it was agreed that an invitation would be sent to the Drowners, via Neils blog, and news of the match would be distributed to the worlds media via Leos office.

Do our people have the sticks with elastic? asked Comrade Putitin.

I have a cousin in a place called Ingoldmells in England, a man by the name of Dodger Sergei; he lives in England as an illegal immigrant under an assumed name. He has made a fortune exploiting the capitalists greed and their insatiable desire to be seen to have the best. He deals in these sticks and all of the other equipment said the Mole I will tell him to send what we need.

Comrades said Vlad Do not fail in this. And with that he walked out leaving his three senior officers breathing a sigh of relief.

We just need to find 6 people who do this sort of fishing Stated Ivan

I know a village where they do this said Joseph confidently.

I will contact comrade Of the Nene said Leo.

And I will ring Dodger replied Joseph

The three men then went their separate ways.

I tell you Peter, it was not a wind-up stammered Neil into the phone.

Why would the Russian, minister of propaganda be challenging the Drowners asked Peter reasonably.

I dont know said Neil, but he sounded genuine

What did you tell him?

I gave him Pompous Gits number

Lets just wait and see then said Peter see you at Hallcroft tomorrow

Okay mate said Neil hanging up.

Meanwhile in a small office on the East coast of England a scruffy blond lad answered a telephone

Theres no one called Dodger here mate he exclaimed

The other man in the room started visibly at the name and he grabbed the phone off his employee;

Who are you after me duck he said brightly, whilst gesturing to the other lad to go and make some tea.

As soon as he had the office to himself he switched to Russian Why are you calling me here? he hissed, no one in this corrupt capitalist cesspit calls me Dodger.

I am sorry comrade replied Joseph I was not thinking

Go and wait fert tea to mash duck, then nip roundt corner and fetch some fig rolls. This was aimed at the young lad who had returned to the office while the kettle was boiling.

OK boss he replied.

When the door had closed behind him Dodger spoke, again in Russian;

Sorry about that comrade, I had to clear the office

What was that language you were speaking asked Josef

It is called Nottingham slang comrade, very tricky to learn

I will get to the point said Joseph, we are challenging the Drennan Drowners to a fishing competition and we need the sticks with elastic

You need Poles laughed Dodger

No comrade, we only need Poles to work in the salt mines; we need fishing sticks with elastic.

I know what you want Comrade, they are called Poles explained Dodger patiently.

I need six sets

300,000 Roubles stated Dodger; the capitalist, western, way immediately taking over when there was a sniff of a sale.

Whaaat exclaimed Joseph that is 6 months wages for the average worker

Look comrade said Dodger I have to be seen to be making a profit or my cover could be blown and I have no wish to return, the life is so easy here. Now; you have about 30 seconds to make your mind up before my assistant returns

We have a deal said Joseph resignedly

The door to the office opened as the young assistant came in with the fig rolls and 2 mugs of tea.

Okay me duck, I will get em int post said Dodger, reverting back to English before hanging up.

At the other end of the line Joseph stared at the dead telephone and wondered how he was going to explain the bill to president Putitin.

The following week saw the Drowners, once again, assembled around Peters kitchen table the only exception being Breac, who was still refusing to come back over the advertisers argument hed had with Red Leader. One other noticeable change was the layout of Peters kitchen table, in the centre was a decanter of single malt whisky and a dozen lead crystal tumblers and a big pot of, proper strength tea.

Since Peter and Neil had become fully sponsored they had been cleaning up all over the country, both had qualified for Fish O and had won several huge opens and, as they were sharing winnings had become very wealthy. The only thing that was preventing their call up for full international honours was their ongoing relationship with the Drowners. The two defeats and his personal humiliation at the hand of Trogg and Georgie Boy sat heavily with Mark Downes and he flatly refused to include Neil and Peter in his team unless they quit the Drowners; something neither of them would ever do.

Right lads said Pompous helping himself to a whisky I will get straight to the point; we have been challenged to fish against a team in Moscow

The Drowners looked at him in disbelief.

Is that an acronym for Boston asked Red Leader hopefully.

No replied Pomp, Moscow as in Russia

Bloody hell said Dave, pouring everyone a scotch, the fact that Peter didnt cringe was almost as surprising as the news that they had just received.

I doubted it myself continued PG so I contacted the Russian embassy and they confirmed it, an announcement will be released by the press tomorrow.

I didnt know they fished in Russia said Phoenixicus

Theyve got to eat said Wise Owl with an evil grin wheres the venue

The Moscow canal said Pomp we will be relying on your experience Grapp

GP57 squirmed under the pressure, and he desperately tried to recall the facts, in Benny Ashursts book, relating to canals. No problem he said with far more confidence than he felt.

When do we go asked Neil

Three weeks on Saturday replied Pomp.

They spent the next hour talking about Russia in general and debating whether to draft in extra help for Trogg and Georgie Boy as it was felt that the Russians would try some sort of skulduggery. It was decided, however, that the Drowners wrote the book on skulduggery, so Trogg and GB would be perfectly capable of managing on their own.

The following day the papers had gone mad, Drowners see Red proclaimed AT, East v West screamed the Anglers Mail. Even the tabloids had got hold of it and a picture of several redundant Darts Girls appeared; the girls posing with Pompous, Trogg and GB under the headline Weve ditched the darts in favour of the Drowners long poles. Wisey was furious that he had not been included in this picture and only Peter Drennans promise to get him a return on the chase placated him.

Over in a little village, on the outskirts of Moscow, six anglers met with Joseph the Mole to inspect their sticks with elastic which had been shipped over by Dodger Sergei. The poles were unwrapped and the anglers telescoped the sections through from the butt and attached the universal top twos. Unfortunately, as they were using the poles as telescopic, the 16 metres had been reduced to around 9 metres. The anglers, however, were delighted as these poles, even at 9 metres were longer and lighter than the bamboo ones they were currently using,

these are wonderful comrade said Vitas, the captain of the Russian team.

President Putitin has spared no expense comrade replied the Mole, thankfully.

An impromptu session, carried out on a small pond on the outskirts of the village, revealed the first problem. Jorg, Vitass deputy hooked a catfish of about 4lb, the elastic stretched out of the 9 metres of pole and there was no way that the fish could be reached with a landing net. The whole pole was hauled back and Jorg got hold of the elastic and yanked, unfortunately the hook pulled and the wire stem of the cork bobber he was using impaled itself firmly in his forehead, much to the amusement of his comrades.

It was decided, in the interests of safety; that their line should be tied direct to the end of the pole; that incident comprised the whole of their strategy, planning and practice and they put away their new gear in readiness for the match in two weeks time.

Back in England, however, the Drowners were getting as much practice as they could on the Northern canal circuit. Banded pellets and Corn had been swapped in favour of 20s, maggots and soft elastics. The older Drowners were loving it,

proper fooking fishing shouted WO to Carpmagic during practice on the Erewash canal in Long Eaton, CM looked boot-faced as he, once again, doubted his decision to join the Drowners and subsequently wave goodbye to an international career; he had to admit though, there was never a dull moment with WO around.

Trogg and GB had been fishing the practices and proved themselves to be very competent anglers, to the extent that Peter had asked them to fish in place of Red Leader and Phoenixicus who, by their own admission, were not natural canal anglers.

We cant fish said Trogg We are too busy looking after you lot.

We can take care of ourselves said Peter

So if some big Russians attack you, you will fight them off laughed Trogg

Fair point said Peter, and the matter was never raised again.

Saturday morning, the week before the match, the Drowners were sat in the departure lounge at Heathrow waiting to board their Aeroflot flight to Moscow. There was an excitement within the team and all talk was on what their reception would be like in the communist citadel.

I think we will be treated like royalty said Neil hopefully.

Doubt it said Trogg I think they will make us suffer all week to try and put us off

No way said Phoenixicus the communists are honourable, they believe in equality.

You should go to spec-savers mate said Red Leader and get the rose tint off your lenses.

I think we will be comfortable, no more said Pomp, taking off his Fedora and attracting gasps of admiration from several female passengers.

Their flight was called and, with the light hearted bantering continuing, the Drowners shuffled onto the plane in readiness for the three and a half hour flight to the Red Capital.

Bloody Hell exclaimed PG Ive just received a tweet from Donald Trump.

What does it say asked GP57

Good luck Drowners, tell Wise Owl to Fook it up em!! PS tell him that he is welcome in my country anytime, even with his record

Wow said WO, USA here we come

God help em said GB.

As they made their way to their seats a beautiful stewardess made a bee line for CarpMagic, let me elp you wiz your bag she purred seductively through bright red lips. We will be above a mile high soon she whispered I come back later? she said with a suggestive wink.

If you like stammered CM, who was not used to female attention.

By lad youre in there said Red Leader with a touch of jealousy.

What do you mean? asked CM

You are going to join an exclusive club said Peter

Do they have their own waters? said CM hopefully.

Therell be no shortage of wetness said WO howling with laughter.

Half an hour later, with the plane cruising at 30,000 feet, the stewardess appeared at CMs side; I ave ze problem at the back, could you elp me pleeze?

She led CM by the hand to the back of the plane.
The other Drowners looked at each other incredulously,

the lucky so and so said Peter.

Its a good job she didnt ask me said Neil.

Why is that? asked Trogg.

A refusal might offend replied Neil

You would not refuse

I would, I am faithful to my Wife

Only cos youve not packed your Viagra snorted WO

So uncouth muttered Neil

The interchange was interrupted by the return of CM, some 40 minutes later, his hair was dishevelled, his string vest was over the top of his shirt and his George label underpants were sticking out of the back pocket of his jeans.

By god said GP57 a man barely alive

We can rebuild him continued Phoenixicus.

The Drowners collapsed in hysterical laughter.

Well done lad spluttered WO now youve got the cellophane off, it will be sore for a couple of days but at least now you know what it is for

I think Im in love said CM dreamily; he now knew he had made the right decision when he had sacrificed England for the Drowners.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and they landed, in bright sunshine, at Sheremetyevo airport. They collected their gear and made their way through customs. Trogg, who was delayed with a broken strap on his suitcase, was a few minutes behind the others; as he entered the customs hall he was surprised to see Neil in an altercation with 4 uniformed customs officers.

It is a laptop containing my blog he heard Neil explaining to one of the officers.

What is blog? snarled the officer.

It is where I give people advice stated Neil

So it is propaganda replied the officer

No said Neil it is advice and useful tips

In Russia we do not give tips, I must confiscate this said the officer snatching Neils laptop out of his hands.

Neil tried to grab it back but the officer back-handed him, sending him crashing into Peter, the Drowners all looked on as Trogg calmly walked up to the officer, mine he stated, grabbing the laptop and passing it back to Neil. The officer made a grab for Trogg, but was sent flying through the air landing amongst a stack of suitcase trolleys; then all hell broke loose.

The officer picked himself up and he, along with his 3 colleagues launched themselves on the Drennan security man; 30 seconds later the 4 customs men were lying on the floor. One sat choking with a bruised larynx, one was sprawled against a post with his leg twisted at an unnatural angle, one was unconscious and the other was doubled over, trying to breathe through cracked ribs. The whole altercation had lasted less than 30 seconds, oh fook whispered all the Drowners as one.

Stop said a voice like a bag of shovels.

Trogg whirled around and came face to face with a big man who had a shiny steel hook in place of a left hand and a black leather eye patch and he was accompanied by 6 armed guards. Trogg was a hard man but he knew he was no match for the 6 AK 47s trained on his chest. He raised his hands, two of the men came forward and led him outside to a waiting car with blacked out windows; the car sped off leaving the Drowners standing in stunned silence.

Welcome the Drennan Drowners boomed Ivan Ripaknackeroff, as if nothing had happened.

Thank you, I am Pompous Git said Pomp stepping forward where is our security man being taken

Dont worry boomed Ivan he will be ok and he picked PG off the floor in a huge bear hug.

Without the muscle Georgie suddenly felt very vulnerable and he huddled behind Wise Owls legs as they followed Ivan out to a waiting van; their gear being loaded into an armoured troop carrier that followed behind.

Fifteen minutes later and the Drowners were ensconced into a small, but comfortable, hotel and PG immediately called a meeting in his room. They had not spoken on the journey through the city, they were still in a state of shock, but now they all started voicing their concerns.

what will happen to him, like Leeds on a Saturday fooking night, good job I didnt join in, it would have been a massacre; the last comment, from Phoenix, stunned everyone into silence.

Peter was the first to find his voice Dont be a Pratt Phoenix he snapped what could you have done?

Bled all over em scoffed WO; the seriousness of the situation stymied the usual laughter that this comment would normally have caused.

What do we do Pomp asked Red Leader

Not sure Dave he replied I suppose I had better call the Embassy

They will never find him stated Neil, this is the sort of thing that you hear on the news; we will probably never see him again
This last statement caused GB to burst into tears and he sat on PGs bed hugging him-self and rocking back and forth.

Why the long faces asked Trogg as he walked into the room sporting a huge grin.

TROGGY!! screamed GB launching himself at his friend and wrapping his arms and legs round him in a full blown tree frog hug.

Steady mate said Trogg peeling GBs arms and legs away before gently lowering him to the floor, Im ok

Did they rough you up? asked Phoenix excitedly did you get some rubber truncheon?

Why would that happen asked Trogg

You were arrested by the KGB said GP57 what else would we think

I wasnt arrested replied Trogg and he went on to tell them that he had been taken to the Kremlin where he had met with President Putitin and been offered a job as deputy to Ivan Ripaknackeroff the chief of Kremlin security. He said anyone that could take out 4 of his customs men in less than a minute would be a valuable asset.

Money was good he added 4000 a week and a suite in the Kremlin, with jobs for Tank and Dian thrown in

You do realise that 4000 Roubles is about 50 quid said Neil, pressing buttons on his laptop.

Youre joking exclaimed the big fella the chiselling crook; Id better tell him that Ive changed my mind

The others looked at him in horror; you werent seriously considering it said GB tears welling up again.

Course not little buddy lied Trogg, tousling GBs head affectionately.

Right then said PG I suggest we find out where they have put our gear and we check it over before dinner

A quick call to reception revealed that their tackle was being stored in the basement and the team were welcome to go and check. The basement of the hotel was huge and along one wall were seven cubicles each containing an individual set of tackle; 6 anglers plus one reserve. The cubicles also contained a workbench complete with magnifying light and a professional looking hook tyer.
The Drowners set about checking their gear and making spare rigs, Georgie Boy, who had been inspecting one of the cubicles, gestured over to Trogg there is a camera in each cubicle he whispered.

Trogg nodded and went over to WO; putting his finger over his lips to stop Wisey from speaking he took off the cap, emblazoned with 2 crossed machetes and the caption No Fooking Prisoners, that WO was wearing and hung it over the tiny lens that was partially hidden in the panelling of the cubicle. In silence, the rest of the team followed suit and hung their headgear over the lenses; in a room in the Kremlin, 7 screens went blank. Ivan cursed under his breath,

Dont worry said Leo we didnt know what we were looking for anyway

Two hours later, gear checked and accounted for, the Drowners trudged into the dining room and young Russian waitresses came forward with bowls of a reddish coloured soup

What is this said Neil, who was trying to adopt a healthy diet.

Borscht replied the waitress Beetroot soup

Hey its not bad exclaimed Dave

Quite flavoursome agreed PG

It is a national dish of Russia said Phoenixicus it started out during the revolution he began to pontificate.

Shut the fook up and just eat it snarled WO.

The main course consisted of Chicken cooked with mini beetroots, accompanied by beetroot mash and pickled beetroot puree.

I could murder a kebab said Dave

Shhh said Peter they will bring you beetroots on a skewer

The one thing that they all agreed on, however, was the quality; and quantity of the vodka. As soon as their glasses were empty a beautiful waitress appeared and gave them a refill.

This is the life exclaimed CarpMagic; patting a passing waitress on the bottom. Since his escapade with the stewardess he had become far more confident and was actually trying to chat up the waitresses.

PG took him to one side, look lad he started I am not going to tell you how to live your life, but I will give you some advice. Dont mess with the local lasses, you dont know who they are and you could find yourself taken away, just like Trogg but without a happy ending.

Okay replied CM I will wait till I get home to practice my new skills

Good lad said PG relieved that he didnt have to worry about an international incident.

When dinner was finally finished the Drowners floated up to their rooms, on a cloud of high octane vodka fumes and settled down for the night.

The next morning they assembled around the breakfast table, nursing an assortment of hangovers, the only exception being Neil, who had drank very little and was still in his room working on his blog.

What would you like for breakfast smiled the waitress

Ten Nurofen please groaned Grappenall57. Each added Peter, who was not used to drinking.

Would you like the full English? asked the waitress

Now youre talking said GB Full English all round please

Okay, help yourselves to drinks she said indicating large

pitchers of water, Orange and Cranberry; as well as tall pots of tea and coffee.

Neil arrived, lap top under his arm, and, pouring himself a glass of water took a long draught, he immediately started to choke, his eyes watered and he dropped his laptop onto the floor.

Aaaaarrrggh he exclaimed what is it

The other Drowners, who had already tried the water, collapsed into hysterical laughter.

Its vodka mate explained Peter they serve it at every meal.

What sort of heathen place serves alcohol at breakfast sniffed Neil, retrieving his laptop from the floor.

I think its quite civilised said Trogg taking a big swallow from the pint glass he was holding.

Yeah but youre an animal scoffed Phoenixicus

Can I eat him Georgie?

No mate; not yet, wait until after the match

Ill look forward to it said Trogg

Phoenixicus paled under the look that Trogg cast him and he knew in his heart of hearts that he hadnt heard the last of this exchange.

Have you seen the news headlines asked Neil opening his laptop, fortunately unharmed, after being dropped.

Disgraceful Drowners led the headline in the Daily Mirror under the headline was a picture of Trogg holding a customs officer above his head. The story went on to state that Trogg had attacked the customs officers without any provocation and it quoted a statement from the Kremlin alleging that the officer had been attacked for merely taking an interest in Neil of the Nenes blog. The statement continued , As usual, the communist government are the epitome of reason and we realise that the English visitors were stressed due to their long journey and the matter is now closed; there will be no formal charges against the Drowners security man.

But that is total lies wailed Phoenixicus

Cant be said Red Leader the communists are honourable

Smart ass sniffed Phoenix.

Neil, can I get a copy of that picture please? asked Trogg

Certainly replied Neil

It will look good on my CV

Neil sighed realising then, just how far removed his old world of high finance was, compared to the younger generation of today.

Can I have one as well piped up GB

The rest of the team looked at him suspiciously and GB pulled his sleeve down to hide the TROGG & GB BFF tattoo on the inside of his forearm. I just want a memento of the event he said unconvincingly.

After breakfast the team were taken to a large lake for a practice session,

I thought we were on a canal asked Peter

We are replied Pompous

Dont look like it

I will make a call

A big black sedan pulled up at that moment and Ivan, Leo, Joseph and Vitas got out.

Good morning comrade Drowners he boomed is everything to your satisfaction?

I thought that the match was on the Moscow canal said PG in reply

It is

Why are we here then?

There is more fish in the lake

But we need to practice on the venue

Ivan looked puzzled why? he asked

We need to sort out a method explained PG starting to become exasperated

But you fish competitions regularly; do you not know your method yet?

All venues are different

Ivan gave a great bellow of laughter Vitas he shouted. The Russian team captain came forward and Ivan introduced him to Pomp, the two men shook hands.

Vitas asked Ivan how often do you practice fishing

I dont understand comrade Vitas replied we fish, we catch fish, we dont need to practice

See said Ivan, as though everything was explained.

PG took Vitas to one side.

How many different places do you fish

Just the pond in the village

What do you catch?

Catfish

Do you always fish the same way PG was starting to understand.

Yes, I have used same line, hook and bobber for ten years said Vitas proudly.

Good lord exclaimed PG what breaking strain line is it
What is breaking strain?

How strong is it

Very strong; 10 years and it has never broken.

PG shook his head and turned back to the Drowners; this could be dangerous lads

Why asked CarpMagic nervously

Because it looks as though this team has no clue about competition angling, and you know what that means

We are going to wipe the floor with them said GP57

Exactly continued PG and if that happens I fear for our safety

Right said Wisey I suggest that CM fishes the match and leave me to run the bank

Why asked Peter

WO looked a little embarrassed, his moderator training had produced a vein of reason through his psyche and he was still getting used to it. As you know, I have spent the last couple of months going over to Poland to coach their national squad

And? asked Red Leader

I think that I should coach the Russians over the next couple of days and help them on the day as I run the bank, they are not going to beat us, even with the coaching, but it will be a little closer and at least it should help cement East West relations
The Drowners were gobsmacked, they had never heard WO speak like this; Neil was the first to regain his composure. He walked up to Wisey, put his arms around him and said That is a wonderful gesture, welcome to the human race

Fook off yer pouf! snarled Wisey

And hes straight back observed Phoenixicus.

It was agreed that WO had come up with a good plan and PG had a huddle with the three Kremlin staff and Vitas.

Okay lads he said We are practicing here until Wednesday, then, on Thursday we fish the actual venue, rest day on Friday and the match on Saturday

Wisey then told Vitas to bring his team the next morning and he would supervise a practice session for them. The four Russians said goodbye and took their leave.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying wonderful sport on the lake, all methods seemed to produce a variety of silvers, from bleak to decent roach and CM, elated with his inclusion, showed them all the way home, by catching a great net of bream on the feeder.

Well it was a great days pleasure fishing said GP57 but weve learned nothing about the match.

The rest all agreed as they boarded the van to go back to the hotel.

The next day they all assembled on the banks of the lake again, the idea being to fish the feeder under the watchful eye of CM. The general consensus was that if they couldnt practice for the match they could at least hone some of their skills.

Heres the opposition observed Wise Owl as a large coach drew up. The Drowners looked on in amazement as 6 families disembarked; the Russians had all brought their wives and children and, judging by the food hampers and assorted deck chairs and blankets, they intended to make it a party with a picnic.

The Drowners introduced themselves and the Russian wives produced numerous bottles of vodka which the men insisted on having several toasts with the esteemed English anglers.

Im seeing three tips moaned Peter.

Strike at the middle one advised RL.

Im going to die before Saturday, at this rate moaned Neil

Ill fish for you if you do mate said GB helpfully.

Owly was watching the Russian team in amazement as they, once again, telescoped their new poles and tied their lines direct to the top kits.

He gathered them all together and demonstrated, using Vitass pole, how to set up correctly. The look on the Russian anglers faces was a picture; they had thought the new poles were good at 9 metres but when WO showed them how to assemble them at 16 metres they were ecstatic.

Wisey, as he would not be fishing the match, gave all of his rigs to the opposition and showed them how to use them; the language barrier appearing to not be a problem and the Russians were soon hooking fish, unshipping and landing them like proper anglers.
What the hell are these shouted Phoenixicus pointing at two, radio controlled Drones that appeared hovering in front of the Drowners.

Bloody spy cameras snarled Trogg. He snatched up Peters landing net and deftly caught the leading drone; unfortunately, it lifted itself up, pulling the net out of Troggs hands and crashing into the bushes on an island about 30 yards out into the lake.

My net!! wailed Peter I dont have a spare

His protestations were cut short by the other drone exploding into a ball of flame and dropping into the water. Wise owl put away his Black Widow with a satisfied grin.

What is that smell asked RL as a delicious aroma of cooking wafted over to them.

The wives are cooking the fish that have been caught said WO taking a bite out of a huge sandwich that he was holding.

Whats that asked RL, the thought of free food making him salivate.

Bleak said WO surprisingly tasty

You animal said Dave, horrified.

Not at all replied WO Ive never had a problem with Eastern Europeans taking fish for the table

RL was speechless, his mouth hung open as he struggled to get his head around WO last statement and when Peter walked up with a bream kebab, he thought he had lost it completely. Not you as well he stammered.

When in Rome and all that said Peter Here, Ive brought you one he continued handing a sandwich to his best mate.

Red Leader looked at the sandwich in his hand, he lifted it tentatively to his lips and took a bite; the most delicious flavour assailed his taste buds and he rolled his eyes in ecstasy, oh my god he groaned Ive never tasted anything like this.

Yes I think we have all sold our souls to the devil this morning said PG.

The practice session eventually evolved into a fully-fledged party, Jorg got out a Balalaika and strummed some traditional Russian folk songs and they; East and West, sang along happily, brought together by this wonderful sport of angling. There was a strong sense of camaraderie emerging and the two teams were bonding like a single unit. When Olga, Vitass 5 year old daughter came running up, a WO crossed machetes cap on top of her golden curls, and said Daddies caught a big fooker; the friendship was sealed and everyone dissolved into laughter, although Wise Owl had the good grace to look sheepish.

We will forget the practice session tomorrow and wait until we can get on the actual venue on Thursday said PG

Good idea said Peter we should be able to walk the banks tomorrow, even if we cant practice

With man hugs all-round, the party broke up and the Drowners boarded the van to go back to the hotel.

The next day, Wednesday, whilst the Drowners were walking the banks of the Moscow canal; Trogg was inside the Kremlin looking for Ivan, with the intention of declining the job offer and he was hopelessly lost. He had entered the building unchallenged as all the staff thought that he was already Mr Ripaknackeroffs number 2 so no one dared question his presence. He walked along a corridor and came to a door with the number 42 screwed to the panels. He was about to knock when he heard voices from inside; what he heard made his blood boil and he retraced his steps, found the entrance and went in search of Georgie Boy.

The other Drowners were walking the banks of the Moscow canal, very wide and featureless, the Drowners were learning nothing, no fish were topping and it was obvious from the uniformity of the bankside vegetation that it was seldom, if ever, fished.

This is a waste of time said Peter to PG we may as well go and work on our rigs

Hang on said WO Peter, go and distract the guards As soon as the Drowners had asked for permission to see the venue, although readily granted, they had been told that under no circumstances must they break water and they had been assigned 2 armed guards; for their own protection, assured Leo Liarlotski.

Peter, Phoenixicus, red Leader and PG went and engaged the guards in conversation, English cigarettes were handed out and the guards produced the inevitable flasks of vodka. Wisey, CarpMagic and GP57 stealthily knelt down against the waters edge. WO produced a spool of line with a 2oz plummet and a sliding locking bead. We can at least check the depth he muttered.

The lead was, surreptitiously swung out, and WO fed the line through his fingers.

As it is a canal, it will probably be a consistent depth offered CM

Youre right mate replied GP57 we should only have to check this one spot.

Wisey retrieved the line and they all gave a low whistle of amazement

Thats about 25 feet said Wisey.

Back to the drawing Board with the rigs said Neil.

They joined the others and accepted a gulp from the guards flasks.

After they had explained to Peter and PG what they had discovered; they agreed that they would be better off going back to the hotel and building some extra depth rigs.

The next day they had their first, and only, practice session. The work they had done the day before saved them an awful lot of time and they set about tackling their 24 feet deep swims with huge 5 gram floats and maggot hook baits. It soon became apparent that there were very few fish in evidence, only GP57 was catching with any consistency and he was putting together a string of microscopic roach using a pinkie skin on a 26 hook in conjunction with a ball of groundbait stuffed with dry crumb and a stone. His reasoning was that the stone would get it down quickly and the dry crumb would expand, causing the ball to explode into a series of small particles at the bottom of his swim. The other thing he was doing was fishing 25 feet to hand with a length of powergum instead of elastic.

PG ordered all the team to congregate around GP57 and learn the method

I can see why you were selected now mate said Neil do you mind if I explain this method on my blog?

Not at all replied GP57

Where are Georgie and Trogg asked CM

They said they had some security business to attend to said PG they will meet us at dinner

Both teams were scheduled to attend a gala dinner, in President Putitins private suite, that night.

Be careful warned PG if they are going to try and nobble us it will be tonight

Yeah said Wisey to CM keep it in yer pants

CM blushed scarlet I dont know what you mean he said shyly.

That night all of the Drowners, resplendent in their Drennan blazers, walked into the dining suite, oh my god whispered Red Leader; long tables were arranged around the walls whole roasted hogs, sheep, and chickens were on spits waiting to be carved. On the centre table huge platters of vegetables and the inevitable assortments of beetroot were arranged.

Their Russian friends were already seated and light hearted banter abounded as the Drowners took their seats.

Suddenly, everyone got to their feet, the door opened and Vladimir Putitin made his appearance, the serving girls got to work, meat was carved and set in front of the guests and they helped themselves to the veg. Everyone was having a wonderful time and when Vlad got to his feet and shouted comrades, a presidential toast The extra special Vodka was produced and everyone charged their glasses.

The Party toasted the President and everyone drained their glasses.

Oh my goodness choked Neil that is strong

It is the Presidential vodka explained Jorg who was sitting next to him; very, very pure and extra strength.

PG got to his feet, he had taken off his fedora and the serving girls had all swooned at his glorious locks, several of them leaving their contact details, on little cards, with him. PG raised his glass

To good sportsmanship he declared. Once again everyone drained their glasses.

The room quietened as Wisey got unsteadily to his feet and raised his glass.

Fook em he shouted; everyone stared at Vlad. The President looked at WO for a long second and then let out a bellow of laughter fook em he replied and everyone drained their glasses; much to the relief of the rest of the Drowners.

The party broke up just after midnight and the Drowners dragged themselves, wearily, back to their hotel. They were all unanimous that it had been a belter of a night and Dave was even more delighted as he had found a tray of Pork Pies, on one of the tables and he had several in a doggy bag clutched in his hand.

The next day was scheduled as a rest day and the Drowners had arranged to visit their opponents village. The door to PGs suite swung open and the man himself, stood in the doorway, his suit hung immaculately off his slim frame, his Fedora was at a jaunty angle and he sniffed the fresh carnation in his buttonhole. As he walked out of his room he gave a little hop and clicked his heels together, in Eric and Ernie style. Behind him six of the serving girls lay in various states of exhaustion around his room, one was muttering dreamily, such a long pole she sighed before drifting off back to sleep.

The Drowners enjoyed a wonderful day at the village; they once again ate freshwater fish, drank vodka and exchanged gifts with the locals. Peter, nice man that he was, insisted on giving the Russian team a set of the deep rigs, powergum, elastic and groundbait and instructions on how to use them. Trogg and GB were, once again, conspicuous by their absence.

The morning of the match dawned and the Drowners looked in amazement at the canal; a huge grandstand had been erected on the far bank and several thousand Russians were seated and eagerly awaiting the competition. A giant screen had been erected and banks of television cameras were set up behind each peg to catch the finer points of the action; Jesus muttered CM it makes Lindholme look amateurish

A van pulled up and Trogg and GB, who had been acting very secretively for the last two days, ran over and removed 6 large parcels. Gather round lads said Georgie, opening the packages.
What the hell are these asked Dave looking at the 6 new boxes that had been revealed. The boxes were the size of the old shakey boxes but had a hole cut in the lid with a rubber ring attached around the hole, the logo on the side proclaimed The Drennan Dumpster

Is this a joke asked PG

Youve been nobbled explained Trogg I overheard Ivan and Putitin discussing it in the Kremlin he explained. The actual participants had their drinks spiked, on Thursday night, with a slow release drug. It will take effect at 10:00am today and last for 5 hours

The exact time of the match gasped Peter

Exactly said Trogg and after 5 hours there will be no trace of it in your system

Genius said Neil

What will it do? asked GP57

You will have the shytes like you have never known said Trogg hence the new box; you do not need to get up and can fish without being interrupted

At least it wont affect me said WO Im running the bank

I never told them about the change admitted PG so Wisey has been nobbled and will be fishing and CM will run the bank.

Theres one other thing said Trogg with a grin and he handed a smaller package to each of his team mates.

I am not wearing this said Neil holding up a large Russian skirt.

Then you will be up on the big screen with your trousers down said WO busily slipping on his skirt and removing his trousers and pants. Its quite comfortable

The rest of the team followed suit and started to tackle up; CarpMagic was kept busy helping the individuals to set up as they were reluctant to move about too much due to their commando status.

Look at the grandstand said Trogg to PG.

PG looked over and saw that their friends from the village were all sat in the centre wearing Neenies grease their bristles T shirts and Fook em caps.

Not a totally partisan crowd agreed PG.

The whistle sounded and almost on cue 6 wet pharts rang out and a series of squelches and splats could be heard right over to the grandstand; it was a tremendous tribute to the scientific expertise of the communists that they were able to get the timing so spot on.

Suddenly the crowd erupted into laughter as a huge picture of Peters face, mid heave, flashed up on the big screen.

Wise Owl was in his element my turds are pink he shouted must be all the fooking beetroot

The crowd responded magnificently and started chanting

fooking beetroot, fooking beetroot as they cheered on their new comrades.

Why are they cheering for them? asked President Putitin.

His three trusted officers hung their heads; they just did not have an answer.

Your plan is not working snarled Vlad they are catching more fish

With that he got to his feet my office 9:00am tomorrow he snapped as he left.

The Russians were catching fish, courtesy of the rigs supplied by the Drowners but their inexperience was showing and they were no match for the seasoned opposition.

GP57 was showing everyone how to do it; with a fish a chuck and he had amassed about 10lb going into the last hour.

Vitas on the next peg was fishing his heart out but lacked the speed and technique of GP57. His float dipped and the pole hooped over as a big fish took the powergum to the limit of its elasticity. Vitas hung on grimly, following the fish and keeping the pole over its head; as WO had shown him.

CM shouted Pomp go and help him he ordered.

CarpMagic ran over to Vitas and gently talked him through, how to add and subtract sections dependent upon how the fish was running.

Are you using the 26 hook he asked

No comrade, I changed to a bigger one and a big bait to try and catch a big fooker Vitas admitted.

CM laughed, it was obvious that the Russians thought that a fooker was a type of fish.

With five minutes to go a huge cheer went up as Vitas slipped the net under a double figure catfish, the cheer; as big as it was, was nothing like the cheer that went up from the Drowners with regard to both volume and heartfeltedness, they were delighted that their friend had come good.

The final whistle sounded and, like someone had turned a tap, the pharts and squelches ceased as the Drowners miraculously got better.

The team had been asked to provide a cd of the national anthem so that it could be played at the presentations. Trogg, who had found a music shop whilst searching for the skirts, surreptitiously removed the cd from the PA system and replaced it with one from his pocket.

After the weigh in, top weight had gone to GP57 with Vitas, courtesy of his catfish, taking the silver medal. The Drowners had easily won the team event but that was overlooked in the light of the Russians getting an angler on the podium.

GP57 stood on the top step, gold medal round his neck and tears of pride in his eyes.

Vitas, on the next step down was in a similar position but Wise Owl who had managed third spot got the largest cheer from the crowd, they had taken him to their hearts and chants of

supercoach, supercoach rang out.

The union flag was slowly raised and the PA announced, in Russian,

Please stand for the National Anthem of England

The music started and the gravelly tones of Johny Cash rang out.

And it burns, burns, burns; that ring of fire, that ring of fire.

The next day all of the Russians went to the airport to see off their friends and with much hugging and tears, the intrepid team went through to the departure lounge and collapsed onto the benches.

CM who was sat beside Trogg and GB looked uncomfortable and kept squirming in his seat.

Whats up mate asked Trogg

WO said my todger would be sore for a couple of days he explained, but it is still killing me and when I pee it is like passing razor blades

See the doctor when you get back, you will be ok

Trogg sat back, a thoughtful expression on his face.

They all trudged onto the plane and the same stewardess winked at CM, you ready for seconds she asked.

Trogg stopped to speak to her, no one noticed the slight nod of the head towards Phoenixicus, but they all saw the two index fingers spread about 14 inches apart. To an onlooker it looked like Trogg was describing a fish he had caught, but the stewardess caught her breath and looked longingly at Phoenix.

Half an hour later, with the plane once again at 30,000 feet the stewardess walked straight by CM and stopped at the side of Phoenixicus

I ave problem in zee back, could you elp me pleaz.

As she led him by the hand Trogg muttered to himself thatll teach you to call me an animal
 

Trogg

the bouncer
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Brilliant once again..

Dave (redleader), remember ziptrevs diarys?...you need to set Daves stories up like that
 

Trogg

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My youngest has just sat and read this...she was giggling like mad and now...now i've got to find the others for her to read!

Looks like you've got a new fan mate [:D]
 

Trogg

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Just added this to the other 3 episodes and made the whole thread a "sticky" [:D]
 

Scribe

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Fantastic read Dave, thanks for putting the huge effort in to write it.[:T] I dare'nt ask how many versions/re-writes you went through before your finished.

It was lucky none of the MD'ers needed medical attention from Dr Nokabollokov ! [:D]
 

Peter

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Top writing yet again Dave, bloody fantastic read.[:T]
 

Dave

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I'll tell you one thing Dave, if there was a MD's medal for story writing you'd be right up there on the podium - absolutely fantastic read and I could almost sense being there [:D][:T]

The detail alone and characters takes some beating, as for humour content - I've not laughed so much for a while [^]
 

Grappenall 57

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The tears of pride in my eyes are real! All those hours of gruellers on the north west canals, all that time spent reading "Match Fishing with Benny Ashurst" (even breeding sour bran specials) finally came good! Well done to the proud MD Drennan lads for this! (superb read many thanks Dave!).
 

Wise Owl

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Originally posted by Grappenall 57

The tears of pride in my eyes are real! All those hours of gruellers on the north west canals, all that time spent reading "Match Fishing with Benny Ashurst" (even breeding sour bran specials) finally came good! Well done to the proud MD Drennan lads for this! (superb read many thanks Dave!).


Shut the *****k up yer Poooooof [;)][:p]
 

Dave Spence

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Originally posted by Trogg

My youngest has just sat and read this...she was giggling like mad and now...now i've got to find the others for her to read!

Looks like you've got a new fan mate [:D]

I will see if I can write her in to the next one mate [:T][:T][:T][:T]
 

emmaemma

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Great tale Dave. I thought the team would of been feted at No.10 on their return..... [:D]
 
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