Well, ok not actually full of fish, but there's enough to keep us going for a while!
At 0645 this morning there was a knock at the door. 'Are you ready?' Just as well I was, Jimmy was 15 minutes early! I quickly put on my boots by the door being careful not to get mud on the carpet as they hadn't been cleaned and then off I went. Walking up the drive Jimmy said to me, 'where's your rod and reel?'
S**t! So back I go into the house to get them. Lets face it, I won't catch many fish without them!!! We stopped off at the petrol station for fuel, sandwiches, and in Jimmy's case Cigarettes then off we went. (Later in the day I was greeted by my wife on the mobile phone to tell me what a twit I am - I had been so careful not to wear my muddy boots in the house but then went back in for the rod without thinking and left a trail of mud for her to clear up! Whoops!)
We were the first to arrive at Elinor Trout lake near Thrapston in Northamptonshire which meant we could pick the best spot! A quick word in the right ear from Jimmy and I was allowed to fish on his ticket as it was my first time. Once we had the ticket we grabbed our rods and headed off to 'the Dam'. The wind was blowing straight into our faces and I don't mind admitting there was no chance I was going to be able to cast a fly against that wind!! So we carried on round to 'Pensioners point'. Jimmy showed me how to attach a fly (which went straight over my head, sorry Jimmy but you may have to show me that again next time!) So, we were set.. Lets fish!
Jimmy wasted no time in getting into the water up to his waist and showed how casting should be done! Meanwhile, I stood on the bank waving my rod around in the air and putting the fly on everything except for the water! I spent a lot of the first hour taking the hook out of my jacket and unwrapping the line from around my head. Frustrated much?!!! Eventually I started to relax and as I got into the swing of it was able to manage some ok-ish casts! (It really isn't as easy as it looks!)
It was neither I nor Jimmy that caught the first fish, but an old gentleman next to us. It wasn't long after that though when Jimmy had his first (of many) fish.
The old man that caught the first fish, who's name I unfortunately didn't get, was telling me that if I waded out I would get my fly an extra 10 feet or so away from the bank. It was then that he noticed I wasn't wearing waders, so, very kindly, he left his tackle on the bank and walked across the field back to his car and returned with his spare pair of waders for me to borrow. I was very grateful and was soon in the lake in between where Jimmy and the old man were catching fish - if they were catching fish either side of me then I must be able to catch something in the middle of them both!?
It wasn't long before Jimmy caught another fish and soon after I had my first on the line. A bit too exited and not doing as I had been taught the fish managed to get off the hook and swam away. What a horrible feeling! I was gutted! But I kept trying and eventually caught my first fish!! What an amazing feeling! That's it, I'm hooked so to speak! It wasn't as big as those that Jimmy was catching but it was my first fish and I was very proud!
A little later I hooked another but it managed to get away when it straightened the hook out!! Jimmy also lost a few. But by the end of the day I had caught one more and was happy with 2 fish on my first trip! I gave the waders back to the old man (and realised they had leaked and I now had a wet leg!) and thanked him for his kindness. He caught 7 fish in all but had released 2 so said he would try for one more before he went home. Sure enough he caught another in his last 10 minutes and I was amazed when, just before we went home, Jimmy had a last try and managed to catch 4 more in quick succession giving him a total of 12 caught and 4 that got away!
Out of the fish we caught we were allowed to keep 8 on the shared ticket and with Jimmy not eating fish, I had the pleasure of taking all 8 home and gutting them all!!!
So that's the story about how my freezer came to be full of fish!!
Jimmy if you read this, thank you very much indeed for 1, giving me a rod. 2, teaching me to cast. 3, taking me fishing today. and 4, letting me keep all the fish!!!