• Agent 99

One Lump Or Two

Some fishy tales.


Week 1.


Tevant Fishery in East Keswick was the chosen venue. I`m keeping the session short as I have a guest, and my guest `ticks off` another one of my seasons goals as it`s my daughter; she has never been fishing before – apart from some `crabbing` when on holiday – and this is the last opportunity before her return to University, so we`re keeping it short, and hopefully sweet.

She wants to use a rod and line, so I set one up, demonstrate the casting process, and I`m not too surprised that she picks it up quite quickly. She chose sweet corn as hook bait - usually a `banker` here. Her face is a picture of concentration as she glares at the float. She must be serious , she even puts her phone away.

Well the sweetcorn finally does the trick, and the float goes under ( and stays there ) and the obligatory shout of “ Dad, I`ve got one” breaks the silence. I look up from tying my boot just in time to witness something silver fly into the long grass behind her.

I retrieve the fish from the foliage, it is a rudd. She marvels at it, and grins like the proverbial Cheshire Cat before we capture the moment for posterity, before she releases it. I offer advice on striking a little more gently.

Now that she is a veteran angler she baits her own hook – corn, or maggots, and then progresses to unhooking her own fish as she bags up on rudd. The smile on her face is ear to ear.

We run out of time - she has a social life to attend to ( I used to have one of those ) but she says she has enjoyed the fishing and would like to go again. I`ll get my diary.


A quick couple of hours after work. No barbel want to play.


Some tree cutting, and de-weeding.

I get a liberal coating of black, pond mud.

Home, shower.


The Doc and I head for the Nidd. We stop for a peek at the river and, from our vantage point on the bridge The Doc says it looks `spot on`. I buy a day-ticket as it’s a `Harrogate` stretch, and, after inspecting a few swims, we set up camp.

`Little and often` is the feeding mantra, and a good job for me that my swim is quite narrow, because I haven’t got a catapult – theres always one in my bag, where is it ? I am baffled.

I manage to feed by hand , and the chublet and dace oblige from the off – a small one of each in my first two trots. Constant feeding seems to be key, when I pause for a coffee, or need a pee, the fish drift away .

I find some bigger chublet and the occasional small dace, The Doc has caught some “ good dace, and then got f`kin piked”, so he has moved. I stay put, and catch more chublet on white maggots, and a stick float. I give it another hour and then relocate, keen to see more of this `new to me` bit of river. I find another swim, and fall flat on my backside getting in. I go onto my backside again ( the two showers have made the banks a little bit slippery ) putting in my keepnet. I don`t catch much in my second swim, I suspect my battle with gravity didn`t help. The Doc nets some nice dace in his swim, I catch a few small dace and chublet in mine. The heavens well and truly open, and it lashes it down for an hour solid. I slip and slide every which way as I pack up, but don`t give The Doctor the free laugh he`s hoping for as I avoid a final pratfall. Just.

Back home, I find my catapult in the ironing basket.

Week 2.


A final de-weeding session at the club ponds in Sicklinghall. We rig a chain between cars and haul the majority of the weed out in no time at all – one small rudd, and a handful of sticklebacks are the collateral damage . We leave reeking of mud.

Week 3.


Chainsaws at dusk – not one of Crabtrees dodgy movies, but the clinical operation to improve one of our pegs. Hopefully it wont need any TLC for a long time to come. We find the usual bits of litter but we also find plenty of angling debris. Shame on you, whoever the litter lout is.


The final episode in the moving of the big, lumps of concrete saga. A short episode for me.

I pull my back.


I try a couple of hours at GP. I travel light, minimum kit, armchair peg, ibuprofen, butler, room service etc.

I didn`t feed anything at all, just a hookbait.

My first eight trots produced two chublet and three minnows, I decided to park, and in went the keepnet. I caught some more chublet and a few small dace, Minnows began to feature. There were still chublet present but getting a maggot near them was down to sheer good fortune. I fished further out and found a few chublet. I had stopped feeding the `minnow line` and tried the odd cast along it – it gave me some chublet, some minnows, and my first grayling of the season.

I fed one line, and fished another. The backbreaker that is Shed 7 turned up. He parked.

“ f`kin ell, look at the fish ! they`re all on the f`kin surface”.

They were.

I caved in to the peer pressure and had a go at catching them, with little success.

I went back to fishing deeper and caught a few more, and I had the one that got away – a big grayling, I think, and it duly busted me.

A good day.

Week 4.


We`re getting adventurous. Trueman and I are trying a new venue, it`s a venue I have wanted to try for ages but had always been put off by negative reviews from other anglers. Hello, Willows Fishery on the A59, at Hessay.

Well, the negative reviews were correct, to an extent – the place is overgrown, and it would need a lot of TLC to reach its potential, but there are enough fishable swims to afford the angler some choice.

We chose adjacent swims, T had slightly more water to choose from, and it was slightly deeper, but I had a bed of rushes and lily pads from which I was hoping to lure a tench, and some open water.

Trueman caught three roach before I made my first cast, so at least there were fish around.

We caught loads of small silverfish and a rake of small carp, and I mean small – the smallest was a 3 ½ inch common, the largest was maybe two pounds in weight. I tried sweetcorn on the hook; this didn`t improve the stamp of fish it just involved a longer wait for the float to go under.

The owner arrived to take our money, and he seemed genuinely disappointed that we hadn`t caught any of the bigger carp, and he was somewhat confused that we weren`t upset about that. He also apologised about the lack of facilities - ` some carper trashed the bog.. he were drunk.. no he wasn`t, he were on`t wacky baccy`, so, if we needed a call of nature it would be executed in the style of a bear.

Fish of the day then turned up, and this time I caught it. It was no monster, maybe 5 lb at most, but it dove straight into the lillies, and needed some persistant pressure to prise it out, so I was quite pleased to finally land it.

Fish were caught all day long, the lake didn`t shut down for a siesta as some do, and we survived the wind, and constant shower of falling twigs and leaves. We said we would return, and then fish the other side of the lake. The toilet might be repaired by then.

Week 5.


September closes as it opened: a day at Tevant Fisheries, albeit with a change of fishing partner – I started the month fishing with my daughter ( part cherub, part Tasmanian devil ), and finished it fishing with Trueman ( part Milliband, part Paxman ). Both days were fine, and sunny.

There is some colour in the water, some fish are topping, and we are the only anglers there; it could be a good one.

Blimey ! that was a slow start.

A handful of roach in the first hour, Trueman catches the same in no time at all and then his swim stops. I move.

I catch roach and rudd, but no bream or carp.

I chuck out some bits of bread, and wait….. and wait…and wait no more. I go back onto maggots and catch more silvers, and then I hear the slurp. I lob out some bread and slowly pull it into the path of the cruising carp. It eats one piece, veers to the left a little and eats another piece and then heads for my bit. It opens its mouth, slurps in the bait, and, as I strike, it spits it back out. I curse my luck. That was the nearest I got to catching a big fish.

I go back to maggots and casters. I introduce some more groundbait and fire in some casters, I reach for my coffee, take a mouthful, spit it out; its got lumps in it – two casters. As I grimace the float goes under and I catch another small roach.

The wind has shifted, so I move again. I catch more roach and rudd, and a small perch. Trueman is catching some silvers himself.

The day is drawing to an end and, when two other noisy anglers arrive we quickly tire of listening to their phone calls, observations on the world, and opinions of their workmates ( not at all flattering ), so we pack up and head home.

We caught plenty of fish, but nothing that put a decent bend in our rods. In fact, the only time I used my landing net was to try to retrieve my lost float. A pleasant day, but not great fishing.

But better than a day at work.

An enjoyable month of fishing, for the most part.

No monsters were netted, but I caught a few silvers. I fished some new waters, and I managed to get my daughter fishing – target achieved !

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