More deja vu than Groundhog Day (barbel article, entry 172)

Because I tend to fish focused campaigns for both species and venue, it is a challenge to keep something fresh in each weekly article. For example, there are only so many times you can write that ‘I headed south on the M5 to fish the Lower Severn for barbel and upon arrival baited up the swim with seeds and a few loose boilies’. Well, that’s exactly what I did again this week, proving that my life has more déjà vu than the movie Groundhog Day.

With the Lower Severn being very temperamental, if possible I prefer to fish a two-night session. I feel this gives me maximum opportunity to get amongst the fish, as opposed to an evening here or an overnighter there. Of course it’s not always possible to have a block of time that allows you that privilege, but as I am in charge of my own work diary it is much easier to adjust time accordingly.

Outside of angling I am an ordained Minister and wear two hats. The one sees me as the Director of a Registered Charity that works mainly in Africa. I don’t take a salary from the organisation (SICM) and so don’t feel bad when I go fishing when other people are hard at work! My other position is as the Senior Leader of a Church. I do get paid for this but it is only part-time, so again I don’t get people on my back when I am out fishing instead of preaching.

But seriously I love the work that I do, and there is pretty much a harmonisation between SICM and Tipton Family Church so that there is no conflict between the two, and perhaps more importantly in context of this article, no hassle as far as my fishing is concerned. I may not get the financial rewards though that many positions carry (so think about that next time you envy me with the time I can devote to angling!) but I am contented and fulfilled and that’s what really counts.

Although that has more to do with an understanding and sympathetic wife as much as anything. And for anyone that may be interested, the links to the aforementioned organisations are as follows: SICM and Tipton Family Church

And if you live in the Tipton area and you perhaps have been thinking about going to Church but have never got round to it, then you will be most welcome. You will be surprised what knowledge the congregation has about angling as well. Even though none of them are fishermen, topics such as barbel regularly crop up in my Sunday sermons!

Anyway, the fishing! Well, by telling you a little about myself I have broken the déjà vu spell for a few paragraphs at least. Setting up by mid-afternoon I cast out, put the rods in the rest and settled back awaiting some action. But I had a long wait – in fact it was to be the start of the second night before I actually caught something. And that solitary barbel proved to be the one and only fish of the session. That’s more hours than I care to think about for just one fish. And multiply that by two, that’s even more rod hours.

But it could have been a different story as the second night I had a couple of runs that resulted in the hook not connecting properly, plus one fish that left me with the hook length breaking at the swivel. I check my tackle regularly and indeed had already caught a fish on that rig. Yet somehow it let me down just when I needed it not to. But sadly that is often the name of the game. Even though we analyse these things we can’t come up with an answer.

I packed away very early on the Saturday morning (while it was still dark) and was on my way back home where I had time for a quick shower before setting off again, this time for the football team that I run on a Saturday morning. I might be 45 this season but I’m still very active on the football pitch! And at this rate I could be the oldest active player in the country at some point!

(Originally published October 2006)

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