freeline-22 - Page 118

Made in England
with us one weekend. I remembered
him perfectly well so phoned him
straightaway. He is a lovely bloke and
we chatted for a while before he told
me of a monstrous eel he’d caught
after returning to Wraysbury this year,
and would I like a photo of it? I told
him no, I wanted a chapter about it!
As is the way with some people he
declared that he couldn’t write, had
never written etc.etc. But I’d read his
e-mail and I knew he could write, and
write he did. As with Catfish Barry’s
chapter in Horton about the pike, I felt
that Simon’s eel chapter (and Vijay’s
chapter about tench fishing) really
gives a much fuller picture of fishing
on Wraysbury – I think you’ll love it.
A few weeks prior to my chat with
Simon I’d had the best time you could
possibly imagine. Dave Moore’s chapter on the northerners going south in
the late eighties was a very important
chapter, but Dave was one of those
who was really under pressure with
work and hadn’t been able to commit
anything to paper, so when he told
me, at the end of July, that he just
Scott West just can’t stop catching
from Ashmead.
wouldn’t have the time, I could see
that chapter slipping away. But he
obviously wanted to do it because he
suggested I go up to see him and we
do a bit of fishing whilst chatting
about Wraysbury. That worked well
for me, and already I could see the
benefit of working for Freebird full
time. If I’d still been at Proteus that
would have meant a couple of days
holiday in the middle of August –
always a tricky time to take holidays.
But now, not only was I working, but I
was working with the rods out – this
just gets better and better! We spent a
night on a lovely lake in Peterborough
and although I caught nothing (and
Dave did) that wasn’t the point of the
trip. We chatted away about everything – Wraysbury, Darenth, marlin
fishing, marriage, coal mining disasters, bait making and bait make up,
Bill Cottam, Skiddy, Tim Paisley and
also the wealth of carp fishing that
surrounded the lake we were on.
Dave has a wealth of knowledge
about the carp and carp fishing north
of Watford, and it is certainly an eyeopener when he tells you what’s
about. Unrelated to Wraysbury, but
more related to the strange side of
angling, and life I suppose, he told me
a couple of eyebrow-raising stories.
The first concerned Benson, the Bluebell Lakes common. Earlier in its life it
had spent some time with another
fish, which was called Hedges, but
flooding meant that they were lost
from the lake they’d inhabited and
swept along down the Nene. Benson
ended up in Bluebell Lakes, but nothing was seen of Hedges. Then, a few
years later, a big common turned up
in another lake along the Nene Valley
and everybody assumed that it must
be Hedges and so it was left. Well,
when ‘Hedges’ was caught a few
years later, someone compared photos of the original fish and it transpired that it was a different fish, but
by then the name had stuck, so that
was that. Anyway, move forward a
decade or so and at the end of July
2009, Benson is found dead. Lovely
fish, very sad demise, etc etc. But then
a few days later news filters out that,
at the same time on another lake,
another big common was found dead.
Yep, Hedges. Found dead on exactly
the same day as Benson. Spooky?
Who knows, but quite a big coincidence, don’t you think?
In the same conversation Dave told
me of another strange coincidence.


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