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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Fishing 2.



Picture the scene, a hot summer’s afternoon with the African veld stretching away in the distance. Behind us the red dirt road winding up the mountain, and in front of us a small stream,  flowing between reeds and rushes. The stream itself was only about one metre wide at its widest, flowing into a pool about five metres wide and about 15 metres long. Most of the pool was surrounded by reeds, except for an open spot nearest the road.

My mother had packed a picnic basket and the family made them selves comfortable under a shady thorn tree. One very happy small boy though, was preparing to fish. I attached the reel, threaded the line through the guides, attached a float, a hook and put on a few worms. (All this I might add with my dad’s help).

I walked to the edge of the pool and cast, float, hook, and bait a short distance.  Then I sat down to wait for a bite. For all my nagging to fish there I had my doubts as to whether such a small piece of water could actually hold any fish.

The surface of the water was as smooth as glass, and the float just sat there. I really started to think that there weren’t any fish, when suddenly the float was pulled under. My heart almost stopped, and I struck with more force than was necessary. There was no finesse in the way I played the fish. My only thought was to get it out before it got off the hook. After a short tussle,  I pulled out a Tilapia of about half a pound. A giant of a fish for me.

My excitement and happiness knew no bounds, I literally shouted for joy. It wasn’t just that I had caught a fish, but also that there could be fish in such an insignificant piece of water.

That was the only fish that I caught that afternoon, and I never nagged to fish there again.


This happened more than 50 years ago, but I remember it as if it happened yesterday. The scene, the emotions, all indelibly etched in my memory. Nowadays I never drive past a piece of water without thinking what fish it might hold, and the memory of that long ago afternoon returns to me. 

4 comments:

e.m.b. said...

Lovely, lovely story. I think it is necessary in adulthood, to have these times to go back to.

Gorges Smythe said...

Nice memory! I remember as a teenager, finding a tiny pool of water in the middle of nowhere and stopping by with my flyrod to catch and release the lone bluegill that lived in it, when I felt a bit devilish.

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautiful story, Phillip. The strength of the memory comes through and I could imagine it with you, even though I've never been to Africa.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Jo said...

Hi Phil, when you mentioned the family picnicking under in the shade of a thorn tree, the memory came back to me. Amazing the way you remembered everything about that fishing spot! Love and blessings Jo