I have attained a Zen calm. A state of mind which is no mind.
This could be because I'm following in Dave's footsteps and cutting down on the old café, or, the explanation I prefer, the reaction of a superior intellect to a time of potential stress.
It's just that I really, really want this job. It would be great, and I think I'd be good at it.
Went fishing again yesterday, just to calm Keith down a bit as he was chomping at the bit a touch because I was still none the wiser about the job. I, of course, was fine. Keith doubled his catch of 1 from the other day, catching an astonishing two fish in the first half hour that we were there. I caught 9 over the day, including the biggest fish I've ever caught. Skip to the next bold heading if not at all interested.
There are three lakes where we go to fish, arranged on terraces down a slope which is the bottom of a valley. Yesterday was bright but cold, and the wind was blowing a hooligan right up the valley.
The top lake is a mixture of sizes and species of fish, and that's where Keith and I go normally. The middle lake is generally newer stock, so although you catch more there, they're generally small enough to be lifted out of the water on the end of the line without needing a net. The bottom lake has weeds around the edge in lots of places, is the deepest, least fished, and least stocked. The fish are the biggest, but also the oldest and subsequently the most caught - they're pretty wise to what's going on. At least, that's how it was when I went at the age of thirteen.
After catching three in the top lake, and all of a sudden it turning really, really cold, I thought that it wouldn't do any harm going and sitting on the bottom lake for a while. Standing right at the lowest point of the fishery, I had the wind behind me, so I cast right out into the middle of the pond - where the biggies are meant to be - with no trouble at all.
I was standing there for about an hour, and started feeling really stupid. I hadn't seen anyone fish the bottom lake all summer, and didn't even know if there were any fish in there. It was difficult to know if the fish were off their food, or off on their holidays. Nothing. Normally you can see fishsign - trails on the surface of the water, a little skipper of a fish jumping somewhere, but there was nothing. It was as boring as you can imagine standing next to some water holding a stick could be.
Then my float started moving downwards very slowly. Normally fish have a couple of nibbles, which cause the float to bob quickly, and then bugger off with the bait entirely, which drags the float under completely in a jerk. My float continued to drop slowly, almost imperceptibly, towards the surface of the water, taking about a minute to drop five centimetres. I pulled the line, and nothing. No bait, either. This crafty 'Artful Dodger' style nicking of my bait went on for the best part of half an hour, me feeling like some kind of public service fishfeeding wallah. Eventually I just left it as the float sank, then, when I hadn't seen anything of it for about ten minutes, the line zipped off the reel and the line left a trail in the water to the other side of the lake. It flew to the other side of the lake, then made a beeline straight for me, all the time staying deep, and moving fast. I was struggling.
If you've ever had the misfortune to be wound up by an uncle or other mischievous person when on an aeroplane at an early age, you'll know the fear that comes from looking out of the window and seeing the wings bouncing around in a none-too-inspiring manner. the uncle would have said that they were about to fall off, or that they shouldn't flap like that. They're meant to, and even the most gullible child will realise that after three of the four hours trip to Mallorca, the wings aren't going to drop off anymore. Materials are great. They can do the most amazing things, even if they look like they're not meant to. Flapping wings is one. Bending fishing rods is another.
With the amount of weight this fish was putting on the line, and the amount of effort I was putting in not to join him in the lake, you'd expect the rod to bend. I made the mistake of looking up at it during the fight. The rod was bent round over 180 in about two foot of it's length. Normal things shouldn't do that. I thought it was going to snap any second and started shouting at Keith to get his arse over to me with the landing net.
The first thing I saw of the fish was it's mouth, gaping upwards with yellowing lips and barbels sticking out below, as long as my index finger. Then, in a 'Free Willy' stylee, it flipped over and the full length of the fish broke the surface in a smooth arc. It took some time.
It took five minutes to land the fish, despite it trying to get me tangled in the weeds, get me bored/tired/in the lake by running the length of the lake, and eventually giving up. It weighed in at just over seven and a half pounds, and had the biggest beer belly I've ever seen on a fish.
This is a bloody long-winded story, but I've been after catching a really big fish at those ponds since I was about twelve. It made me happy.
I had a couple of reasonable story ideas yesterday, so I might draft out one.
Take care y'all.