My Name Was Mud

Contributed by Donald Walker (copyright)

This tale somewhat follows on from my Scottish holiday where I visited Crinan, because when I got back to work I told the lads of my fishing club, of the excellent fishing I'd had in the Crinan canal. The lads were duly impressed and as we were always looking for interesting venues to fish as a club, we penciled in a date to go. Based in Leeds it was some distance to go just to fish, so we decided to make a weekend of it. Setting off Friday and coming home Sunday. We used the works van for the trip. It was one of those Bedford Dormobiles, so that we could sleep in it and save on the expense.

So here we were in the Crinan area, parked in a pub car park. The landlord kindly agreed that we could spend the night there, and have use of the facilities free in return for much drinking at his bar. Well no problem there. As it was still light I took the lads down to the canal to view the fishing. It looked promising and all the lads were eager to make a start.

Next morning after breakfast we set ourselves up on the canal bank and on the whistle we started fishing. We were treating this like a match. By lunchtime not one of us had caught a fish, and there was an air of disbelief among the lads. My name was mud and two of them packed up and went off to find somewhere else to fish. The rest of us soldiered on until their return when we still had not caught a fish between us. This was bad. 250 miles to this place, and no fish caught! Well, the lads who had gone off looking, reported good news. They had been talking to a local fisherman in nearby Tarbert, a small fishing port on Loch Fyne, who had hired a small boat to them for the following day. This would be sea fishing but sounded good and a bit of a change from the usual.
There being not much left of the day, we retired to the pub, somewhat disappointed.

Down in Tarbert next morning we picked up our boat. Now I don't know a lot about boats, but when all five of us were sat in it, it seemed to me to be pretty low in the water. The boat owner reassured us and told us exactly where to fish. It was like a millpond, a warm and sunny day! We had a little outboard motor purring away, as we headed for the mark. We had to line a church steeple with a distant white house, and after an hour we decided we were on the spot. It was between two to three hundred feet deep and we were into fish straight away. In a very short time we had fifty fish in the bottom of the boat between us, Cod and Whiting mostly, with an odd Pollack or two. Looking over the side of the boat I saw what I thought was a huge shoal of fish just beneath us, so I brought my bait in amongst them and I caught a fish straight away, it was a Mackerel. I was shaking now, for the potential to catch a lot of fish was very real.

I shouted to the lads to change to feathered hooks and we got stuck in. I can honestly say that I have never caught as many fish in such a short session in my life, we were up to our knees in fish. We only stopped because someone noticed how dangerously low we were in the water. Time to go carefully back to the harbour and to lighten the load we gutted the fish all the way back. We had so many fish we didn't really know what we were going to do with them. Luckily we spotted some fish boxes floating in the harbour and retrieving five of them, we filled them to the top for transport home. What a fishing trip this had turned out to be! Mind you the journey home was awful with the strong smell of fish in the van. Of course we ended up giving most of the fish away to our neighbours. We were quite popular for a while.

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