Tickled

Contributed by Donald Walker (copyright)

July 1960 brings to mind a tale. My wife and I were newly married and decided to have a day in the country visiting a farm. I used to go to this farm as a boy with my father to collect holly. My father was a florist. At Christmas time we made holly wreaths, all the hedgerows on this farm abounded with holly. We took a picnic with us and spent our time wandering around the fields and coppices. There were plenty of things to see, rabbits, pheasants, grouse, a field mouse, we even saw an owl.

Eventually we came to a little stream, so we decided to follow its course and see where it went. There were plenty of deep holes along its course, and in one of them we saw a flash and a swirl. I couldn't believe that it was a large fish in such a small stream. We sat down quietly and waited, after a short time the fish reappeared. What to do? I didn't have my fishing rod with me. My wife came up with an idea, she had heard that you could tickle fish, sort of lull them into a trance, then grab them. I'll have a go at that I said, and so I sneaked up to the pool where the fish was sunning itself, but the fish saw me and moved off at great speed. I saw where it went this time, under an overhanging bank. I worked my way round the pool so I was right over where the fish was hiding. I rolled my sleeve up and lay on my stomach, and slowly I eased my hand into the water. Suddenly I touched it! The fish dashed off, so I didn't move I just waited and hoped.

Five minutes later just as I was giving up hope the fish came into its hiding place. I felt a thrill of excitement surge through me as it touched my fingers. I moved along a little, yes there it was. I started to stroke it. Gently does it; I wondered how long I would have to do it so I thought I'd have a go at grabbing it, I counted to ten and made my grab and oh my goodness I had it in my hand, but it struggled and slipped through my fingers. Shame! or some words to that effect. It swam off somewhere so we thought we would go off and give the fish a chance to settle down, well we knew just where it lived and expected it would come back.

Half an hour later we were back at the pool and there was the fish, it disappeared straight to its hiding place. We were back in business! Same as before and I was soon stroking the fish. Gently gently longer than before. I was working it out in my mind just how 1 was going to do it this time. 15 minutes I stroked that fish, I'll bet it went to sleep. Grab! I had it! and I threw it up the bank. No mistakes this time. A fine trout, I took it to show the farmer who didn't believe I'd just caught it in his little stream.

Later at home we cooked that trout which weighed a pound and a half. The fish was a first for both my wife and myself. It was the first trout I'd caught that was big enough to take, and it was the first trout my wife had cooked.

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