Something terrible happens to me in an Auction. I suddenly develop Auction Tourette Syndrome; my arm uncontrollably shoots up and before my shouting brain can gain the upper hand, I’ve bought some casting lessons, a giant hamper, rose bushes or a book on Pheasants.  In this case, I’d triumphantly “won” a day fishing for two rods on the River Lambourn.

River Lambourn, brown trout, trout fishing, grayling, River Kennet, Chalkstream fishing, Aardvark McLeod

Braced for the mocking in the office that inevitably follows an Auction, I’d arrived with a reasoned argument; in ten years of working together and of being business partners, Peter and I had never actually fished together.  A day on the Lambourn was going to put that to rights.

I’d provided the fishing; Peter had to provide the picnic and I’d stipulated that bubbles – and not of the H2O variety – had to be included. 

Having arrived and set up, we gathered all that was necessary for the day and set off.  In our excitement, we were early to the river; far, far too early so we found a decent spot for the cool box and settled down for a coffee and a debate on flies. Unearthing the bubbles while searching for the milk, I asked Peter what time he needed to head off to do the school run. As he said 4.00, we both looked at the bottle and realised there was no way we could do it justice at lunch time as we would both then be driving home. We decided to have it for breakfast instead; we had many hours by the river before we had to head home so, we popped the cork and settled down to enjoy watching the mist clear off the water and the river wake up.   

River Lambourn, brown trout, trout fishing, grayling, River Kennet, Chalkstream fishing, Aardvark McLeod

Time to fish; bottle duly dispatched and the cake eaten, I was dealing with the double whammy of alcohol and a diabetic sugar rush. Never a good combination. When you add in my inherent clumsiness and ability to get into trouble by water, chances of a smoothly running day were slim.

Watching Peter’s fly drift down, the warmth of the sun behind us, a swirl of water and grunt of triumph meant he had a fish on and my netting skills were required.  “Are you sure you can manage” he politely asked?  Huffily, I replied that of course I could, took one step forward and promptly sank up to the knee on my leading leg. With net now hopelessly tangled, I was incapable of moving as I was laughing so much; one leg stuck in the bank to the knee and the other uselessly splayed behind me; a pose for a piscatorial Degas. Amidst the laughter, Peter landed and released his fish. I freed my leg. The two of us sat there, trying to gather ourselves before moving on.

I was still giggling too much to fish so Peter once again cast and we watched the fly drift down. Pick up, cast again and repeat, we worked our way slowly up the beat until once again, a swirl and an exclamation of triumph. Once again, I grabbed the net, Peter looking dubiously at me as I surged forward. This time, I thought, I’ll spread the weight and keep both feet in line.  I sank to both knees and just folded backwards – I was suddenly looking at sky, net still extended and unable to move for laughing.  Again, Peter landed his fish, released it to a background cacophony of my laughter.  Eventually released, I was filthy, soaking wet and hadn’t touched a rod and yet, it was perfect.

Deciding to dry out, I suggested Peter carry on fishing and jokingly said we should see if my luck ran in threes.  At the next swirl and grunt, determined not to be done out of being useful, I cautiously moved forward to untangle the net and, to both of our surprise, kept my footing and stayed upright.  Smiling in triumph at Peter, I was a bit taken aback by his look of horror until I realised something was dripping off my chin.  In my haste to help, I’d cut my chin twice on the sharp edges of a reed. I managed to bleed all over his waders and mine; I looked like I’d stepped out of a Tarantino movie.

River Lambourn, brown trout, trout fishing, grayling, River Kennet, Chalkstream fishing, Aardvark McLeod

Coffee finally on board, blood wash away and order resorted, I took my rod and we were back on the water. We both landed some lovely fish that day, not many but given the amount of laughter, that was hardly surprising.  Almost out of time, Peter had packed up and suggested one last cast towards a small rock, letting the fly drift round behind. A tiny swirl, a small shadow and I had a final beautiful Lambourn trout to end off a perfect day.

Like most, we work hard, we work long days and we very, very rarely get to spend time together outside the office. Given the chaos of the day, that’s probably not altogether a bad thing but it was a precious day, full of laughter and of fun and more memorable because of it.  That lovely Lambourn trout was representative of so much that was, and remains, good in life. Writing this down has had me laughing out loud at the memories, no bad thing in these uncertain times.

Until we can once more get back on the water, do stay safe and stay home.

If you would like more information please contact Charlotte Chilcott or Peter McLeod or call us on ++44 1980 847389. Alternatively click HERE if you would like us to contact you.

River Lambourn, brown trout, trout fishing, grayling, River Kennet, Chalkstream fishing, Aardvark McLeod
Yup, Peter McLeod stuck in a tree