We have two lakes at Coombe Mill, a top lake stocked with young coarse fish where children often first try their hand at fishing or pond dipping and a lower lake with mature carp for the more serious fisherman.
It us usually the Dad’s who retreat for a quiet hour by the lake at dusk while Mum prepares tea or puts the children to bed. However last October a group of our regular guests enjoyed some family fishing time on the main lake and invited Guy to join them as he had teamed up playing with their children during the week.
It wasn’t long before Guy picked up the fishing bug spurred on by the odd triumphant catch. He had been shown how to carefully bring the fish to land with a landing net and how to remove the hook from inside its mouth. The whole process just makes me shudder, I don’t even like gutting the trout they catch in the river after they are dead, to deal with a gasping live fish is beyond me and Farmer Nick is not much better. However Guy was quite un-phased by the whole process and delighted in a team photo whenever they caught a fish.
I feared that once the friends left his love of fishing would go with them. I’ve been pleasantly delighted to watch his enthusiasm grow. It is quite common for him to pick up a rod and take himself off on a spare hour at the weekend or even after school when he just needs a little fresh air after a long school day cooped up. So many times he will come back and say “I caught a fish Mum” so when some Spanish children wanted to learn to fish over the New Year holidays it was Guy who took them. They had a lovely time, if little patience for sitting there and they left Guy a lovely present and note when their holiday ended. I think Guy was happy just to have their company.
This week I decided to follow him out with my camera and just see if these fish he claims to catch alone were real or not. To make it harder he was trying his luck in the top lake. He was perfectly happy in the solitude of the farm; there was only the sound of the wildlife and the river as we are currently closed to visitors until February half term.
I caught up with him in the late afternoon light and to be honest there wasn’t a sign of a fish in sight, no ripples nearby, only the ducks crossing the lake and Guy sat with his twinkl flask of tea and his latest book though how he doesn’t feel the cold I really do not know.
Then out of nowhere just as I was checking the bottom lake for him when I heard him call me. Running back I could see him reeling in his line. I followed his instructions to grab the landing net for him and watched with pride as he manoeuvred the fish and dug deep into the back of its throat where the hook had inconveniently attached. It was so far back I thought we might lose the fish but my calm and collected son managed to release it by nudging it backwards into the throat so the carp by reflex could then spit it forward and out.
It was a fine catch and Guy was only too happy to have his photo taken before carefully returning it to the landing net to release gently back into the lake. A flick of the tail and he was out of sight.
If you are coming to visit us this year, don’t forget to ask Guy about learning to fish. We have rods free to hire for adults and children and the most beautiful scenery to enjoy.
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“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.