Sabina And The Curse Of The Culm

I know it’s all my fault. Laziness is not a disease; just a state of mind and as minds go mine is pretty static- unless it’s full of thoughts which are absolutely useless to me or anyone…

I go back to the end of last season- March 14th. I finished work and threw the creel and a couple of rods into the van and headed for the Hele stretch of the Culm. The weather was warm and a few chub even allowed themselves to be fooled by my lurching float and graced my net. No problem so far. The long walk back to the van was periodically broken with stops to note some likely gudgeon swims on the leat and to watch a couple of crows give a buzzard a hard time on their way back to their evening roost. The pasty I had bought to fortify me was waiting on the passenger seat and it was this that I concentrated on whilst stowing away the tackle before sliding the door shut. I shall never forget the sickening snapping sound as the door smashed it’s way through the tip ring and the middle section ferrule of my Dawson’s “Sabina” rod. I once heard a similar sound when playing football for a local team. The visitors were short of a goalie and so their  fifty year plus linesman took his place between the sticks. After ten minutes he was in a collision with one of our forwards and a resounding “snap” echoed around the Otter valley. To see the chap calmy smoking a cigarette with his femur sticking out of his skin and happily telling everyone that “it was his own bloody stupid fault,” whilst waiting for the ambulance…i digress.

Staring at my beloved but now shattered Sabina, I was distraught, distraught to the point of losing my appetite. the pasty remained unopened and showed it’s displeasure by sliding around on the seat beside me, the plastic packaging making a hissing noise as if mocking me in my misfortune.

June 16th.. First day back on the river. The close season spent being driven mad by bass ignoring my lures and mullet, well, mullet just doing what they do- infuriate.

The Culm was bright and clear, the bankside full of colour, oh, and nettles filled with venom. I wandered happily along, armed with my other Sabina, Allcocks centrepin, and a pot of worms. The day was good, the fish were few, but natures distractions reminded me of why I go fishing in the first place. Solace.

As the crows headed back to the woods to roost, I had to have my last cast. The swim looked so inviting. A deep run between two weed beds, an ideal place to send a worm for a swim. A gentle flick of the wrist was all that was required. The cast was made, but instead of the “plopping” sound of quill hitting water, I heard nothing. All I could see was my float hanging from a willow branch and the worm dangling tantalisingly a couple of inches above the water.

The river here was quite narrow, infact I could have reached my float with my cane landing net handle and thus release it from it’s woody lair. But no; in my haste I simply pulled hard, the line tightened and I heard the snap as my float and baited hook flew past my face into the field behind…followed by the top four inches of the rod.

I need add no further.

Published by simon

Chief bookworm at Foxed Finds vintage store on Etsy and in situ at The Antique Village near Hele Devon. Traditional angler, terrible surfer and prone to bouts of unprovoked stupidity.

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