Meeting with old friends - by Dean Aston
Since I was 15 years old in the mid-80s, I always had a thing about eels. While the carp fishing boom was starting, I started fishing for eels. I joined the B.E.AC. (British Eel Anglers Club) and went on their fish-ins at Westwood Park with the club. I got to spend a night between John Sidley and Mick Bowles - now that was a night! I can remember Sidley turning up on his bike, no brolly or bed chair,and then he spent the night sitting on a log stump all night, while I made him 20 cups of tea.
I caught a few eels; nothing big with 2lb and low 3lb being the norm caught. I carried on fishing for eels but always seemed to struggle for years; but I wouldn’t let the blanks put me off as I would love to do an eel over 4lb. I know I was on the correct waters;it was just catching them.
I carried on fishing for eels up to 1994 and remember fishing GaileyReservoir and having a p.b. of 3lb 10oz, but had over 30 blanks. While my mates were out up town drinking, I was sitting on a chair holding my brolly thinking, “I’m not enjoying this. “ I packed eel fishing in;in factI packed up fishing all together.
A good few years had passed by without fishing; then I got a bit of the bug back and fancied doing a bit of barbel fishing. I started to enjoy my fishing again; joining a few clubs which offer good barbel fishing. It was one of these clubs I joined that had an estate lake that had done a few good eels in the past, but no night fishing is allowed. They have the odd eel night, with one of these nights coming up.
It’s been 15 years since the last time I fished for eels but I fancied just a night on there. To be fair my rods were not up to the job; just my flood-water barbel rods I use. But I was not fussed if I caught or not- it would just great to be out there fishing for eel and night fishing as well, as it had been so long.
While on this eel night, I had a bit of a walk around to see where I was going to fish for the night. In the distance, I spotted a chubby lad in a bright pink t-shirt (my kind of lad already….. it’s a long story). I got talking to him and found out I used to fish the same waters as him, and his brother Mark, years ago -same club as well. He introduced himself as Nick Duffy,and knew who I was as he had seen me at Westwood Park years earlier. There was also another lad who came over.
“Alright, Dean! How you going, mate?”
I’m the worst person ever with names, but I knew his face. His name was Ade; long time no see. I got talking about the N.A.C, and a few months after that I joined. I went to the AGM and winter social, and even Nick Rose remembered my face so I felt at home straight away.
My! My!How have things changed since I eel fished last on a dyson rig and Barry rollovers to name a few!My p.b. had stood for so long, and having a few trips with Duffy (something always happened) I was hoping to break this. Casting out my baitsready for the night, I was wondering if it maybe my turn tonight to do a p.b.Just a 4lb that’s all I wanted.
Alarms went off, a firm strike made.Would I make contact or would it be another missed run?I had a nice bend in the rod;yep, this feels a good eel.Duffy came down with his net so I knew it was a good eel. A few hair-raising moments and the eel was in the net. Scales out and ready.
“Ok, Nick. How big?”
“Dead on 4lb, mate! Well done!”
That made my season and blanks worthwhile,plus I did it with my old friend-which made it better.
Since then I bettered my p.b. to 4lb 1oz this season, and now I’m enjoying my eel fishing again thanks to meeting up with old friends.