Bread upon the water
By Tom Brown
We weren't actually supposed to be there but we discovered a hole in the fence you could get your bicycle in through too or lifted over the fence. The farmer let us be we weren't doing any harm. There was pasture and cows peacefully grazing. Summer is the best for fishing and also spring. Short flexible rods for the river and coffee-grinder reels and light nylon line.
A river, more of a stream really. A place of getting away from the madness at home. To tell the truth, many times we came home empty handed.
The river has really big carp some are incredibly strong you need sea gut for the branches and roots but they still break loose. Unbelievable. They actually do see you they hear you too and they can smell cigarette smoke on your bait.
Many small silver yellow fish some seasons and sometimes the odd blue kurper they look a lot like carp, and others and lots of barbers big ones too. It's like a kind of catfish. Incredibly tough, strong.
W caught mudfish as well. He caught all kinds of things like snakes birds scorpions spiders and more. W was a bit smaller than us and a loner. He made extremely high pressure air pellet guns which had the striking force of a .22 rifle.
Usually it was JP, V and myself and sometimes the odd other friend, W or maybe L, V's older brother or maybe but seldom others. Once we played truant like hooligans for a few days there by the river it wasn't such a good idea burning our textbooks and throwing stones under the bridge bouncing along with hollow sounds.
Once by that concrete highway bridge when we got there very early morning someone chucked a loaf of white bread in the water for whatever reason. Those big carp came like a pack of sharks ripped that bread to pieces and within a minute or two it was devoured. An incredible sight.
There is a technique of catching monster carp with floating bread crusts the big carp can't resist them. These methods we actually only discovered later on. Finding a very secluded spot at first you just throw in just a few small pieces just to see. They are extremely secretive these big ones. In a quiet spot there between the branches and large tree roots, you wait your own piece with a hook also floating be very patient and very still. Slowly they come up again and slurp sucking in the crusts. When one takes yours it's hell to pay.
Occasionally there was a steamtrain. The hook was taken and the line under water pulled upstream at a terrific speed not even slowing down just straight on and the line just tight and snapped with impunity.
There are too many crabs the nasty little bastards. Some guys cooked the ones we caught in the small coffee fire on the river bank. You suck out the bits of meat it's very little but apparently quite tasty. They grab the hook with your bread bait on and pull it along very slowly under the water. Crabs are a nuisance sometimes they even cut your line. These crabs eat anything you can imagine even tin foil. Paper. Plastic. Mushrooms, wild mulberries, mud. Name it.
Highveld thunderstorms build up very quickly we were caught a few times running home with the rod in one hand and your bag in the other home arriving sopping wet at home. Fishing in the rain you set your rod and line up and shelter near and wait like under the bridge or so. It feels like they bite better when it rains well they don't mind getting wet!
It is very romantic many times on my own fishing when it rained. Just always missing, wishing and longing for a companion, a girl friend. Didn't know just how lucky I was! I loved fishing in the rain and I loved walking in the rain, in a way I felt I became part of nature, part of creation again. It made me feel happy it cleansed me I found an inner peace.