Fresh Angles On The Lighter Side Of Fishing - Benjamin Pond - Longshoreman

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Fresh Angles On The Lighter Side Of Fishing

Published Articles

Times Herald Series, Week Ending November 7, 1970
By Benjamin Pond

There was always a funny side to fishing, there always will be. In earlier articles I have written of things which have happened at Throop beside the Stour in the days gone by. Now to relate a few amusing incidents.

As you may know, the extensive area now covered by Hurn Airport was, until 1941, a very renowned corn-growing bit of Old England, but with the coming of the war no more wheat was sown and much of this land which had comprised part of the late Earl of Malmesbury's estate became an important airfield.

Nerve Strain
Most types of planes came to Hurn at one time or another. Also glider pilots were trained here and towards the end of the war we had the American Marauder twin-engine bombers which crossed the English Channel, often twice daily, on bombing missions.
The pattern for taking off was for 18 to go at a time, not 12 as the RAF usually did.
Came a day when after a long series of intensive raids the MO came along and said; "My men's nerves are stretched to the limit. I can do no more for them, possibly a day by the river fishing might put things right?"
So we gave free fishing to any servicemen in uniform, also pensioners, and later to policemen as they helped combat poaching and damage to boats and river banks.

Brace Of Boots
One afternoon a GI came along, inquiring: "Can you put me on a spot where I might be able to land a brace?"
I took him up to the Bush Corner and later in the evening returned to see how he had fared.
As I reached him he was just winding up an old boot. Beside him on the bank was a second old boot.
Says he: "You're sure right, boss, I did manage to get a brace."
But some of those lads could tell a good tale. "Over there " they seem to have a marvellous way of catching fish.
They tie a small mirror just behind the bait. Along comes a fish. When it sees it's own reflection it thinks it is another fish and, believing in private enterprise, grabs the bait and so gets caught.

Coupons Ploy
During the war petrol rationing came in. You had to be doing some kind of work to get coupons, which resulted in several old gents joining our board, although they did not know a gudgeon from a grayling.
Reaching the mill one morning I was just about to go over to a poacher who was fishing during the close season. At that moment two cars containing these old gents arrived and they called me to them so I told them I was just about to remove the poacher.

Took Time Off
What do you think they said? "Oh he must be enjoying himself, it would be such a pity to tell him to leave."
I took the rest of the day off.
One day an angler told me he had caught a 9lb. bass from Mudeford Shore and lost a much bigger one, but I doubted this part of his story. Anyway I agreed to have a day out with him and a friend of his the following Friday.
Now although I had caught my first bass from Bournemouth Pier in 1909 and ought to know a bit about them, I started reading various articles about this fish. They all told me how easy it was to catch many and large bass.

Hopeless Day
So armed with this additional knowledge I met my two friends on the appointed day and we hastened to the shore, a little to the east of Mudeford.
Now as you may know, bass only search for food inshore when the sea is rough.
It could not have been a more hopeless day for bass fishing. The sea was flat and gin-clearand the heat from the sun was intense, so we had hung our lunchbags on a tree in the shade, just beyond the sand dunes.
Fours passed, not a fish to show for it.
So at last we decided to seek the shade of the tree where we had hung the lunchbags, to eat and drink.

Empty Bottles
Upon returning to the tree we had a rude shock.
There lay what remained of our posessions on the sand.
All the food had been consumed and the three bottles were emty -- yes, empty.
Climbing up a sandhill we saw a tramp rapidly running inland.
All three of us gave chase but it was hopeless. Have you ever tried a cross country race in thigh waders?
So on returning home we had to relate about the "One that Got Away".
Here is another incident. One morning I came upon two lads at the lower end of Farmer Seare's lower meadow; they were about to start to fish.

Ran For Life
I approached closer and asked to see their fishing permits, whereupon one lad ran for his life, me after him, for nearly a mile, right through Cooper Dean's fields.
Puffing like a steam engine, I at last caught up with him, He then produced a permit dated for that very day.
"Then why did you run away?" I blurted out.
"Cause my mate ain't got one," was his reply.
Slowly I made my way back. Two sedge-warblers were singing a duet and not far away a woodpecker gave a derisive laugh.

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