An incoming text brings me out of my slumber. The room is dark and there’s no sign of light in the slither of sky visible through the gap in the curtains. Two pieces of information immediately leap to the forefront of my mind: firstly my fellow bass blogger Si told me he was going fishing at 4am today and secondly he has full permission to call me should he catch a significant fish no mater what the time is. I haven’t a clue as to the hour, but with one ping I am as alert as a Meerkat on its mound!

I quickly slip out of bed and retrieve my phone from my trousers. The text is from Si and reads, “Let me know when you’re awake”

I tap back a double edged reply, “I am now …

Straight back comes, “Ok to phone?”

It’s now obvious Si’s either clinging to a rock, wanting to record his final thoughts for all the readers of this blog, or he’s caught a hog – given the politeness of the request the big fish option is strongly odds on. I reply and very soon my phone loudly rings. I take the call tripping on chair leg as I try and vacate the lightless room. “Si, Si, Si. Can you hear me?” but the reception is non-existent and the call is dropped. I get to the door but my wife is now (inexplicably) also awake and seems panicked by the unusual sight of a semi naked man hopping around in the shadows, holding a phone to his ear in one hand and his injured foot in the other. Siting up and looking somewhat disorientated she demands to know what the hell the matter is. Excitedly I tell her how I think Si might have caught a whopper and needs to talk.

“At 6 O’bloody clock in the morning!” she sighs, before mumbling something about thinking someone had had a serious accident, before rolling over and wrapping her pillow around her head. Although her lack of enthusiasm about my friends exciting events is somewhat hard to fathom, I can tell she’s only using the cushion to blot out my noise, and not to try and shield her from another reminder that unwittingly she married an obsessive bass angler.

At this point I realise it is just possible I neglected to mention I had previously given this fellow bass fanatic permission to call me any time, day or night, should a significant angling event occur. I sneak down stairs as silently as I can, believing avoiding any creaking of the floor boards will put things right, and she will drop straight back into the land of slumber and her forget this ever happened.

In the living room I ring Si. “You’ve caught another big one” I say, more as statement of fact than a question.

All I hear in reply is a long chuckle. Immediately I know I am right. Over the next 15 minutes he tells me how on a reef, under a bright moon, following (another) early start he’d failed to catch. It was only when he said to himself that things were so perfect surely he would catch a big one, that his lure was seized. The fight from the fish apparently was strong, yet not exceptionally impressive and had it slipped the hook at his feet he wouldn’t have been overly distraught. The realisation it was not “just” another 7 or 8 pounder and actually represented a seismic event (for him) came as he lifted the fish from the water. The scale of the event registered 13 pounds and 82cm on the BASS tape – a new personal best.

Si 13

A big angler with chunky hands but the bass still looks impressive!

As Si recounted his tale I detected a slight breathlessness to his voice. This is the result of adrenalin and other endorphins on an overstimulated angler and is a condition I’ve seen and heard in others (usually Si!) after big fish captures. It’s something we jokingly called “basshma”.

Si’s does not to my knowledge smoke yet I know he keeps a big cigar in his pocket to celebrate just in case of exceptional bass catches. He certainly invests a whole lot of time in his bass fishing throughout the whole of the year, but it certainly pays off. In fact given the frequency of his “Cuban“ moments, he’s in danger of developing a smoker’s cough in addition to his basshma.

I retreat to the bedroom. The cup of tea I’ve made the wife pacifies her briefly until I try and show her the video of the capture Si’s just sent through. Tomorrow I’ll be out fishing myself, hoping for an opportunity to call him back to announce my recent quest for an English double has concluded.

Blogger: Matt Spence

2 Comments
  1. Fish like this are the reward for the thousands of hours of thinking and fishing that have gone before to prepare us for such an event. Sharing with someone who appreciates the significance of the event is the icing on the cake. He’ll be buzzing for weeks Matt!

  2. Hahaha ! I almost feel guilty about causing the early-morning disturbance ….. almost :-).

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