Me and the family like to spend as much time as possible on board our boat ‘Shanakee’ in the Norfolk broads.
Whilst there, we like to spend much of our time fishing.
I use the word ‘fishing’ lightly as ‘fishing’ suggests that we actually catch fish, where as in most cases we just sit there ‘drowning maggots’
Anyway, during our last trip we moored up in a secluded spot along side a skinny island just off of the main river.
As soon as we had walked the hounds, out came the ridiculously large tackle boxes, full of stuff we have no idea how to use and set our selves up for an afternoon of ‘maggot drowning’
My wife and youngest son Rhys took their place upon the ships bow while I found a secret little spot on the other side of the island amongst the trees.
I was sure I would catch a river salmon there.
Previous visitors had torn down the orange safety fencing erected by the broads authority and built make shift fishing platforms on the bank from logs.
Being amongst the trees did make casting difficult, I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend half of my time untangling my hook from the limbs of the surrounding trees.
As I sat there in the wilderness awaiting for the salmon to bite, I noticed how tranquil my surroundings were.
The only thing audible apart from the soft breeze was the sound of my maggots drowning and the cheers of my family on the other side of the island as they reeled in a couple shoal of fish.
So as they made phone calls to all the large supermarket chains in a bid to sell their hauls of whitebait, langastines and red snapper, I remained in my secret snug awaiting the bite of the century.
I’m sure the whole ‘catching fish’ thing was all very exciting for them but back in my snug, things were far more entertaining.
More entertaining because my bait box was in fact a holding tank for thousands of the finest gladiator maggots the land had to offer.
Inside the box they vigorously practiced their wriggles and told boastful stories about their previous victories.
They trained hard whilst awaiting their turn in the colossium only feet below the surface of the river.
One maggot, ‘Maximus Maggotus Meridius’ had survived my hook 4 times.
Each time I had a bite and reeled in, there he was, wriggling with such determination and vigour.
This was a very exciting time for all of us because as every fisherman / gladiator owner knows, if a gladiator survives 5 battles in a row, he wins his freedom.
As I cast him back in to the bloody arena, I could hear the raucous applause and cheers from the other maggots in the holding tank and as he was sent plummeting through the air into his possible death, I’m sure I heard him roar.
After several minutes of vicious breath holding, I felt a sharp tug on my line so I struck quickly and reeled in to see if he had become the victor….
But the fish had had it away with half of his body so he just stopped wriggling and died.
The other gladiators stopped cheering and went back to their training.
I went back to the boat to eat some olives.