I went boat fishing at Thornton a couple of months ago and have been waiting to post about the days experience for an age all about fishing with my oldest brother Mark. I didn't feel it was appropriate at the time so I hung fire until the right time.
Some months ago our Mark was given the tragic news of being terminally ill with cancer and he rapidly became weak and began to struggle especially with the tumours beginning in his heart, bottom line he was short of breath, fatigued and very weak. When visiting him he asked if I could take him fishing once again and who could refuse spending a last days fishing with not only a brother of the angle,but a brother.
Moving on swiftly we arrived at Thornton Reservoir, a venue we'd both fished together but this time under very different circumstances. Assisting him onto the pontoon we made our way to the boat where we decided the best approach was to sit him on the edge of the pontoon while I climbed into the boat with a mind to pull him into the boat safely.
I'm pleased to say nobody drowned and the idea kind of worked, but i should add how we both nearly wet ourselves laughing waltzing around that boat, and one thing about our Mark was his brilliant sense of humour and infectious laughter, you know the kind, once you start you can't stop.
We eventually began fishing and as usual we had a laugh, taking the mickey out of each other, completely forgetting this was our last chance saloon for a days fishing together. To be honest we didn't get a pull all morning so I began to worry a little, understandibly I sooooooooo needed a succesful day for my brother. While rocking about I heard a shout from the boat behind, Daryl and Ady two REF lads who'd also coincidentally booked a boat today, they'd also struggled a little. I shouted were going back to the lodge for a teabreak and began rowing like Steve Redgrave to get back in the warm sap. Suddenly both oars sprang from the horrocks sending me flying back off my plank smashing the back of my head on the plank seat at the front of the boat, knocking myself out momenterilly. I came around struggling for breath, terribly winded from landing on the anchor on the bottom of the boat. I was seeing stars when I realised Mark standing up in an attempt to help me which to be honest made it impossible to stop my head spinning. I shouted "for fuc* sake sit down your spinning me out" I slowly crawled back onto my boat seat to realise Mark wetting himself and true to form we both belly laughed until we cried.
After gathering our thoughts I went to row back and realised both oars had floated away during my dying fly impression - bollo***. After the initial panic I rang Daryl and explained our predicament and after he stopped laughing he explained he'd pick us up in a few minutes and share lunchbreak at the lodge with us.
We both sat drifting aimlessly along for a while when we heard a tapping on the boat and after leaning over the side to my astonishment, both oars were pushed up against the boat, I didn't even have to leave my seat to grab them, just reach out and pull em back in the boat. Talk about suprise, I couldn't believe it, bloody miracle sprang to mind but I decided to play it down to be sensitive to my brother and his condition - spooky though. I cancelled the rescue party and tentatively rowed us back to the lodge were Daryl and Ady were waiting to laugh at my war wounds.
To my amazement things carried on when Daryl and Mark knowingly grabbed each other "how you doing" said Mark. It turns out our Mark was Daryl's manager at Boots for years and they were good friends before Daryl eventually moved on. Well the day was getting stranger by the minute as they both caught up as we all had a few laughs over some hot chocolate and sandwiches. This teaming up raised Marks spirits adding to the enjoyment of the day for him, so all we needed now were the trout to appear.
We all had a good chin wag before heading out together for round 2 where I tackled us both up with fast sinking lines and booby doo's. Instantly Marks rod bent over, followed by an amazing fight and. thank God! we were off the Mark. (pun)
The fish came fast and furious for Mark so I switched to the same booby but nothing happened for me. Mark carried on with a fish every cast, to the point the chaps in the boat behind shouted "what's he bloody using". I've never seen anything like this as Mark landed around 15 fish when nobody else caught. Eventually Mark admitted he was too tired and could'nt play another fish as I helped him with the last one.
We made our way back to the pontoon where Daryl and Ady were kindly waiting as they anticipated I'd need a hand getting my exhausted brother out of the boat. After a banter about Mark catching by the dozen I helped him in the car and while walking round the car Daryl turned to me and said "makes you think maybe there is a God" which took the words right out of my mouth.
Although frail, Mark explained it was the finest days fishing he'd ever had which was music to my ears as we drove home - job done.
Sadly Marks funeral was last week which is why I'm blogging today as I feel the time is right and for the record everytime I drop into a boat for a days fishing, no doubt he will join me at some point.
Rest in peace brother