The fish weren't really interested, all the usual methods had so far
failed, time was getting on but at least it had stopped raining. Baz
flicked a long looping cast towards some willows on the opposite bank,
the float cocking upright, as three feet below the dead sprat hung
there like some bizarre mobile that Salvador Dali might have had
hanging over his cot as a child.
Alto-ego thought mobile Sprats with hooks and floats could be THE toy
next Christmas, a Surrealist baby Nursery, full of Surreal babies,
"Shit!"Baz grabbed the rod pulling up the tension on the line getting
into instant contact with the fish, who wanted line, so Baz eased off
the clutch as the fish ran into deeper water,"Phil"shouted Baz "Quick
man, I`ve got a fuckin monster on!"
Phil came running up the bank "Allrighty, Baz my man! "Shouted Phil
nodding his head in approval the Landing -Net cradled in his
The Pike was big, no mistake a damm site bigger than the one they'd
seen dead three years ago up by the two arch bridge, and that was
The fish had been on for ten minutes and was showing no sign of tiring,
every time Baz got a little line back the fish would run again .By now
a crowd of onlookers had gathered at a respectful distance behind the
anglers, mostly other fishermen and a few curious hiker types intrigued
by the drama unfolding in front of them.
Alto-ego was in his element "You join us now at bank side where this
sell out crowd is witnessing one of the truly great fights of the year,
in the blue corner the legendary Baz (fishy fingers) Evans, and in the
Red corner weighing in at weight yet unknown Esox-Esox, the Pike"
Baz didn't have time to worry about the fictitious match in his head he
was more concerned about the battle on the end of his wrist, which was
starting to ache due to the constant side strain he was applying to the
Some of the hikers had sat down on the bank behind them and were eating
sandwiches and drinking from thermos flasks, the other anglers were
offering constructive comments that on the face of it were bloody
obvious, gems such as "that's it son let him run!" or "don't let him go
into that sunken log!" Really, are you sure because that's just what I
was going to do and then throw my rod in as well!
"Jesus wept!!"Hissed Phil as twenty yards out the pike finally showed
itself "Shit Phil its a thirty!" said Baz as slowly the twenty-five
minute ordeal seemed to be reaching its Piscean climax.
By now the fish baiting audience had edged nearer and the back seat
anglers were subconsciously winding and playing imaginary fish of there
Phil had slid the long handled net into the water; Baz had his doubts
about whether the pike would fit into it, and as it showed it looked
like he'd be right. Phil manoeuvred the net into position as Baz
stepped back a few paces to allow his friend that extra space, the
pike's head slipped in and with much splashing and shouting so did his
"Yes, go on my son!" shouted Phil to a spontaneous round of applause
and a chorus of well dones! Baz removed the hooks and cradled the
biggest fish he'd ever seen let alone caught Phil passed him the scales
"what ya reckon then Baz?" "Thirty two?"
"Gotta be man easy!" he passed the spring balance under the fish's head
and straining lifted it skyward to the delight of the gathered ensemble
". Thirty four and a half pounds, Bloody hell!" chuckled Baz
Alto-ego was going nuts "Your winner tonight in a closely fought
contest, and still world champion Baz (fishy fingers) Evans!!"
Baz smiled at his friend "Good net skills stout fellow, I`ll wager thou
fish an admirable adversary!""Uh?" mumbled Phil "I said cheers!" said
Baz "Don't thank me man you did all the work!"" Right let's get him
back " Baz nestled the giant fish in his arms and crept at the waters
edge sliding the monster pike into the cold water then with a twist of
its tail the leviathan was gone, gone back to the deeps perhaps never
to be caught again. The little drama had been unfolded; each of the
players had their role to play and the interactive audience filed away
from the muddy theatre.
The back room of the "Queens" was noisy and buzzing, Radiohead were
blasting from the jukebox something about Fake Plastic Trees, music to
slit your wrists to thought Baz, those happy go lucky Oxford lads
bloody laugh a minute!
He moved over towards the bar catching the ugly barmaid's eye,"Two Buds
please!" he shouted as some song about Carpet police droned on over the
PA, he paid up and walked over to where Phil was standing, "Enjoy!" he
shouted and passed him the bottle,"Cheers, geezer or should I say Pike
Alto-ego chuckled; the image of an underwater Baz sitting on a throne
of Swan Mussels while a shoal of randy sycophantic lady pike did his
bidding was almost too much.
"Guess what Anna said?"Screamed Baz, the carpet police had had enough
and packed up their underlay now it was the turn of Nirvana, smelling
some teen spirit for all the college kids to freak out to, "Real grunge
ghetto this place is turning into, did you know Teen Spirit was a
Deodorant Baz?"Laughed Phil."Uh yeah I think i heard something," said
Baz though the thought of Kurt writing one of the classic rock anthems
about an underarm body spray demystified the song somewhat!!
"So what did she say then?" shouted Phil, the last orders shout from
the Ug barmaid seemingly aimed at them, Phil attracted her attention
and plonked two bottles of beer down on the dirty table, the place was
emptying, the youngsters rushing to be in the "Royal" before ten thirty
for a late one.
"Who?""Anna!" "Oh her! Nothing, Piss all, I catch the fish of a
lifetime a lake record
and she can't even acknowledge the fact, sometimes we're just so
incompatible, and it seems to be getting worse"
"Come on then mate let`s make a move", they moved towards the back room
door nodding at a few faces on the way out.
Alto-ego thought the small town mentality was funny, you know take the
boy out of the Village but not the Village out of the boy, that kind of
stuff. One thing was sure, something was going to have to change, Alto
didn't know what it was yet but the icy chill that was blowing down
High Street seemed to highlight the fact that it felt like something
bad, something from which even Alto would be running scared.
Baz buttoned his jacket and subconsciously hummed Karma Police by