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Tony Locke

Other species, the day of the pig!

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This is an extract from my memoires "50 years of fishing" from the section "Things that got caught...that were not fish"

2: This next event took place in the upper reaches of the river Severn in England and everybody who was involved is dead apart from possibly two. It occurred in the early 60’s and the two who are still alive dispute the details. So I am going to give my account. My father claims that I was not present and so, if he is right, it is due to this being a story I have heard so many times that it has sort of become ingrained into my memories…anyway my father is in his late 80’s and possibly more forgetful than me.

What is not in dispute is that it was winter and winter is THE time to go piking. (Why? Firstly it is freezing cold and likely to be raining or snowing, making fishing and driving potentially hazardous and secondly the river is likely to be in flood or at least a dirty brown color.). Anyway pike were the quarry and the back-up bait were herrings bought from the fishmongers. Back-up because we planned to catch some roach or other small fish as live bait. Of course our attempts to catch live bait were a dismal failure and, come to that, so were our efforts on the pike.

Being true Brits, what were we to do? Of course, off to the pub to have a think and a drink. It was here that my uncle took me on at darts and I witnessed him put 3 darts into the double 16. A local gave him some of the old verbals about “just beating a kid” and betting him drinks all round if he could do that again…which my uncle promptly did.

Anyway I digress…the adults were well boozed up while I was on a sugar high from the lemonade which wasn’t considered dangerous back then and we returned to the river. It was actually a nice winters day and the afternoon watery sun was beating down as only an English winter sun can, but Ray had given up. He had hauled his herring out of the river and set the rod down while he lay back on his seat for an afternoon nap. His reverie lasted only a short time, as the jingling of his bell indicator (yes, we are talking about the days before buzzer bars et cetera) interrupted his slumber.

Totally forgetting he had taken his bait out of the water, he struck hard to set the hook…and set the hook he did as all hell broke loose. I was fishing maybe 50 yards downstream and heard an almighty great scream. I rushed up the river bank- and the sight is indelibly printed in my brain. There against the backdrop of the setting sun is Ray running, holding a rod that was bent double, chasing a pig across the field! My father is yelling “Hang on to it Ray, we’ll roast it for supper!”

We cornered the pig by a gate and somehow managed to get the treble hooks out of the poor beast, but for the life of me I cannot recall how. …pigs have a nasty set of teeth. I do know that the farmer, attracted by all the commotion, turned up and was not a happy camper. Not surprisingly our fishing club were banned from ever fishing there again.

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Pigs can be downright dangerous. They can inflict a nasty bite that can get infected big time. BTW, was he using an ear of corn as a hookbait?

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No... this was definitely herring, but maybe "ear of corn" is a better bait for pigs, but I warn you, I have no wish to attempt to get another set of trebles out of a pig!

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