I shared part of a story I had written about my father, going fishing early on the morning he was called up to join the army in 1939; he was not demobbed until 1946, seven precious years, what should have been the best years of his life, taken by war.

Part 2

A shadow under the water

Fishing that morning before he left home to join the army, the medical corps, he cast his line, sending it skimming across the water. The baited hook dropped and the line sunk, only the float bobbed slightly as it settled.

After a while he cast again, and after another while, judging the time by the son, a country boy, he cast the line for the last time – the last time before the war started, whenever that might be, summer or autumn.

The bait struck the surface, sank and the float bobbed and settled, then bobbed again… a fish was interested. The boy waited, ready, one hand on the rod, the other holding a loop of line. The float ducked beneath the surface and the boy struck and a fish was hooked and swam away.

Later he may have recalled how long it took, or maybe he didn’t, maybe he told his daughters and they forgot, but after a long struggle, boy against fish, he drew it to the river bank. It was huge, it was the biggest fish he had ever caught in all his years of fishing since being a tiddler himself.

He could kill it with a blow from his tapper, he could take it home for him mother to cook, or his father to take to the nearby convent as he often did if he had a big catch himself.

The boy gently unhooked the fish, and held it for a few moments and looked at it, panting in his hands, judging the weight of it. Then he squatted and lowered it into the water and without a sound the fish slipped beneath the surface and vanished.

Maybe he saw it circling, a shadow under the water, maybe he didn’t. He dismantled his rod, line and reel, and put everything away, and then went back to the pub for breakfast.

My featured image shows the water beyond the lock where my father fished.

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