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The one that got away


I drowsed myself awake at the ungodly hour of 6.00am, give or take the shake of a lamb’s tail and in my bleary mind I remember that today is going to be sunny and I wonder whether a visit to the sea front would be productive. I had had an inspiring few hours of photography at the Neath valley waterfalls yesterday and a good sunrise shot would start the day off very nicely. So I arose, perhaps that sounds too majestic but anyway I threw on some warm clothing and shot off for Mumbles. It was a clear sky apart from a low bank of cloud over England so realism told me that the potential was limited, the sun would show itself later and there was not much in the clear sky to light up and create some magic.

But we have to be prepared so the camera bag and tripod come out of the car and I take my position leaning against the railing, my gear lying on the seat behind me. I am quite fond of this part of photography. My mind can drift wherever it wants to, the waves lap gently against the sea wall and seagulls wail quietly. About ten yards away a fisherman stands sentinel over his two rods with optimistic thoughts of a good breakfast, I look over the bay at the lights of Swansea still in its slumber. I am as warm as morning toast with just a coolness of the morning air on my face.

It has been a while since I wrote my last story and I wonder when I will get the next trigger, the last couple of times when I have been on watch at the lookout have passed without incident. Many funny or even silly things have happened but nothing to make a story.

I musn’t worry!

I look up from my wave-gazing and I see the fisherman walking towards me and wonder what he wants.

“I’ve just lost my rod,” he says “it was a heavy duty Stratocaster!”

Crikey, I thought, how on earth could that have happened? Perhaps it was snatched by a lightning fast jogger pushing a stolen Co-op trolley and gathering up all he passed under the illusion that he had won some trolley dash competition. I glanced to see if he had pinched my camera bag and tripod too! Oh, what a relief, they’re still there!

He continues “There it was leaning against the rail when suddenly it was yanked up and it dived into the sea!”

“Good heavens,” I said “would you be able to get it back when the tide is out?”

“No, I tried to hook it with my other line,” he said “but it was gone.”

Then I realised that it would still be attached to the fish.

“It must have been a really big one,” said the fisherman, measuring it with his hands, “if I’d strapped the rod to the rail that could well have been the best yet!”

I commiserated with him and he strolled back. At least he has a good fishy story to tell his mates now.

I lean back on the rail and my mind starts to mull it over (sorry, should that be ‘mullet over’? A thousand or more apologies, that really is awful!) and I have a picture of a large bass zooming around the coast with a heavy stratocaster fishing rod skimming along the waves like a manic one-legged ski. Would this be a danger to shipping? Should I let them know at Worms Head lookout to keep their eyes open for it.

Rather a different slant to ‘the one that got away’, I think!

I turn to go home and get this written up and I see that the fisherman is sitting on the seat with the handle of his second rod firmly between his legs. If he gets a bite now he really is in trouble!


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