What a tit!

Passport in hand I headed over to south Devon yesterday to meet up with Marc Cowling of South Devon Bass Guide and his clients for the day - Marc is the guy who I will be doing some co-guiding work with later in the year, and I wanted to come along and take some photos of guided lure fishing here in the UK to help with our marketing efforts etc. A big thanks to Marc for having me along, but especially to his clients who had to put up with my antics which if I am honest I am feeling bad about.

We met up around LW and I followed Marc and his clients out to the most stunning looking stretch of coastline you can imagine. I used to do a lot of huss fishing back in the day not that far from where we were, but it’s amazing how differently you look at a coastline and its features when you’ve got bass eyes on, and after perhaps a couple of miles yomping along the coast path (how lucky are we to be able to access the coastline like we can?) we were at the first spot that Marc wanted his clients to cover with their lures.

So we’ve got a howling east wind and it’s very bright, but Marc’s done his thinking and he has deliberately gone for locations that were kicking up a bit of fizz. One of the lads had a bass swirl at his surface lure pretty quickly on in the session so things were looking promising. The light was incredibly harsh for me and my camera gear, but that’s part and parcel of the job. After no more activity at this particular spot Marc called for a move back along the coast to this stunning looking sort of big rocky lagoon that was starting to fill up nicely with the rapidly flooding tide.

Off in the distance I could see one of the lads bent into a fish, with Marc standing next to him, net in hand. I started to make my way over, and then it happened. Henry, you are a bloody tit! We move across the rocks without really thinking much about it. It’s part of what we do and whilst of course we take care to plot a path over what can be some tough terrain, many of us have been doing this sort of stuff for longer than we can remember - all I did was stretch a bit to jump from rock to rock and bang, it was like a strong electric shock went off in my calf and I knew instantly what had happened. Why? Well I’m obviously no doctor, but I did the exact same thing to my other calf when I was on a guiding trip over in Ireland a year and half or so ago.

I had gone and torn my bloody calf muscle again, and like last time I felt like such a bloody idiot. The most innocuous little stretch or jump from rock to rock and now I’m in a bit of trouble and I want so much not to impact upon Marc and his clients who are spending the most glorious day on a beautiful part of the coast. They sure as hell don’t need a sodding photographer who can’t now get across the rocks properly! I want to shoot a whole heap of different photos, but I am now hobbling across the rocks like a tit. I radio Marc and ask him to keep the wrasse in a rockpool until I can get to them. It’s a beautiful fish that took a hard lure - I think it was a Feed Shallow - over some lovely shallow, weedy and rocky ground that I’d seriously love to spend some time on in the future, indeed I can’t recall seeing so much awesome looking ground for a while.

Anyway, the tide’s not far from cutting off our retreat from this lagoon, so Marc calls his clients in and it’s time to make a move to the next spot. I tell the guys to walk on ahead and please don’t wait for me, but there I am, hobbling along like a tit with my camera gear on my back, with the lads pretending to walk at their normal pace when in fact I know damn well they have slowed right down to allow me to keep up with them. I’m facing a roughly two mile walk back to my epic Berlingo and it’s not exactly flat terrain, so I make the call to leave the guys to their fishing and not impact on them any more than I already am. It’s not my style to mess with people’s precious fishing time and I am struggling to limp along at any sort of meaningful pace. When I tore my calf last time around we were at the start of about ten days or so of guiding work over in Ireland and I was sure as hell not going to cry off with an injury so I kept going regardless, but this is Marc’s gig and I am now in the way and it’s not right.

Thanks lads for having me along. About a hundred times on my pathetically slow hobble back to my epic Berlingo I did think how nice it would be to simply dump my camera gear down and lie down for a kip in the hedgerow, but to be honest it was my sheepdog Storm looking back at me that kept me giggling and hobbling along. She’s so used to the speed we walk as a family that she kept on looking back at me with this quizzical look on her face as if to say “come on dad, what the hell is up with you and this snail pace?”

I wasn’t able to rest my torn calf muscle last time around, but I am going to try and get a doctor’s appointment and see what they say. It’s the same leg which I had surgery on for my skin cancer, and I’ve got a bit of lymphedema going on as well, so combined with a torn calf muscle I am now feeling like a complete tit to be honest! Changing gears in my epic Berlingo on the way back to Cornwall was interesting at times, but hey ho, what can you do? I know I am meant to rest this injury, but what on earth am I meant to do with these tides and a rather interesting weather forecast? I nodded away when my wife “encouraged” me to rest it up this time around, but she knows how much of a tit I can be…………….