The SWAG group’s latest fish-in was held this weekend at MeltonPits in Suffolk. This ‘daunting’ (the locals term not mine!) fiveacre water is home to double figure bream, 30lb carp, large tench andalso a few bootlace eels – which was obviously the appeal to MrWriggles.

Graham – 9.2

Dave Downing (aka the Snigmaster, aka Mr Wriggles) had arrived atthe lake the previous day in order to try and save the best swims forGraham (Greyhound) Marsden and Dave (Gadget) Colclough to erect theirmonstrous bivvies. Unfortunately Dave D misinterpreted theirrequirements, foolishly thinking that by ‘best’ Greyhound meant mostproductive, rather than the ‘nearest and comfiest.’ This meant thatthe Snigmaster had to trek back from the opposite side of the lakewhilst Greyhound and Gadget started to align the satellite dish toget the best picture on their TV and VCR.

The usual suspects were in attendance, as previously mentionedGreyhound and Gadget arriving a day early to secure the all importantcar park swim – funny how this pair always seem to rate the ‘carpark’ swim wherever the venue! Sedge arrived a few hours later andafter being informed one of the locals had been pre-baiting a pointfurther round the lake did the Christian thing and jumped straight init.

Gary – 8.10

The next unsavoury character to arrive was ‘Big Rik The Breakfast Beast’ and he dropped in later that morning and secured a swim in the trees to the left of the car park and instantly started planning hisfeeding campaign. After carefully studying the options he went for rib eye steak, extra chips, onion rings and bread and butter – he decided sorting out food for the bream and carp could wait!

Next to arrive late Thursday afternoon was yours truly, fresh froma business meeting in London which I had conducted at lighteningspeed in order to get on the bank. I blasted down the A12 in recordtime and as I rolled into the car park was greeted by the usualtwo-fingered salute from the ever-friendly Mr Marsden. Instantlyspotting a prominent feature (Greyhounds wallet) I dropped in thenext swim down and had my bivvy erecting ability ridiculed byRik.

Whilst this was going on poor Mr Wriggles the Snigmaster was beingstitched up by Gadget as his usual tackle trade show burst into life.All of last year’s models were being passed on and I think moretackle, bait and money passed over in an hour than a weekend atChatsworth.

Gary – 10.12

Once I had my marker in place I baited up, cast in two rods, andjoined the lads in the next swim for a small tot of whisky. So smallmy liver is still aching as I type this (Thanks Dave). Still, as itwas Greyhound’s whisky and he was snoring away in his Fox mega 10man, centrally heated, easy erect, Euro dome with adjoining garageand koi pond – I thought it rude not to indulge.

Graham had already taken a nice bream of 9-02 on Thursday morningand confidence was high but it wasn’t until around 10.00pm when thenext action occurred and I had a nice bream of 8-10, quickly followedby one of 10-12. A couple more whiskeys to celebrate and it wasbedtime. Congratulations were still ringing in my ears as I dozed of,particularly the words “you jammy northern b*****d” that Rik had sokindly spoken to me.

Graham – 11.3

In between all the activity Mr Wriggles awoke from hiswhiskey-induced slumber long enough to impale a dozen dendrabenas ona hook and chuck his rig out into the lake.

“Should sort me out a decent eel” he muttered before collapsingback into his chair. Sure enough his alarm sprung into life in theearly hours and a horrible slimy wriggly thing was attached to theend of the rod – and an eel to the other!

Morning saw a change of tactic from Sedge – he was going home.Apparently the water was just too ‘daunting’ for him so afterblanking, he decided to boost his confidence: he packed in and wentto fish an easy little stockie water near his home the followingnight…….where he blanked !

Graham – 7.6

Greyhound chucked out a maggot feeder and promptly snared a tenchof 7-06 just before the lunchtime feeding frenzy – for us. Leavingthe snigmaster to look after the rods (which had been reeled in) sixof us made our way to the pub. I sat chatting to Mike Fidler (has hegot a nickname yet?) as we let Rik order the food, he ordered sixmeals though it was only when the food arrived we realised they wereall for him and the other five of us had to re-order.

Rik, somewhere between meal no. 3 and 4 then started to make someroom by expelling unwanted gas in his usual discreet way. Much to theconfusion on the other diners who repeatedly looked out of the windowtrying to spot the storm clouds that were causing the thunder.

Gary – 6.8 male

Back on the bank and just before dark the Johnson duo arrived(Chub and Stuart – another one without a nickname). These twointrepid anglers arrived just in time to go to the pub, deciding itwould be better to tackle up, plumb and bait up in the dark. Still,Sedge, Rik and Mike set up in the daylight and it didn’t do them anygood so who knows ?

As Rik was due to leave in the early hours he walked around thelake to say his goodbye’s (and to steal some of my bait!) loudrasping noises following him. In between his bouts of flatulence wethen had a bizarre conversation about badgers that went somethinglike this.

“Have you ever heard those ‘PHAAAARRRRP’ badgers in the night?Right noisy ‘PHAAAAARRRRPPP’ buggers theyare”………says Rik.

“What do you mean mate?” I asked.

Well, ….’COUGH,…..RRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIPPPPP,…..PHAAAARRRP’… your just sitthere, quiet as you like ‘GUFF, ….RRRIIIIIIIIPPPP’when they make one hell of a commotion in the’PHAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPP’………..otherwise silent night.”

The Snigmaster

OK, so you had to be there, but it made us laugh!

As the last evening of the fish-in came to a close Greyhound tooka bream of 11-03 to make it a resounding 5-0 advantage to thenorthern all stars (before you say it Dave – eels don’t count). Thefollowing morning I awoke to find a huge hole gnawed through my bivvywhere a large rat (I know it was large because we had seen it thenight before) had gained access to my supply of trout pellets eatingmost of them and scattering the rest around my groundsheet. I hadbeen aware it had been in during the night but had failed on eachattempt at hitting it with a rod rest – fast bleeder it was.

Celebrating with a wee dram

The following morning I landed a nice male tench of 6-08 during ahailstorm before those of us remaining packed away all our gear.

I know its an old clich