Well, actually, no I didn't. But like Martin Luther King, "I Had a Dream." But I did dream of catching a bream. Taking a day off from the fishing (another), I had lain in bed rather longer than usual, until way past 7 in the morning. It seems that my mind would rather that I had been fishing than sleeping because I had a fishing dream. A totally weird fishing dream. One that probably revealed many of my angling insecurities. I often have what are described as lucid dreams, dreams which contain astonishing detail, almost as much detail as real life. They come in enhanced technicolour and with super high definition. Sometimes they even come with a voice over, making comments such as: how unlikely the events that are taking place in the dream are. It is all rather odd, because the voice over seems to know it is a dream, yet I, at the time, don't. It is rare for me to remember anything much of a dream for more than four seconds after waking up, something to do with my goldfish memory.
The dream opens with me attending to two ledgering rods, fishing at maybe 40 yards, on one of the Cheshire Meres that I used to fish a long time ago. After a short time, the right hand rod had a bite, and I saw the line moving out into the lake and to the right. For some inexplicable reason I waited until the fish had moved a good twenty yards before striking. For those readers who, having read this, might want to go and fish the same swim, with the same tactics, I apologise: I have no idea what bait I was using.
I hooked the fish, which gave little resistance, and sure enough it was a bream, a big bream, a huge bream, a new PB bream. So big it would not fit into my landing net, its nose preventing it from falling into the mesh. I shook the net about a bit and it slipped off the rim and folded in neatly. At this time I was guessing the fish to weigh about 13 pounds, and knew it had to be weighed and photographed. A few shots of the fish in the net were taken, and then I went to the rucksac for my digital scales. The scales would not zero themselves when switched on, no matter how much I shook them, and however much I pressed the various buttons. Very frustrating.
People started to arrive behind me, just to see the fish, which I dunked back into the lake, still in the net, to recover awhile. I got another set of my scales ( I sometimes have three sets with me), to be faced with the same problem, they would not zeroise cleanly at all. Someone ( yet more people had arrived to gawp) loaned me an old spring balance, but the mesh of the net was partially trailing in the water and I struggled to lift it. Eventually I succeeded and the fish pulled twenty pounds on the scale. But the scale was only graduated in five pound intervals, no use at all, and I still really needed to know the exact weight of the fish. Back in the water went the fish to recover yet again. I opened up the digital scales to change the battery: Maybe they were exhausted, and producing low voltage. Instead of the expected two AAA's it now held two banks, each of 6 lithium cells arranged edge to edge. Unusual. Unexpected. Obviously I didn't have a suitable spare battery in my pockets. Foiled again. Nothing was going right except for the actual capture of the fish.
As I picked up my third set of scales, another identical set of digitals, I now noticed that someone had set up a burger stall at the right hand side of my swim, actually in the shallow water, obviously attracted by the large, and rapidly increasing, number of spectators. I am getting worried about how long it was taking me to weigh the fish. The crowd was getting bored, jostling for position behind me, but were still watching as I became quite guilty that the fish would not survive the long attention span it was being given. Do I put it back, or struggle on with the weighing process? But after another rest in the water it still looked full of beans ( and sweetcorn, and boilies). So I switched on the scales and they now had a colour screen: yet I still couldn't find the reset button that I needed. Eventually I found the on/off, pressed it and up came three options:L gas, electricity and water! No matter how I tried I could not get the scales to set themselves up into a state to properly weigh the fish. I was getting increasingly panicky, time going on, and I had no means of weighing a twenty pound bream. A twenty pound bream! I now began to worry that someone in the crowd was going to tell the Angling Times about my fish, and I didn't want my name mentioned. "Angler Catches Huge Bream" was the headline. I became quite angry that the press was going to publish without asking me for permission. The crowd behind had reached fairground proportions. Some of them had even started to fish in the left hand side of my swim, and were catching bream, much smaller than mine was, but it made me think I should have long since weighed the fish, and been back fishing for another.
Shortly afterwards I awoke, I still had not weighed, nor had my photograph taken with a possible twenty pound bream.
Al sorts of questions spring to mind: why a bream? A flashback to the sixties and seventies? Why was I having so much scales trouble? Why did the crowds appear? In reality I DON'T like fishing with crowds, I do occasionally have battery and damp problems with the digi-scales, and I really don't like publicity, so some of the content was maybe extracted from real life. A shame that the twenty pound fish is unlikely to become a real life issue too, but I, unlike some, do not believe that dreams can have any role in predicting future events.
But I think tonight I might try to fall asleep with an image of a twelve pound tench in my mind.
Am I losing it? Completely? Or am I back to my usual level of insanity?