It was shortly after Rob left us that I contacted a group of anglers who also knew Rob and I was regularly in contact with and mentioned the fact that I thought we could do something as a group to preserve the memory of Rob. I had the idea of a plaque with some fitting words on that we could locate on the river that was the closest to Rob's heart, the River Dove. I also contacted Rob's family and told them about what the group had in mind and they were very happy with the idea that a plaque would be in place on his favourite river.
We decided that £20 a man was to be collected and without having to do the maths for you we soon had £500 in the bank to cater for our idea. I contacted Brunel engraving - http://www.brunelengraving.co.uk/ to create the plaque and I have to say that I would recommend their services to anybody without fail. There were 2 of 3 transactions between the engravers and myself as we tweaked a couple of items but eventually the group were 100% happy with the draft format. The finished plaque arrived just 3 days after I approved the design and I have to say I was chuffed to bits with it, a fine job indeed!
The group had decided the location that the plaque should be mounted, a member of the group had then contacted the club who had the fishing rights (who we were all members of) and then the landowner, the club were fine as long as the landowner played ball which they did so the date was set for Feb 23rd to mount the plaque on the River Dove.
So onto the day itself, 13 of the group were in attendance and we had also invited Rob's wife Joy and 2 children, Dan & Bobbie, an old friend of Rob's, Barry, was also there with his wife. The plaque had been mounted to the chosen tree earlier that morning by myself and one of the group but we had left the final push home on the mounting screws for Rob's children to complete. The group assembled and the plaque was located, Rob's family were clearly moved by what the group had done and we all took time to reflect on what a great guy he was.
The remainder of the collection (£300) was donated to the 'melanoma support group' who Rob had interacted with the previous year so the cheque was also presented to Joy to pass onto the group. We then had a chat for a while before Rob's family left for home and the assembled anglers dispersed throughout the stretch to have a few hours fishing.
I started in a nice looking swim with faster water down the main part of the river and a nice slack on the inside, a maggot feeder was cast into the main flow and a float rod was to be used fishing a lobworm for Perch in the slack. It was whilst I was setting the float rod up that the tip sprung into life and a Grayling of about 12oz was netted, a nice start on a cold day.
The swim then went quiet so a move downstream was made, I settled into the tail of a long sweeping bend where the flow started to ease and again I fished the feeder for an hour without a bite so another move was made, this time I dropped into a peg I have fancied for a while, it was at the start of a large wide right hand bend with a pool in the centre and again deep slack water right under my feet so both of the days methods were catered for. After about 15 minutes the float was away and after a spirited scrap a Brown Trout of about 2lbs was in the net.
The rest of the session was uneventful until dusk when the feeder rod absolutely hammered over 'barbel 3 foot twitch style' but when I lifted the rod I felt no resistance, on retrieving the tackle it was clear that the hook had gone so whether I had suffered a bit off I will never know but I wasn't impressed! Some nice fish had apparently been caught through the day including a couple of 2lb+ Grayling and a Crayfish! The day was never about the fishing though, it was about the remembrance of a great angler and a great friend.