Not many people fish the Thames at Chiswick. Tides, mud, boats, it's all a bit too tricky for the person who simply wants to haul out fat carp, and he will head off for the nearest stocked lake to do that. The irony is that there are plenty of heavy carp in the Thames, and 20 pounders are regularly taken on our stretch of river.
So the Allens are getting to work. A couple of hefty rods are coming out of my loft, and as I retire my flyfishing gear for the winter the children and I are getting elbow-deep into the smelly world of making ground-bait out of luncheon meat, beefstock and all things smelly.
Meanwhile, we've had fun with eels. Like most fishermen, I have a distinctly ambiguous attitude to them. Who can't admire the tenacity and ingenuity of this wandering creature, and who can't be repelled at the same time by their beady eyes, shovel mouths, gulping greed and slimy contortions? Still, one day we'll catch a monster, and then set to work on making the eel pie which I've long promised Sarah.