Ancient pike spoons -


Words and pictures by Nick Fallowfield-Cooper



For the first time since April there was heavy dew on the lawn. As I stepped outside the air appeared clear and crisp, the summer haze had finally passed, autumn was  showing its presence. With my coffee in hand I walked across the lawn to the shed that nestled between two silver birches at the end of the garden, my footprints clearly mapped out by the heavy dew. I turned the key and with a sharp tug pulled the door towards me, the hinges screeched and broke the silence of the morning. Inside the shed the air took on a heavy stale atmosphere, the smell of machine oil, iron and blood was pungent. On the far wall hung garden tools lined up, inert like tired muddied solders waiting for a command. Old cobwebs cloaked the window that created a diffused light; the shed had taken on a ghostly quality since those warmer days of summer, now it was cold and the colour appeared to have drained away, dull hues of brown and grey only remained. 

In the corner a dark Edwardian chest of drawers stood alone, I placed my cup on the top of the curling veneer and pulled open the top drawer. Inside various tobacco tins and cigar boxes lay in random order. I opened the first tin and found a selection of Devons with rusted mounts, I then lifted the lid on a wooden artist's paint box. Inside a pleasing selection of spoons, mainly the Hogsback pattern brought some colour into the room, each spoon showed signs of tarnish but like the tools hanging on the wall they still glimmered in the soft hues of early morning. I placed the tin in my game bag that hung from a coat hook on the door, picked up my spinning rod, and left the ghosts behind.

Outside I could clearly hear blackbirds and in the distance a constant sound of the river. I pushed open the garden gate and headed across a field and into the mist. Standing at the river I felt that it was going to be a warm autumnal day, sunlight started to penetrate through the mist, turning grey to burnt umber, some foxgloves still showing their colour highlighted the scene, dabs of pink in a land of grey. I attached an old mahseer spoon with two trebles and took my first cast; water sparkled in the soft light as the spoon broke the surface, then it disappeared  into the underworld run by a gang of marauding pike.