|Hugh Tempest Sheringham|
One example is his account from Coarse Fishing (1912) - it relates to the catching of carp. Hard to believe now, but then a mystical creature with the capture of a double figure specimen making the national press:
"For practical purposes there are big carp and small carp. The latter you may sometimes hope to catch without too great a strain on your capacities. The former - well, men have been known to catch them, and there are just a few anglers who have caught a good many. I myself have caught one, and I will make bold to repeat the tale of the adventure as it was told in the Field of July 1, 1911.
The narrative contains most of what I know concerning the capture of big carp. The most important thing in it is the value which it shows to reside in a modicum of good luck. So far as my experience goes, it is certain that good luck is the most vital part of the equipment of him who would seek to slay big carp. For some men I admit the usefulness of skill and pertinacity; for myself, I take my stand entirely on luck. To the novice I would say: “Cultivate your luck. Prop it up with omens and signs of good purport. Watch for magpies on your path. Form the habit of avoiding old women who squint. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Touch wood with the forefinger of your right hand whenever you are not doing anything else. Be on friendly terms with a black cat. Turn your money under the new moon. Walk round ladders. Don't start on a Friday. Stir the materials for Christmas pudding and wish. Perform all other such rites as you know or hear of. These things are important in carp-fishing."
It obviously worked for Sheringham. He was extremely successful with big carp at Cheshunt Reservoir. Being of a superstitious and sentimental nature I try to cultivate my luck at all times.
Bad luck comes in threes I am told. I thought I was doing quite well after the flood to not have a second and third but good old HTS was in the back of my mind. I had not done enough to cultivate my luck. It all caught up with me last week. My car was hit by a pony and trap (number two out of the way) and on Friday the mighty Hoot presented me with my Brit Valley Fly Fishers permit - permit No 13 (number three out of the way). I have requested the permit be changed of course, it will now be 13.5!
All should now be well - with the prospect of a fishing trip in the near future and the shrooming season underway I hope to bring you positive news.