The Smartcast Adventure

Lymm AC and forum member ‘billysiv’ wrote the following account of a day out doing some river ‘research’ some time ago and has kindly allowed it to be reproduced on the blog for all our members to enjoy.

‘The Smartcast Adventure’

“I’ve got a Smartcast.”

“Blimey, Neil when did you break your leg?”

“No, stupid! It’s a fish finder.”

“Oh yeah? How does that work then?”

“Come down to the Dove with me on Saturday and find out.”

“OK,  you’re on.”

That was the telephone conversation that started it all, between my long suffering fishing buddy, Neil and myself. It was still late May, we had three weeks to go before the opening of the season and a recce along the banks armed with a piece of technology to show us where all the barbel were, seemed the ideal preparation for the off.

So the following Saturday, with no need for an early start, I made my way to Neil’s place and we headed down the A50 for a certain weir on the Dove. Regulars will recognise the one I’m talking about. It has an island in the middle of the weir pool. It’s quite a long walk from the car park and it was a glorious sunny day, so we worked up a bit of a sweat. We had never been to this venue before. the weir pool looked very fishy and we speculated about the smart Georgian residence on the far bank with its manicured lawns and well cared for appearance. Obviously it was a residence of the local gentry.

Neil revealed his latest acquisition and patiently explained to me how it worked. I did think that the bright orange ship ‘thingy’ that he attached to his line reminded me of something Popeye would set sail in. However, the receiver was very impressive and I thought it

The River Dove

The River Dove

 resembled the equipment used when  the Luftwaffe were repulsed by Spitfires directed to their targets by WAFFS with bobbed hairdo’s and BBC accents, on a table map of southern England. ‘Tally Ho! Bandits at 10o’clock!’ My imagination was running riot and I was starting to enjoy myself.

Imagine how pleased I felt when Neil told me that this was to be my job, interpreting what appeared on the magic screen, whilst he cast around the weir pool with the orange ship ‘thingy’. So, while he adjusted the reception and fiddled with the technical bits, I decided upon a safe route across the sill of the weir from where we could explore all the swims it had to offer. Fortunately, the river was low and the water only trickled over the wide sill with little risk of us being washed away. after a few casts from the bank to establish that the equipment was performing correctly we ventured out along the sill.

Everything was going fine, it would be tempting fate to say swimmingly. We were surprised to discover how shallow the weir pool was, a maximum of four feet or so, according to the information the Smartcast was giving us. We edged our way across the weir to the gate in the middle with Neil casting around and letting the plastic ship explore every corner of the pool and me shouting out the information it was giving us. All the changes of depth but no fish.

“Wait, that was a fish!”


“Just then, a fish appeared on the screen, look! Oh no it’s disappeared now.”

I don’t really think Neil believed me.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, course I am. It was a big ‘un an’ all. Cast back to the same place again.”


I looked up as the brave little orange ‘ship’ splashed and began to bob its way down the pool. Imagine how stunned we were when, suddenly, there was a huge swirl and an enormous, toothy mouth engulfed our little vessel! Both pike and transmitter disappeared and Neil’s clutch began to tick as line was taken from his reel. Neither of us had imagined for a second that the local pike population would find the little orange ship attractive, but it’s always amazed me how pike will intercept the weird and wonderful array of lures mistaking them for food.

We were speculating on the outcome and Neil was beginning to calculate what a new ‘ship’ might cost, when the inevitable happened and the line parted. Amazingly, the pike must have decided that plastic wasn’t to her liking and up bobbed the ‘vessel’. We followed its course until it disappeared along the the far side of the island. We raced to the tail of the island but it failed to reappear.  Neil was feeling very glum, so in an attempt to cheer him up I did what any good friend would do and volunteered to become the ‘Water Spaniel’. It would be ‘easy- easy’, the weir pool wasn’t deep, it was a hot afternoon and a paddle would be cooling anyway.

The ship 'thingy'

The ship ‘thingy’

So stripping down to my Calvin Klein’s, I entered the water keeping my trainers on to combat the sharp gravel underfoot. I soon found my way across to the island, the water having come up to my Calvin’s at its deepest. I made my way around the island to the far side, opposite the smart Georgian residence and started to poke around among the bank side vegetation looking for where the transmitter had become lodged, all the time reporting back to Neil in a loud voice as he couldn’t see me. The wet underpants were becoming a hindrance as I was having to use one hand to hold them up all the time, so I did the sensible thing, took them off and slung them over one shoulder.

At last I found the gadget and secreting it behind my back, made my way back to the head of the island where upon seeing Neil waiting expectantly on the bank I shouted, “I’ve found the little orange bugger!” Holding the gadget up in one hand and my underpants up in the other, I did a triumphant dance! Neil was suddenly convulsing with laughter and on turning around,  I saw, on the finely manicured lawn of the Georgian residence, a bridal party complete with bridesmaids, posh guests and photographer, all of whom were staring across at my bare backside! I thought I heard a female voice remark, “It doesn’t look very orange to me”, but I can’t be sure.

I did what seemed the right thing to do and took a bow. I received a loud cheer and a round of applause, then beat a hasty retreat while the going was good. Neil was still shaking uncontrollably when I waded back to his bank and he couldn’t catch his breath for quite a while. We now know that the smart Georgian residence is in fact an upmarket hotel! So, if I made your wedding day unforgettable and you are reading this can I have a copy of any photos that I appear on please? Oh yes and if you have a Smartcast, always attach it with a wire trace, we do………………. now.

Our thanks go to ‘billysiv’ for sharing the tale of his comedic outing and for adding to the rapidly expanding range of articles available to us here at

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