Dever Springs was the venue and here is home of the whoppers, despite what a certain burger chain advertise to the contrary. The day was a fundraiser for the Second Chance Charity, consequently almost everyone there was famous or well-heeled or both - though perhaps well-tyred is a better description after seeing some of the posh wheels in the carpark. I'm always a little nervous when I read the guest list on these affairs. I feel that maybe I'm the PC offering, the token oik mixing with the landed gentry. Major this and Colonel that Rubbing shoulders with MP's and household TV names and, even worse, names that I don't recognise but probably should. I needn't really worry though. On every single one of these occasions I have attended, as soon as the wellies are donned and the rods threaded, the participants, even the real 'nobs', become just a bunch of overgrown schoolboys. Just like me. I was gladdened to notice that a few other commoners were present on the day, but most of those were good fly anglers. Just like me. Ahem!

We all chattered excitedly in the carpark as a numbered system was devised and a draw held, then it was off to the lakes. My good buddy Pete Henton from the Bivy Hospital was drawn next to me. We cast lures of opposite colours for the first five minutes until we saw the first rod bend over. This was on the opposite bank and belonged to Brian, the third Musketeer. I had noticed Brian in the carpark, tying on an orange cats-whisker so I swiftly switched to the same colour . Not before I took a fiver off Pete first for the info though. It's little details like these, nicking successful anglers baits/flies/swims which make the difference I feel, but I digress.

With both Pete and I hurling orange fluff at the lake, it was only a matter of time before one of us had a take, in fact it was Pete who had the first pull. His rod arched over into a good fish and ten minutes later he was still playing it - As was Brian who was still on his first fish. It had weeded him and now, minus his trousers, he was trying to wade in after it. I thought about calling to warn him that the water at that point was twelve foot deep but decided against it. He would find out for himself. He did J. Then something happened which made me lose track of Bran's misfortunes. I too had a take.

The rod was almost snatched from my grasp as an angry rainbow launched itself at my delicately presented nymph. (Actually it was half a chicken dyed orange, but don't tell the purists!) Pete was trying to land his fish in the next swim, and having more than a little trouble with it. These little folding trout nets are not really designed with fish of this size in mind. Whilst playing a huge trout I was negotiating a price with Pete on the loan of my much larger net when my line suddenly went slack. The hook had straightened. Pete now had the upper hand and the landing net changed hands for a much poorer deal than I had originally envisioned, but at least I came out of the exchange with some flies tied to strong hooks.

At the end of the first hour a horn sounded and we all rotated swims, well, kind of. I think there were a dozen anglers and nineteen places so it was a fairly loose rotation. Again Pete and I were in adjoining swims but this time on the smaller lake, much shallower and easier to stalk. I watched a fish enter the swim and dropped a goldhead on its nose. Bang! I was in. After a short but explosive tussle the fish was on the bank, meeting it's maker. Pete too then took another fish and all over the lake it suddenly seemed that every angler was playing a fish. In the next five minutes I guess there were seven fish landed and then the lake went dead. And I do mean dead.

The next couple of hours were totally uneventful. Many anglers moved back to lake one in search of a fish whilst Pete and I scoured the margins with our Polaroids looking for a fish. Out of the corner of my eye I watched him, the old master, suddenly skip down the bank, his eyes glued at a point in the water. He flicked his rod tip and launched his line. It's always magic to watch someone who can really cast well shoot a line out, and Pete really can cast when he tries. This was one of those times. He vanished into the reed beds, just his hat and rod tip showing, then the water exploded. In very shallow water he had stalked this damn great monster and dropped a fly right on its nose, just as it was breathing in I reckon. Whatever. The fight was on, and it went on. And on. And on.

This was one of the legendary monsters that Dever Springs is so famous for and there was no way that Pete was going to lose it by playing it too hard. We were fishing a scummed up corner of the lake and as the fish went round and round so the weight of weed and scum built up on the line. More and more scum, heavier and heavier the load became. Several times I managed to clear the line for him but this fight was going on just a little too long and it was obvious that something was not quite right. Eventually we saw the fish deep down in the clear water and the problem became apparent. The fish was hooked in the mouth but had somehow managed to tail-wrap itself with a neat half-hitch. Pete had spent the best part of twenty minutes playing a fish backwards! Netting this, we thought, was going to be a problem but eventually we fooled it into swimming into the net headfirst. The fight was over. The fish just topped thirteen and a half pounds.

Lunch was a great crack. Major Vince (who could easily have made a success of himself on the stage) was the MC and had us all falling about laughing as a precursor to the main fundraiser of the day, the auction. Somehow (I must have scratched my nose at the wrong moment) I ended up with a days fishing at Farmoor reservoir and a 5 piece wok set. Yes, a 5 piece wok set - don't ask! Other guests got split-cane rods and complete fly collections and one poor chap bought a celebrity box at a future Manchester United match of his choosing. Well, I guess we can't all get the woks!

Post grub - and a very good graze it was too - we were back on the lakes chasing fish that had wised up considerably. I found an area with several fish which all finned their noses at me until I dropped (another) borrowed fly in front of one. This fly was a black beetle type thing and as it hit the water a fish just turned and grabbed it. I think the poor ol' Piscean thought it was a trout pellet!

Two fish down and two to go for my limit but now my armoury (i.e. everyone else's fly box in sight) was exhausted. The fish just would not take. I was baffled. Then I heard a voice at my elbow.

"You don't want to do it like that, you want to do it like this".

No, it wasn't Harry Enfield. It was Alex Hunt, and in each hand he held a double figure trout of staggering proportions. The killing fly was a "damsel" he said and smiled smugly. I smiled back, noticing that I was considerably taller than he. I thought about threatening to beat him up but it was not needed, he passed over the winning weapon quite willingly. A 'damsel' that he ties himself, and by the look of it, one that requires a whole gorilla in the manufacture. I instantly warmed to this young man, we obviously think alike. Alex couldn't stay any longer. He bid me adieu and drove off into the sunset after telling me that I couldn't fail. Looking down at the half cwt of fluff on my line I believed him.

Back on lake one I had a fish take on the first cast, but it came off. So I recast and had a second fish take! This one didn't come off and led me a very merry dance before I could net it. I needed no scales to realise that I had a new PB trout here. Happy as Larry I sloppily slapped the water with the 'damsel' once more and my limit was secure. This fish was a proud six pounder and fought every inch of the way as well as the double had done before it.

So I went home happy. With a great days fishing, all in aid of a worthy cause, plus four fish for a total of about 25lb. Andů a wok!