Lloyd made his usual rounds about the pool wishing everyone lots of good luck. Lloyd was one of the favorites on this lake. If Lloyd was catching he would always share the secret of his catches with all on the lake, even offering a handful of boilies to anyone who shared the bank with him. Lloyd had caught most of the big named fish in the lake and had always quickly removed the hook, taken his picture and ever so gently released his catch, supporting them with caring hands until they quietly swam away into the depths. Everyone on the lake always made sure to swing by Lloyds swim on the way to their own swim just to say hello and wish him luck, they also knew Lloyd would tell them of any activity he had seen around the lake. Yes, Lloyd was a friend to everyone on the lake and without knowing it, he was a friend to everyone swimming in the lake.
On this particular cloudy night by the lake Lloyds friends were fishing the many different swims. Lloyd had just missed a run and was reeling in with his rod held high when a bolt of lightning from out of the blue struck his rod tip, traveled down the rod and into Lloyd and then out of his feet. Needless to say Lloyd was fried, he was still smoldering when his shocked mates came to his belated rescue. The police were called and they bagged and wheeled Lloyd off the bank. His mates loaded his gear and took it to his mom so they could break the sad news to her. She asked them to divide up Lloyds tackle and remember him always when they used it. The whole lake was saddened by the loss of the beloved Lloyd. Lloyd was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the lake from his favorite swim.
Lloyd awoke in a bit of a start, suffocating but not panicking. Where in the heck am I, its dark, smells funny, this isn't air, it's water. What is going on. The reincarnated are always a little disoriented following their journey. He opened his eyes and was surrounded by carp. Lloyd freaked, figured he was in hell and was paying for a life spent fishing by being eaten by carp. The other carp laughed, it was always this way with fishermen, the get reincarnated and they think they are paying for the sins of catching a few fish. The shoal of carp quickly filled Lloyd in, they knew of his death above several weeks ago and had requested he be reincarnated as a carp because they knew Lloyd loved his carp in the pool. The carp dearly loved Lloyd they told him, his success at the lake proved it, they would show him why.
Lloyd Learns a New Way of Life
The carp swam with Lloyd to a bed of boilies laid out by one of Lloyds friends, Niles. They swam around with their fins splayed out until they found Niles line. The result was that Niles woke up from a line hit and was eagerly awaiting a screaming run. They liked Niles because he always threw out plenty of strawberry boilies, big red ones, one of their favorites. The carp find Niles hookbait and eat all the freebaits until they are stuffed. To thank Niles for his generosity one of the older carp, Scaley, gently lifts the hookbait by the hair, showing Lloyd how it is done, and takes off a screaming run into the rushes. Niles leaps up and sets the hook, Scaley lets go and the hook is fouled in the rushes. They know Niles will jump in and wade into the rushes to retrieve his hook hoping there is a carp still attached. They did this to Niles about once a week, after all carp have to have fun too. Sometimes they even swam between Niles legs to give him a thrill. Lloyd of course is still freaking out but slowly he realizes he has been blessed with a present so wonderful, to come back as a carp, so many possibilities.
How to Catch Carp
As the season rolls onward Lloyd learns many tricks about being a carp. He learns carp are very careful, of course he already knew that, what he didn't know was they were careful of who they would let hook them. Who wants to stay in a keep sac all freakin night, or be dropped by someone who doesn't know how to hold a carp for a picture, or take out a hook without twisting and tearing. As smart as the carp were they would occasionally get caught. A new rig would show up and it would take them a while to figure it out. Sometimes they would get carried away eating a bunch of scrumptious boilies and loose their wariness. The carp got their payback for these trips to the bank by playing with the fishermen like Niles.
One night Lloyd and his carp friends were cruising the margins looking for a tasty treat. Lloyd looked up out of the water and saw an a well know angler who was much respected in the sport. Lloyd, as a human, had read many of this Allen guys stories, they were always a little strange, not the sort of stories you would want to read by the bank while you were fishing alone. Stories of monsters and supernatural occurrences, some good but many not so good for the fishermen, many of whom never made it to the end of the story before bits and pieces of them were found. It turns out that this Allen guy had just finished eating some kippers and approached the bank to wash his hands. Lloyd saw him eating and then approach the bank. A good carp prank taught to him by Scaley instantly popped into his head. As Allen reached his hand into the deep dark murky water in the middle of the night and began washing his hands Lloyd swam up from the depths and grabbed Alan by the fingers and started to pull in the water with his 40 pounds of carp weight. Sound does travel well through water. Scaley said he had never in his life heard a fishermen scream so loud that it hurt his lateral lines. They could see Allen running circles around his bivvy jumping up and down. Scaley congratulated Lloyd on a grab the Carpiers fingers joke well done. They could hear the other fishermen on the lake running over to help Allen. When he told them what had happened they laughed a nervous laugh, not knowing if they really believed something had grabbed Allen or not since he does write weird stories, on the other hand none of them relished the though of being grabbed themselves. From then on only newcomers would stick their fingers in the water, the regulars pretending to prefer to carry a jug of water with them.
Lloyd Breaks His Cherry
The other carp thought it was time for Lloyd to break his cherry so they told him it was his turn at the hook, otherwise the fishermen would give up and not throw in any more tasty boilies. The shoal swam around the margin looking for someone they recognized that didn't bag carp. They found Olson and his son Norbert, age 8. They waited until Norbert was watching his rods and figured out which rig was his. The other carp gave the line some bumps to ready Norbert and Lloyd inhaled the hook and bolted. Norbert grabbed the rod and set the hook. Lloyd felt the metal sink into his lip and kept on running as hard as he could. Lloyd went to the middle of the lake shaking his head, twisting and rolling on the line to give as good a fight as he could. Norbert held on with his dad shouting advice and finally Lloyd was exhausted. He came to the net and was on the bank. He was weighed, he saw the big grin on Norbert and his dad was beaming with pride. A new PB for Norbert at 42 pounds. Lloyd was photographed, and as this was the first time he was captured Norbert got to name him as is the tradition, he choose Humpty Dumpty from his favorite bedtime story Humpty Dumpty. Norbert gently released Humpty Dumpty back into the lake, waiting until Humpty Dumpty gathered his strength and swam slowly into the depths. The other carp were laughing and jumping, that's why they jump, when they see something funny. Lloyd was from now on know among the shoal as Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty went on to spend many years bumping lines on purpose and accidentally and on purpose getting hook. He grew and had many photos taken of him and smiling Carpiers. Lloyd knew he was in Heaven, if only he wasn't now know as Humpty Dumpty.
By Jack “Oatmeal” Blackford, Potomac River, MD, USA