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Fish Stocks Limited

that bad. We had some good times to gether, caught some bass, had a good few little
smokes. Those were happy days. You're really after a Fish?”
“Yes,” said Ambrosius.
“Then you don't have to go clawing about in all that foliage for the next two hours
trying to find the perfect Hook.” Branch motioned for Ambrosius to come closer,
before bending down and rummaging in his Box of Things. He stood up again and
held out his hand. “I want you to have this.”
Ambrosius looked at the object in Branch's palm. It sparkled dull silver in the
Smugshine; a large, perfectly formed Hook.
“Me and your dad, we caught some big fish with this Hook. We came to reckon it
was the best damn hook in the whole of Expiscor, so we had it platinum plated. It's
sharp as anything, and won't rot with the Rust Fungus like a no rmal hook. You could
catch Fish for the next thousand year's with this and it'd still have a mean point on it.”
“I...I can't take it.”
“Sure you can. Your dad would have wanted you to have it. I got plenty of Hooks
myself, loosing one won't do me no harm. Take it.”
Ambrosius nodded. He reached out a trembling hand and took the Hook from
Branch's great ham- fist.
“Thank you,” said Ambrosius.”
“Don't mention it. Now go catch a Fish!”
Bait. Such a simple word, but so complex a concept. There are as many type s of
bait as there are grains of sand on a beach. Hookworm and Hookfruit are by far the
most popular, but there are also Stonemeal, Blossomfly, Fat Hairy Caterpillar,
Shrieker Guano, Trunkspider, Little Beetle Type-Thing, Dessicated Hookfruit
Maggots, Daddy Shortlegs, Honey Mushroom, Tree Mouse Cheese, Detoxified
Hooktree Frog's Leg, Pickled Branch Lizard Egg, Ummagumma. Ambrosius had his
own views on bait. As the initial point of contact with the Fish, one must take bait
very seriously. Ambrosius first went to a Hooktree that was in fruit and scoured the
boughs below for windfalls. He found a nice rotting Hookfruit with a tell-tale hole in
the outside and cut it in two with his knife. From it he extracted a somewhat confused
looking and rather plump Hookworm who squeaked wordless profanities in protest.
He took this worm back to his shack and set it on a particularly ripe piece of Tree
Mouse Cheese. Then, as the Smug was setting, he went to bed.
Now a Hookworm loves rot, and a particularly good piece of Tree Mouse Cheese
is reticulated with veins of the stuff. Overnight the Hookworm munched his way
through so many of these foetid arteries of mould that when Ambrosius plucked it
from its wallowings in the morning it was stinking and blue just like them. Just how
the Fish like it. Ambrosius gave it a light sprinkling of Honey Mushroom Juice to
finish with and then set it squirming in an empty compartment in his Box of Things.
He was now ready. Fish on!
****
Chapter 6 – Fish on!
Fish off. That's what Ambrosius thought as he exited his shack. He had sort of half
expected it, but that didn't stop him going bright red with anger and embarrassment.
 
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