June 25, 2015

Honestly

I cursed the wrestling ability of bedchairs and sleeping bags as I set up my little shelter next to the lake. Its the worst bit of making your temporary home as the bed is heavy, unwieldy and barely fits in it but I scored two falls and won the bout.
 
The lake looked oddly coloured and was flat calm, disturbed only by the many small roach that live there, dimpling the surface hear and there. But the banks and especially this swim looked undisturbed which is what this place is all about - solitude. I was soon baiting the channel on the far side and hoping that a patrolling fish or two might find my bait over the next couple of days.

As I'm still nursing an ailment or two I restricted myself to one rod - a Hardy LRH - and a horrible plastic Daiwa Regal because it was the first one I found in my store of such things that could be switched to right hand drive. Feeling a little disadvantaged should the moment of panic arrive in the night, I went through my bite reaction routine in my mind then got myself some food and sat reading until dusk. Heaven.

I dropped off but was suddenly aware that Cane - on lesson one in being a bivvy dog, the overnighter - was up and growling. He'd had a right go at a couple of swans and the three herons that flew in together but we'd had a chat about that and had been quiet calm. But now he was bristling and started to bark. He leapt forward to go off and chase whatever he'd heard but I grabbed him and sat calming him for a minute or two when I had a bleep!

As I found shoes and head torch I was at the rod as a nice run developed and I lifted into a solid weight. In this swim the fish sit in a gully which takes a bit of persuasion to get them out, then they come begrudgingly through numerous but sparse weed beds and I've found that a steady pump and wind will usually win the day. This fish however, was feeling particularly stubborn and I was twice met with stalemate but, the rod has a lot of power and I just kept the pressure on and slowly but steadily the fish moved again.

Do you know what I mean when you have doubts about your hook hold? I had full confidence in my set up but I was wondering about just how this fish reacted to the pressure... or maybe it was just BIG!

As it approached my bank so it kited right - like they all do. There's an overhanging bush in the water and carp just feel the need to pop over and have a look but I put on plenty of side strain and kept the rod low..... it worked. Then it decided to repeat the manoeuvre but at high speed so we went through the same little routine and back it came but it kept going for the tree on the other side. The rod was now bent to the handle but I don't mess about with fish and this one was coming in.... and it did, right into the waiting net.

I rested it for a few minutes whilst I went through the laying out and wetting of unhooking mat and weigh sling and found the camera. I then lifted my prize from the water and felt the colossal weight in the net. As I climbed the bank to the flat area where everything was laid out my back was telling me that I'd overdone it but I gritted my teeth and gently lowered the fish and unfurled the mesh.

Bugger! There, neatly in the root of the left pectoral fin was my size 8 hook. I gazed in awe at my biggest ever carp and said out loud "You don't count mate". To make it worse the fish had crapped out loads of my bait so it was feeding and I may have simply used too long a hair. I was gutted but went through the vein process of weighing it and took a couple of snaps then slid it back to it's watery home where I promise, I shall do everything I can to remake the acquaintance.



It was only a little after midnight but I didn't recast. I got back into bed and slept well......... eventually.

When I woke I felt a little like someone who'd put their winning lottery ticket through the wash but soon shook off the disappointment, after all, a day that felt pretty fishless had produced one and today the wind was pushing hard up to the narrow end of the lake - stalking time.

I headed for the bay and found a few nice fish basking, only one was stirring up the silt and it was impossible to get a bait to it. Never mind, I know a place. Once there I set a little trap near a lily bed and retired to write my diary and to educate a manic dog that he doesn't need to run everywhere and that not all squirrels need chasing. So he went for a paddle - through the deepest, smelliest marsh mud you could imagine.

Out of the blue the rod was away and I grabbed it - right handed - then fumbled to change hands and struck. There was a weight then nothing - Bugger again! This was followed by a spell when I forgot how to cast and use a catapult. I sat and sulked until the curse lifted but I knew this swim was a bust.

I made the long steamy walk back to the car and headed to the nearby village for an ice cream. This lifted my mood and I was soon back at base and fishing on my first choice spot. I spent the time watching the thousands of midges that formed a little insect tornado in front of me. By following individuals (not easy), you could see that they flew quite steadily up and down an area where the air was evidently warm. Its when they reach the turn point that they appear manic and give the impression of a swirling confusion, its just a trick of the eye.



Such heady observations were interrupted by a run at a little after 2pm. I suspected bream but was soon in the old pump, wind routine as another lump came towards my bank. No drama apart from a late flurry and a 26.7 was soon returned. I was very satisfied.



That evening at about 11.30 I was away again. I leapt out of bed and went into my routine of head torch out of the right shoe, both shoes on, close bait runner, lift into fish... However, a dog, deeply asleep and laying on my shoes failed to help in the dark. I went by the light of a June sky and returned for the light once the dog had sat up and yawned.

This fish came in like a sack full of kittens and was literally wound to the net. I have to say I was unimpressed and, as guide to just how blaze you can get about fish sizes, I considered returning it without so much as a photo. I soon came to my senses and did the deed after all, it was 25.8.


Again I opted for some kip and a rest of my bones rather than face another night time frenzy. My sleep would have been a good one except that Cane decided to jump on the bedchair and sprawl across me taking up most of the room. He's still got a way to go to get his certificate as fishing mutt of the year.



The next morning a bite brought my first tench from the venue. I've seen some nice ones in the past but this was just a small male and it did its best against over-heavy gear. There was drama at the end when I left the fish in the net for a moment and it discovered the hole some wretched rodent had made. I had to land it again with the line running out of the net and back into the top.
I was honestly happier with this fish than the wimp of a carp that I'd had before. Funny thing fishing.




The next couple of fish were small bream and were met with less enthusiasm.

A trip with highs and lows, a test of my honesty (what would you have done?) and a mind boggling struggle with size and values. I can honestly say it was great fun




June 16, 2015

Yay, Fishing Again!

I've been fishing! After a bit of a wait its come as something of a relief but I suppose its only been like the old close season. How did we manage back then?



Anyway, I was staying with my sister down in sunny Devon and we'd arranged for a day on her hubby's boat. Now, when he said he was going to get a boat I suggested something like a nice Orkney Longliner in 16' or so for poodling around the estuary. Did he listen? No, of course not. So we boarded 28' fishing boat which, I have to admit, is just the sort of boat I have spent many days dreaming about. I used to do a lot of sea fishing and have part owned several small fibre glass money pits and always yearned for riches and a mooring. David has both and he was only too happy to skipper me on a breezy day.

I'd be happy with the tender

Plenty of tech on board
Passing Salcombe the fish finder already showed plenty of fish about and when we hit the main water, my first drop brought four struggling mackerel aboard. It was too easy which is the nature of mackerel. Its either a coconut every time or you spend your entire fishing day searching for the damned things. The fact that I was using a multiplier outfit also meant I was fishing left handed so I coped admirably.



We soon had enough along with a couple of pollack and some launce that were returned. I don't know the area well enough to know where to bottom fish and the gusty wind was such that positioning the boat would have been problematic, so it was back ashore and a very tasty evening meal.

On the estuary beach I spotted this brute, a barrel jellyfish. I'd earlier found some small, black grape like clusters that later research proved to be cuttlefish eggs, a first for me. Apparently, some people have kept them in sea water and they've hatched! Man, I'd love to do that - cuttlefish are one of my favourite animals.


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June the 16th is upon us and I felt suitably confident in my left handed abilities to have a go on a new pool to me. It only holds small carp and a few tench but bites are assured, its little fished and the bird song surrounding the venue is wonderful. 


I baited next to a lily bed and lobbed my float gear out into the general area and I sat back. Okay, I cheated. I couldn't Wallis cast left handed and, truth be told, I doubt that I ever shall but, when the float sailed away I hooked and played a small fish to the net with ease. A couple more followed but they were even smaller. My arm began to ache so, after less than a couple of hours, I packed. I'd managed to fish, I'd caught and its the Glorious 16th - what could be better.




June 09, 2015

The Passing of Time

Its June and the summer is revving up for it's glorious opportunity to bring growth to the countryside and to bring warmth and joy to us all. Except its cold and the dawn temperatures are near freezing. Ah well, it'll get better soon, won't it? That's the trouble with these warm springs, they invariably get evened out during the summer but hey, it could be worse, it could be affecting my fishing.

Yes, I'm still bloody grounded as my shoulder creaks and groans back to proper use and my back finds new and exciting ways to stop me from doing much. Am I getting testy? Of course I'm getting bloody testy! There's so much I want to do but cannot that I'm driving myself and my long suffering best lady well and truly up the wall. The time is passing very slowly but, at the same time, the year seems to be dripping through my fingers at an alarming rate. Its very frustrating.

On the bright side I've joined a new lake syndicate. I've had a good look around it and it will certainly see me on the banks soon one way or another. I've decided to give it another week or so then start fishing - left handed. I reckon I can reel with my right hand fairly easily and let my left take the weight of a rod and enormous fish..... maybe. Casting may be a tad comical so please, no following me with the video cameras.

Here be stalking places

Let me at it!

The 'passing of time' has been at the forefront of my thinking of late. The idea that I am well and truly crocked and that the procedures I've had and the one I am due are but sticking plasters over a wound that will effect me for the rest of my life has been sinking in. This has all been brought home by looking through boxes and boxes of old film slides that my father collected during his life. Seeing the family looking so young really does drive home the inevitability of ageing. Its something that we tend to shrug off until we reach a certain point in our lives and I have evidently reached that point. 

Ho hum, here's a few pictures from when I were a lad. The first is one of my all time favourites as it shows the day when my grand father was staying with us and came out with my dad to collect me after I'd fished at Yeovilton Weir. I had a net full of dace and roach most of the latter being caught on trotted silkweed. He was quietly impressed and held the biggest fish for a while, turning it in his hand in appreciation like he was admiring an antique. To have that silent nod of approval from the one relative that had helped me to become an angler meant the world.


Hopefully my next blog will show some pictures of me holding my first captures of the season but in the mean time - here's young me!

I'm too old for this trike, buy me a bicycle!
The allure of water has always been there
Lost in the patterns of turbulence 
I haven't changed a bit.