Friday, 24 January 2020

New year, same thing


I keep telling myself I’m going to do something different but the Pike gear is always ready and it’s just so easy to load up and go; besides I enjoy it and that’s the only important thing.  Recently I’ve been very lucky with conditions when I’ve fished, in fact I couldn’t have picked better weather.  Not surprisingly two trips afloat in a regular haunt have been productive, I haven’t really mixed the methods up much because I haven’t needed to, static deadbaits dropped into likely spots have been picked up regularly.  Over a dozen Pike in two trips with fish to over seventeen pounds, this is good fishing by anyone’s standards but the stretch is showing the signs of the over attention of other anglers.  Some of the Pike are showing the scars caused by people who don’t know how to unhook them; it looks like hooks have been ripped out, along with lumps of Pike.  Even in this out of the way stretch of water people will make the effort when the fishing is good, it’s just a shame they can’t make an effort to learn how to do it properly. 

On a recent trip I shared the boat with Mr W, a friend of many years who has only discovered angling in the last few months.  Having spent the summer catching silvers and Carp he wanted to try his hand at Pike fishing so we arranged a day.  In the meantime he went off and caught his first ever Pike which weighed over seventeen pounds so he was a very happy bunny.  We set off and I talked him through the methods as well as a few do’s and don’ts, I warned him that it would probably be a long time before he caught a Pike bigger than his first.  It didn’t take him long before he had his first Pike of the day and was delighted with a fish of around six pounds.  During the rest of the day I caught a few and he missed a couple but was learning all the time.  We had the radio in the boat, listening to England pile on the runs against South Africa which added to our enjoyment despite Talksport’s coverage being crap compared to TMS.  As the light began to fade all we needed was another fish to Mr W’s rod to cap a very enjoyable day.  Sure enough his smelt dropped close by a reedbed was taken and having learned from earlier mistakes he hooked a good fish that stripped line off the clutch and banged the rod over.  He brought it back to the boat where I managed to net it first time.  Parting the mesh revealed a much bigger fish than I expected.  As we were tied up to the bank we clambered onto dry land where I unhooked and weighed a belter of nineteen pounds.  Mr W likes this Pike fishing lark.

Having made a new year’s resolution to catch a Pike from my local river I set about trying to achieve this.  If I had any sense I would have fished one of the stretches I know well that have been productive for me in the past.  Instead I tried an area I’ve rarely fished that has only produced a handful of small Pike.  I set off with one rod, a net and a rucksack holding everything I might need.  I set up with a float rig and used this to trot a smelt down with the current, when I could trot no further I slowly worked the bait back upstream.  This method is good for covering water and has been very productive on this river in the past.  But not today.  I covered well over a mile of river but didn’t see a sign of a fish of any kind.  In hindsight maybe I should have used a lure rod as I could have covered water quicker but I doubt it would have made much difference.  I did see Kingfishers, Pheasants, Tits (!) and a Wren and very few humans but after a couple of hours I’d had enough.  Next time I’ll do things differently.

Monday, 30 December 2019

2019


21st December 2019
It feels like it’s rained for forty days and forty nights and for the first time in a very long time my local river is in proper flood, it’s in the fields where it shouldn’t be and hammering through where it should.  Hopefully a few years of accumulated silt and debris will be moved and the river will be more approachable in future?  It’s that time of year when the world goes mad and I need a bit of time by the water to forget all the bullshit but free time shrinks and to be honest I’ve fished hard up until now and I need a rest.  When the festive fuckery is finished I’ll be well up for getting afloat.  

I’d had a hankering to get my bank kit out again and recently found a reason to visit a gravel pit that I’ve fished rarely over the years.  I remembered clear, weedy water, comfortable swims, a few blanks but also a couple of big Pike.  I’d forgotten a railway line, a busy road and industrial units and I’d also forgotten the big reed beds made covering water very difficult in most of the swims.  I just ignored the carp anglers.  The day was wet and windy meaning I had to carry more kit that I like, this and the carp anglers meant moves were reduced to just one.  I haven’t fished anywhere so accessible in a few years and I’d completely forgotten how much I dislike what is for most, the ‘normal’ angling experience.  I blanked, didn’t enjoy it so won’t be rushing back. 

Other than that December has been a quieter month, tough going at the special place but a few Pike have obliged at other out of the way places.  I’ll probably have another day afloat to soothe myself from the assault of society before the year ends; hopefully the day is not too far away. 

29th December 2019
A few days respite from work, eating too much, drinking too much, you know the rest…  The Christmas bollocks always makes me grumpy but once it gets here I enjoy the good bits.  We did get out of the house a few times but two weeks without wetting a line is way too long so I had to take the opportunity before stumbling back into the work days.  I was up before the alarm despite being into a lazy routine but dragging a teenage son out of his bed was more challenging.  We left home around 0700, for once the cross county roads were quiet; as was the car, Isaac was practically mute beside me.  I even turned the stereo down for once, blasting Royksopp out didn’t seem to fit well on this Sunday morning.

It was 0800 before we made our first casts; we used two rods each, fishing deadbaits near and far banks and also shared a fifth rod which drifted a bait down with the gentle current.  We’d picked a decent mild day with a light south westerly breeze which unusually wasn’t sweeping rain clouds towards us.  For the first time in a very long time I actually fished beneath glimpses of a blue sky, with the boat tucked into the reeds we were sheltered and comfortable.  The water had a downstream ripple and was well coloured, unsurprising with all the rain we’ve had.

We’d hardly got settled before I heard the sound of vehicles and a few minutes later a couple of Pikers were walking the banks.  With a mile long stretch to go at they just had to set themselves up right opposite us, friendly enough but noisy.  Even our unsubtle recasts couldn’t dissuade them.  It didn’t help that Isaac’s upstream rod started travelling, as we couldn’t hide the commotion of a nice fish fighting hard coming to the net, one nil to my son.  Our neighbours were slow to set up but definitely weren’t going anywhere, they probably guessed we’d be moving at some point and wanted to wait it out.

Time passed without any action but there were definitely Pike at home, three or four decent sized swirls giving their presence away.  It would have been silly to move with fish showing; our neighbours were fishing the margins.  We spotted an Egret fly over and a Kestrel hovered downstream, the wind rattled the reeds.  Around 0915 my downstream rod was on the move but the bait was dropped before I wound down.  I chucked it back into the same spot and a few minutes later it was heading for mid river once again.  This time it didn’t stop and I bent into a surprising weight that dragged the rod down and upstream.  After this initial surge of energy it was soon plodding and brought into the net.  I didn’t want to make a fuss but this was a nice chunky fish in good nick and well worth weighing so out came the scales and a pleasing weight recorded,.  We were being watched so I slipped it back without a photo then regretted it straight away.  After that I gave up and moved downstream, am I anti-social or paranoid?  Perhaps both but an isolated piece of water and the only other two humans around had to fish so fucking close!  Even in the out of the way places I’ll always have to contend with other Pikers, at least here everything else is close to perfect.

Our first move was a short one but an hour without a fish was too long so we were off again, soon settled with the rods scattered again.  Today Isaac was without a phone or any electronic gadgetry so the chatter flowed; there are many more mutual topics of conversation as he gets older.   But for the next hour most of the chat was fishy as we’d dropped onto some Pike.  I started things off with a thin, otter ravaged fish that should have been a double then quickly followed it with a shorter, fatter Pike that was.  Both took smelts fished tight to the downstream bank.  Isaac lost a fish on a bait cast mid stream then I had a dropped take on the margin rod again.  A few minutes later the smelt on the same rod was on the move again and I soon boated another fat fish but the smallest of the day so far.  It was 4-1 to Dad but Isaac was taking it well, even so I made him recast the rod so it was now his, as was the shared rod.  I wanted him to catch another even if he wasn’t fussed. The next take didn’t take long but this time it was Isaac’s rod cast upstream.  He wound into it and thankfully it stayed hooked.  We soon had our sixth fish of the day and as the camera hadn’t yet been out I decided it should.

Had we stayed on I’m sure we’d have continued to find fish but we’d only planned a short trip and by now it was midday so we decided enough was enough.  Back in the car and back on the road home, Happy Mondays playing on the stereo, I’m not sure if I have one of those in store…
So that was my last day of fishing in 2019, a year that has followed the usual pattern of successful and hugely enjoyable Pike fishing at the beginning and end, sandwiching a few months of catching bugger all of note whilst the sun shines.  I know why this is and my last two trips of the year remind me why I can’t change my ways, too much.

Other than fishing I’ve endured another year of addiction to our cricket team which has become even more unpredictable than Pakistan at their maddest moments.  The World cup win was torturous and only enjoyable after the match had ended but the feeling when Buttler broke the stumps…  It wasn’t just the tournament, the four years of brilliant ODI cricket deserved reward.  But the test team drive me mad and I keep coming back to the captain.  The Ashes were brilliant though and that afternoon at Headingly was as good as I’ve ever experienced, albeit by TMS.

And we’ve seen a load of live music this year too, mostly good.  Starting with Fucked up, there was Fat White Family (twice), Paul Weller, Primal Scream (twice), Stereophonics, Underworld, Hawkwind and many others that slip my mind.  Eels are always a highlight and we saw them play in Nottingham but best of all might have been Loyle Carner at Latitude.

My fishing highlight?  Well it will definitely be a Pike because I’ve caught bugger all else over the last twelve months.  Seeing both my children catch Pike this year has been lovely, Isaac has been doing it fairly regularly for a few years now but Maddie’s was her first for almost a decade.  For myself an unusually prolific day on a headbanger of a water which started with a couple of nice fish from my first stop followed later in the day by a fish I’ve happily? avoided catching for forty years.  She fought like she was furious and I was sure she was bigger but for the first time my scales stopped at 19.15.  I might have been disappointed for a second or two but it’s just a number and that Pike wasn’t the biggest of 2019.

At some point during the last year I realised it was actually forty years since I caught my first Pike, forty fucking years?  The first was caught from an idyllic weirpool on my local River Gipping on a live Gudgeon in August 1979.  It's been a few years since I've had a Pike from this river and the last Gudgeon landed has fallen from my memory.  There's two worthy challenges for the fishing year ahead.

So 2020.  How the fuck did that happen?  Happy New Year.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Spice o' Life

November, more Pike fishing, what else?  Do I get bored?  Very rarely.  I do get tired though, by mid November the long days and nights at the special place take their toll, no matter how it's been fishing.  I need a change of pace and different scenery.

A new Pikelines arrived at the beginning of the month and was very good in most places.  Dave Harrison's article was my favourite and I also enjoyed Bill Winship's piece, I'm not always a fan of the latter.  Steve Rogowski is another regular writer and I remember reading some of his old articles that were very good.  In more recent times he seems to be demonstrating the art of catching Jacks with some questionable attitudes to accepted modern opinions and practice.  There was also another Catch Cult, after a sticky period number thirteen is here at last and mostly very good.  I really enjoyed the article on Finnish Piking and Brian Ingram's story was excellent.  Disappointed to see there's no room for dear old Neville's Piking adventures, essential reading?

Life speeds up in the late autumn, everyone suddenly remembers the festival of greed is approaching and we're all running around like headless politicians.  It's harder to find the time when the C word gets nearer, the fishing fix is sometimes a thing of convenience, I need places that are less demanding.  

Last week I took out a boat on a different system and dropped into some fish at one of those 'sometimes' spots, sometimes you find them home, sometimes you don't.  For a while it looked like the Pike weren't home which is a pisser because it was a long row and a windy day.  But eventually a shad produced the first of several Jacks over the next hour.  The next one took half a bluey fished on the bottom, the third one fell to a smelt drifted under a float and finally I caught another on smelt as it was slowly retrieved.   I also missed a fish on a drifted bait then that was the end of that spell, the rest of the morning was uneventful.  As I rowed back to the yard I trolled a deadbait behind me and not far short of base this was taken and I boated one more Pike.  That brought my tally to five and each was caught on a different method.  That is one of the reasons I never get bored of Pike fishing.

The fish below was caught from another water on another day and this one took a livebait!


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Autumn

It's my favourite time of the year.  It takes ages to get here then all of a sudden it's just there and I'm unprepared in every way and my mind is not in the same county.  
Looking forward it's daunting.  It's going to be physically hard work, my weekends will be cramped and uncomfortable at times, the fishing will be difficult.  Can I put myself through it again?  Of course I can!
I throw myself into it, am I mad dog or Englishman?  At the beginning I make the same old mistakes, fuck things up but then it clicks and I feel like I'm in sixth gear.  The water feels like home, the wildlife are my neighbours, the fish feel close...   
For five or six weeks every year I become totally obsessed, there is nothing in my mad fishy world that comes close and there never has been.  My body may be in the room but my mind is often in the boat.
 Then bang the clocks change and I realise autumn is coming to an end and soon it will be the proper winter.  I'll still be fishing but the days will be cold, short and colourless.  The fish will be more localised, if I can find them....  I'll be trying.









Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Times like this


It’s become a cliché in our little world of angling but there really is much more to fishing than catching fish.  Mr T is one of my oldest friends and unusual in as much as our friendship began in pubs and clubs rather than the riverbank.  Still Mr T is an angler but spends his time hurling leads into the North Sea in the hope of catching something he can eat.  We have fished together before but it had been far too long… 

We’d pencilled in a bit of lure chucking once the weather had started to cool and now was the time.  We met at 1600 and drove through concrete suburbia straining with the start of rush hour.  Half an hour later, concrete roads turned to gravel tracks, Mr T opened the gate on my rural oasis and was totally wowed by the scene in front of him.  This beautiful little spot does take people by surprise and I hope I don’t take it for granted.

With a boat loaded I rowed us down the stretch with Mr T trolling a shallow diving Rapala out the back.  The sky was clear and bright but the wind was a fresh Easterly which gave me a bit of a workout as I pulled on the oars.  I expected a take at any time and this feeling only heightened as we passed into deeper water but still no fish showed their presence.  I kept rowing and Mr T kept guiding his lure, by now we were in the area I’d found fish at this time last year, they didn’t appear to be around now.  We continued a bit further until we reached shallow water where I dropped a mudweight and made a brew.  Time for a rethink?  As we sat sipping a Kestrel hovered to the east and Curlew pipped as they flew over to the farmland to the west.

With hot tea inside us we changed to casting lures from the drifting boat, this was always part of my plan but I’d banked on Mr T catching a fish by now, this was still my only goal for the session.  I rowed upwind and allowed the wind to take us, Mr T continued with the Rapala while I fished a ‘real eel’ high up above the weed beds.  Every now and then I’d row us back upwind a way then recommence drifting and casting but still nothing pulled back.  I switched to a Shad and on this I felt a fishy pull but didn’t hook up, this was repeated shortly afterwards and Mr T had something swirl at his lure but we were still fishless.

Time passed and the sun began to sink making the sky a constantly changing canvas of colours.  We chatted and laughed, it really wouldn’t matter if we caught but I was still trying hard.  By now I’d switched to a Slider and it was this lure that finally done the business, I felt a sharp tug and managed to set the hook this time.  The fish was small and soon alongside the boat where it released itself when I grabbed the trace.  Job done?  No, I wanted Mr T to catch! 

I rowed us back upwind and we drifted through the successful area again.  There was a splash and swirl, Yes Mr T hooked up!  I barked instructions but I didn’t have to, Mr T knew what he was doing.  I didn’t want any mistakes here so scooped the fish up in the net at the first opportunity causing a cheer from us both and high fives.  We laughed and grinned and I think I was probably the most excited of the pair of us.  Back upwind again and on the next pass through the productive area we both moved fish but both failed to hook up.  We fished on, gradually working our way back to the slip with the light now fading fast.  By the time we made it back to base it was properly dark, we laughed at my inept attempts to position the boat in a fresh cross wind but eventually got everything sorted.

As we drove through tight country lanes we had to slow down for sprinting Partridges and wait while two Deer crossed the road.  Sights an angler takes for granted but lovely all the same.  We found a quiet pub just off the main road and treated ourselves to a well earned pint.  The conversation continued, as ever veering from quite deep to very shallow with everything in between.  The setting was relaxed, the company couldn’t be bettered, we both agreed that we felt like settling in for the evening.  It was just as well I had my car outside, our drinking history is a long messy one and we are both too old for those kinds of shenanigans now.  We made our drinks last in an attempt to prolong what had been a wonderful evening but eventually had to drag ourselves home.   Modern life puts value on piles of wealth and fancy possessions, this is bollocks.  The most valuable commodities are love, family, friendships and time.  I know I repeat myself but times like this are priceless.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Diversions.


I made a trip to Norfolk in mid August.  We had to drop some supplies off at Maddie’s new house in Norwich so the two of us set off north with a little space left in the car for a bit of a fishing expedition.  The house looks good, solid and spacious.  After we’d finished here we head east to Broadland.  At the staithe everything was ship shape, after draining and shifting the boat my next job was to affix my new engine.  The old Mariner had died, long live the new Mariner.  With the boat on the water and loaded, the engine started easily so Maddie and I set off out of the dyke.

Not far into the broad I realised I’d forgotten to top up the petrol so putted over to a sheltered area where I cut the engine and filled up.  Re-starting was not straight forward but after resting for a bit I got it to fire. 

We crossed the Broad and away, the engine pushes the boat nicely and increasing the revs doesn’t seem to make it much faster.  A slow meander down, checking out spots for later in the year then we settled into my favourite spot just inside a big bay.  Straight away it was obvious that there was much more weed here this year and the weed is growing in areas where it’s usually clear.  There was enough clear water to fish two swimfeeders on heli rigs with short hooklengths and maggots as bait.  Bites came from the off but they were hard to hit.  Eventually we connected with a few and brought a procession of Rudd to the boat.  An hour here was enough, it didn’t look right for Bream in this spot.  The engine restarted fine, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

The day was mostly cloudy with a moderate north westerly wind, as we motored back towards the staithe I pondered a second fishing spot and ended up in a spot I’ve rarely fished before.  Once again bites came quickly but this time we hooked Bream, not big ones but definitely the species I was after.  We packed up when we ran out of groundbait , in ideal circumstances I would have liked to have fished for longer with Bream located but all good.


I had a couple of futile trips down into the Valley, searching for the impossible Carp.  The first time I fished from the bank as the wind was howling.  For some bizarre reason I took a feeder rod and some corn, after constant bites and a couple of Rudd I became bored.  The Carp rods did nothing to brighten my day either, the cricket on the radio didn't help much.  A few days later I went back again and as I’d put a bit of bait into my swim on the previous trip I returned.  Would some Carp or Tench be mooching around?  No.



The final weekend of August, I decided to head back to Norfolk for a crack at the Bream, my nephew Ollie fancied a day out too.  We left mid morning and had the most infuriating journey.  I realised I needed petrol and my slight detour to the garage went a bit awry and I ended up driving on roads I’d never been on before.  We eventually made it back to the A road but things only got worse.  Only in Norfolk would they close one of the county’s main roads but NOT mark out a diversion route.  More miles on unridden roads.  We made it to the staithe about an hour later than planned.

We loaded and launched on a bright breezy afternoon and left the dyke with a plan.  I’d located Bream a couple of weeks previously so it was to this area I headed, this journey was hampered by blind sailors charging us.  When we emerged from the plastic armada Sod’s law intervened again.  A large holiday cruiser had dropped weights in the exact spot I wanted to fish.  No matter, I turned around and headed to another spot I usually catch Bream, this was vacant if a bit exposed.  We quickly set up a feeder rod each and began pinging them into the channel.  Bites came quickly and regularly to begin with and we caught a few Roach each but after an hour bites had slowed and no Bream had shown.  A larger cruiser came past us and it looked like the one which had been in our way so we tidied up and moved.

Half an hour later we were fishing again and I was full of confidence, there were loads of Bream here last time!  First cast my tip pulled round and I struck into what could only be a Bream, heavy and plodding as I slowly drew it towards me.  Unfortunately the fish became weeded and dropped off, no worries, there’ll be more.  We put a load of bait out and continued fishing but bites were slow and tricky, the few we connected with were Roach or Perch.  Time passed and the fishing didn’t improve but we drank cool beer and enjoyed the broad, celebrating that Town were still top of the league and England were still in the Ashes.  The afternoon turned to evening and the sky clouded over, it even spat a bit of rain at us.  With lower light levels I felt more confident and at last we started to hook Bream, at least Ollie did.  I netted three for him but my rod was still just producing the odd Roach.  Then with a series of swirls and bow waves an Otter crashed through our swim and the bites all but stopped.

We got off the water with the falling light and headed for home, better prepared for the quirks of Norfolk’s Highway department.  It had been a poor day in a fishing sense but a very enjoyable social day out.

So that has been summer.  The settings may have been secluded and beautiful but it has to be said the fishing has been rubbish.  I really should concede that I don’t have enough time to put in the required effort to properly tackle the Valley.  The way my fishing time falls I really would be better off fishing more prolific waters but I’ll almost certainly have one more go next year.

Friday, 9 August 2019

No cigar

By 1700 I was anchored up fishing three rods; a mid water pop up was cast upstream out of the way, I'd dropped a PVA bag rig beneath a gnarly old overhang and swung a chod rig into clearer water midstream.  Before setting up I'd paddled about a bit, the water was more coloured than before, some kind of algal bloom?  I didn't spot any fish so my chosen swim was random, one of those spots that just looks right.

I hadn't fished for a month!  Last time I had time it was just too fucking hot to go outside.  Today was better, a nice comfortably warm afternoon with a bit of cloud and a light north easterly breeze.  I settled back with TMS on the radio, England were in a proper scrap with Australia, the last time I fished I had listened to South Africa beat the Aussies in the world cup.  Another defeat for the sand-paperers  would go down well.

Once again I was fishing blind, just hoping something would pass by and find my bait.  Meanwhile there was a piping sound and two Curlew flew over quickly, I can't remember seeing them here before?  A Sparrowhawk was active, using the treeline as cover, the calm water was alive with insects and a million Rudd disturbed the surface, as far as the eye could see.  A few bubbles broke the surface, anything could have caused them but they give an angler hope.  The cricket was concerning, the Aussies were fighting back...

After two hours on the spot I was getting restless.  Although I had seen some interesting patches of bubbles I suspected these were caused by Pike launching themselves to strike at the shoals of Rudd.  I had itchy feet and no great confidence in what I was doing, after a month away from the water I decided that spending a bit of time paddling around and checking things out would be time well spent.  So this I did and found two or three areas that looked like the species I'm after might have visited them at some point recently but I caught no sight of the fish themselves.

Around 1945 I anchored up again and set to work getting the rods out.  This swim is one in which I've seen Carp before at least.  I decided to chill out here till the sun goes down, I was fishing so I was in with a chance.  The problem I have here is always the same, finding the fucking things!  And when I'm in the punt I wish I was on the bank; when I'm on the bank I wish...  

Half an hour later it seemed I may have some luck at long last, there had been some explosive patches of bubbles that could only have been caused by large bottom dwelling fish moving or feeding.  There was no evidence to suggest 'Pike' this time.  Yes!  A few minutes later a Carp stuck it's back out, I'm in with a chance.

The light faded slowly, a Buzzard flew upstream in silhouette, more patches of bubbles broke surface and I just had a feeling there were fish about.  I've got the hang of arranging the punt after all the practice of the last couple of years so I can keep movement to a minimum and I was screened against the tree behind me.

At 2045 I saw a bow wave coming downstream towards me and before I had time to wonder, a bastard Otter poked it's ugly head out.  It swam to within a rod length of the punt before stopping abruptly and hissing at me.  "No I'm fishing here, you can fuck off".  That wasn't a translation, I said it out loud.  The wasteful murderer dived and sped in an arc through the swim sending up clouds of bubbles that were far more impressive than any the fish had produced.  

Well that's fucked things hasn't it?  There's no sight that dents my confidence more but I remember two occasions when an otter through the swim had been precursor to me catching a Carp.  And sure enough there were more bubbles over the next few minutes and another large fish rolled.  I'm still in with a chance.

Around 2100 there was a strange clicking sound and fuck me it's a baitrunner, the mid water bait was moving.  I made contact with something that felt small to begin but actually heavier as I got it closer.  For some reason I thought 'Pike' though I can't put my finger on why.  Before I'd got to the 'where's the net' point the line went slack, I wound in to find the 10lbs hooklength had parted but not near the hook where I'd have expected it.  Pike?  I'll never know.

I had the feeling I'd disturbed the swim terminally but fished on for half an hour with just the two rods.  I didn't see anything, not even a bastard Otter.  I chucked a few handfuls of boilies into the swim before leaving. 





Twenty four hours later I was back at the lake.  As this was the closest I'd been to a fish here for over a year it made sense to get back as soon as possible and predictably I set up in the same spot again.  If anything the conditions were better tonight; more cloud cover and more strength in the Easterly wind.  I was set up by 1730 using the same tactics as previously, I felt happy with where my baits were sitting and was confident in what I was doing.  If fish visited this area again I felt I was in with a chance  Unfortunately I felt less confident about England's position in the test match.

The evening passed pleasantly but uneventfully.  I saw far less signs of fish than the previous day although there were still regular patches of bubbles nothing substantial rolled within sight.  After a while the evening began to feet different too, something inside me knew it wasn't going to happen.  At 2030 light rain rolled in, I was unprepared for this but stuck it out for another half hour before chucking it in.