The weather was all wrong, another in a sequence of frosty, cold, dull days. However I had a full day ahead of me so there was only one choice of venue, the only place I want to spend my time. Giles was up for the trip too and despite the poor conditions, a few fish had been coming out and we felt we had a chance. Stuff the weather, we were going to give it our best shot anyway.
For some reason, car journeys with Giles are never mundane affairs, something always seems to happen. Today there was no near car accident or anything like that. We were cruising along easily in the pre dawn darkness, Giles went to light a cigarette and the next thing I know there’s a strange sound, an awful smell and I look round to see Giles sitting with his head in a cloud of smoke. Yes he’d set fire to his hair, a large chunk of fringe was now a frazzled mess on the car floor. I suppose it could have been serious but this didn’t stop me from laughing until my guts ached. It was bloody funny and I had tears of laughter in my eyes, even Giles saw the funny side after a while.
We launched the boat without problem, the dyke was surprisingly free of ice. We motored out as the light began to grow in the east and were soon anchored up in “the basin” fishing three rods each. We used similar methods, a couple of deadbaits were fished static on the bottom while a third was used to drift a bait with the wind, then slowly sink & draw it back to the boat. Within ten minutes I looked up to see Giles float moving purposefully towards the boat, he had a take on a static Bluey and by the time he set the hook it was virtually underneath us. A brief battle ensued before a nice fish of around thirteen pounds was netted.
Success early on, excellent! That made the early start in the bitter cold well worth it! Surely this would be the first of many? We stayed in the first spot for about ninety minutes, then started following a plan to keep moving every hour or so. The thinking was; it’s been very cold for over a week so we didn’t expect Pike to be moving about very much, therefore we needed to move, recast regularly and cover as much water as possible to try and put a Pike or two in the boat. We searched a couple of spots in the basin area without success, then tried “the bay” with the same result and so on to the island and the narrows. The bright spots of the day came around noon. Firstly we were honoured to see a Bittern fly serenely past then disappear into the reeds. Then, a few minutes later a large dog Otter put in a brief appearance. I think this is possibly the first time I’ve seen an Otter in the wild in mainland Britain. Richard was fishing from his own boat and he too struggled but did manage a small fish early on.
The weather forecasters had got it spot on, it was bloody freezing, I’d go as far as to say it has been years since I’ve felt this cold while fishing! We kept trying; in fact we fished a total of seven spots without success and only gave in when the sun sank spectacularly in the west. We often stay into darkness but not today, it was just too bloody cold!! Another blank for me but at least I’d managed to put the boat on a fish for Giles, we both blamed the conditions for the lack of sport. I am quite prepared to fish the system through the worst winter weather but I’ll be bloody glad when it turns mild again!