Richard and I had a plan! The weather had turned mild at last but the forecast was for a wild windy day. Our plan was to meet up early and travel a fair way by boat to fish a sheltered part of the system. This area is very hit and miss but has turned up some good fish for us in the past and we had neglected a little recently. The long range forecast had predicted cold weather to come and we felt sure the Pike would be feeding ahead of this cold front, if we could find them. Fishing from separate boats we could search, keep in contact by text and try our hardest to find some fish.
It could have been a great idea but I overslept by an hour and after a nightmare journey (bloody road works!) it was well and truly daylight by the time I launched the boat. While doing so I chatted to a couple of friendly locals who were also setting out for a day’s fishing. It was nice to reaffirm that most of the guys fishing the system are good people and nothing like the morons who have soured the various internet forums lately. Anyway, I launched fully intending to fish the sheltered area as planned, I’d spoken to Richard on the phone and he was already settled into a swim that had produced for us in the past.
As I motored along, it was evident that the wind was nowhere near as strong as had been forecast. I watched a pair of awesome harriers circling over the reedbeds close to the boat on my left. I never tire of watching these birds, they never fail to impress me. Away to the south I could make out three large pale blobs flying across the bay and I’m almost sure these were the Cranes. While looking south my eyes scanned the basin area which was empty of boats, had a nice ripple and looked spot on. I couldn’t resist dropping in there for an hour so altered course and was soon anchored up with four deadbaits scattered around the boat.
An hour or so later I was on the move, back to the plan, heading towards the area I’d intended to start in. I on an area I hadn’t tried before with moored boats along with a side drain and it was looking good. The drain traditionally shelters shoals of bait fish in the winter and my thinking was Pike should be in the area feeding up ahead of the forecast cold spell. I was happy here and felt confident that a fish would put in an appearance. One bait was tucked up nicely beside a moored boat, surely this would be the one? Unfortunately this didn’t last as two other boats moored up in the drain entrance and started fishing just yards away from me. All the miles and acres they have to fish, and they have to stop so close to me!! Pair of plonkers! What should I do? My mind was made up when the boat I’d cast against was boarded by two lure anglers with inadequate tackle who set off and roared up river as if they were in a big hurry. What did I say about the locals earlier? In all honesty, the vast majority are nice people but there are some tossers around!
A sheltered part of paradise
I’d been in contact with Richard who had tried a couple of swims, both of which had produced for us in the past. There was no one swim in particular that appealed to me so I decided to move, change tactics and float troll a couple of deadbaits. I fished a Herring on one rod and a whole Lamprey on the other and for probably the first time this season the boat was powered by the oars. I slowly covered over a mile without a touch. On the way I past Richard who was still fishless and was motoring back to finish the day closer to the boat yard. The trolling had been fun though I wish I’d been using livebaits. Looking into the water, much clearer here than other parts of the system I wished I had some good trolling lures too! That could be something for the future.
By the early afternoon I was back on more familiar ground fishing the basin area once again, Richard was to the west of me in a shallow swim. We stayed like this for a little over an hour then decided to be social and tie the boats side by side for our last move of the day. We’d fished hard all day but hadn’t managed to locate any fish so why not share a cup of tea and a chat as the sun sank? We chose a sheltered spot, fairly close to the reeds and within minutes of settling in Richard finally had a take. The fish picked up a Sardine and was very small but conveniently unhooked itself along side the boat. Well at least we’d managed one fish between us!
Ten minutes later while deep in conversation and gulping tea I was snapped into attention by a fast whizzing bait runner, a take at last! I bent into a solid fish which had picked up a Lamprey and after a brief but spirited tussle Richard netted a nice solid fish for me. I unhooked it in the net, over the side of the boat then lifted her up for a quick photo before letting her swim away. We didn’t weigh it but it would have been around10 to 12 pounds and in the circumstances I was well happy with my first fish of 2009. With a couple of quick takes we had to stay put for another hour, there could well be more fish in the area. We ended up fishing well into darkness and risking another dodgy journey through the gloom back to the boat yard. And so ended another day in paradise.