Monday, 27 July 2009

Summer for a day

No one should have to work at the weekend, least of all me. To be fair I don't have to do it often but I don't like it. I spent the day clock watching, counting down the hours and minutes until I was able to jump in the car, which was already fully loaded with gear, then head off for a nights fishing. On the way I picked up my lil' lady Shelley who had never been fishing before. My descriptions of quiet, unspoilt rivers at the ends of winding dirt roads, spectacular sunsets and delicious fry ups washed down with wine had set her thinking she might actually enjoy the experience.

We arrived in the early evening, the river was a little low and clearer than I'd expected after a week of heavy showers. The weather however was warm, clear and dry, summer had returned for a day at least; Ideal for chilling out in the countryside. I set Shelley up with the whip and after explaining the basics left her to it while I set up the tent and got all the gear ready for the evening. It didn't take long before a truly momentous event, Shelley caught her first ever fish, a Roach. Actually she took to this fishing lark like a natural and was soon filling the net with silver fish; Rudd, Bleak, Bream and a tiny Chub. Meanwhile I had the camp-site sorted, two Zander rods were cast out and the kettle was soon bubbling on the stove, followed swiftly by the regular fishing meal of sausage and bacon sarnies, lovely. It was a perfect summer evening, the tranquillity broken only by the occasional boat passing and by a bunch of hooray Henrys who decided to take a noisy swim upriver.

Once it got too dark to see the float we gave up fishing for silvers and settled back with a bottle of wine to watch the sun set spectacularly, silhouetting a hot air balloon in the distance as it came in to land. In the half light an Owl flew soundlessly and gracefully along the opposite floodbank and the hoots of Tawnys could be heard as a crescent moon began to dip in the sky. The sky was clear so it seemed to take an age to get fully dark but when it did so the stars were spectacular. At around 10 pm the ledgered livebait was taken and I wound down to find myself connected to a fish, albeit very briefly. Everything went solid and I eventually hauled in a big bundle of weed and lots of someone else's line, whatever had taken my bait was long gone. Weed has been a problem this season so far, its very thick in places and livebaits are finding it easy to attach themselves to weed and lever themselves off the hooks. The answer would be to recast regularly but to be honest I've been too laid back and too busy just chilling out to bother too much.

With fresh baits out we settled back down to chill out and enjoy a beautiful, mild, starry night, eventually dozing off in the early hours. The next thing I knew it was dawn, signalled by a spectacular sunrise but sadly no Zander had disturbed the night. Two more fresh baits went out into the river and thinking I had missed my chance of a decent fish I dozed off to sleep again. A bite alarm sounded around 7.30 am and the next thing I knew I was scrambling towards the rod, fish on! The resistance was minimal and the fish soon materialised, a nice sized Perch, one I definitely didn't want to lose! I soon had it on the bank and was absolutely sure it would top two pounds however the scales disagreed, it was a couple of ounces under. It occurred to me that whenever I actually set out to target Perch my results are modest at best, in fact all of my biggest Perch have been caught when I've been fishing for either Pike or Zander. I think there's a lesson in that! I woke Shelley up to take a couple of quick pictures (I'm going to have to learn how to hold these things for the camera too), then slipped it back.

The second day was cloudy with a breeze from the west. Shelley emerged from the tent and settled back into the routine of catching silver fish on the whip as if she'd been doing it all her life. Meanwhile I boiled the kettle and made breakfast then slowly tidied away our camp. The traffic from holiday boats increased to the point that it was becoming annoying so by the late morning we were all packed up and heading for home. I was pleased with the Perch, it kind of made the trip worthwhile in a fishing sense. Although I'd failed to catch a Zander I'd definitely succeeded in showing Shelley some of the things that make our sport so enjoyable and I know it won't be long before she's fishing again.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Great post, it makes me want to go out and spend a night camping and fishing. Cheers!