I've been suffering. Only another cricket fan, specifically an England cricket fan will know what I've been going through. It's no good I have to get it all off my chest. For months I've been telling anyone who will listen that the team management and the selectors in particular are idiots and are getting things all wrong. The selectors seem to make choices that make the England fans say “What? Who? Why?” Last year it was Darren Pattinson (whatever happened to him?), lately it's been somebody called Trott. In the past they've stuck by batsmen that have struggled yet chucked bowlers out of the team after a bad match. This year they're continuing to stick by a bowling attack that isn't capable of removing top batsmen in anything other than the most helpful conditions. Stuart Broad will become a great all rounder but he isn't good enough yet. The good run of luck/results against the Australians has given everyone a false impression, until now. This weekend the Aussies absolutely battered us, levelling the series at 1-1 with one to play. Here's hoping that the selectors can get it right (Bopara out, Rob Key in, pick bowlers that suit the wicket) for the last match and our team plays at 100%, otherwise we're going to lose. On a positive note it's been a better series than I expected though. Rant over.
Fishing this weekend was more of the same, Shelley & I headed off to fenland and by the early evening we were settling in by the river, she fished for bait while I set up camp. The first thing I noticed was the river looked good, much better than I could have possibly hoped; high, coloured and pushing through nicely. It looked bang on for Zander and my confidence was boosted immediately. The increased pace and water made bait catching more difficult though but with lots of perseverance and regular feeding Shelley managed to catch a few Bleak, Bream and Rudd. I'm pleased that she really seems to be enjoying this fishing lark and has picked up the basics quickly. She thinks she's just about ready to put maggots on the hook now but hasn't yet actually touched a fish. With the light fading I got two Zander rods rigged up and fishing, a paternoster on one and a ledger rig on the other as usual. I'm sticking to tried and tested methods that have caught plenty of fish for me over the years but this season things haven't gone to plan.
The evening was lovely, warm and pleasant, much more comfortable than the downpour we fished through last week. It was nice to chill out, eat, drink and be merry in relative comfort. There were far fewer weekend admirals about and all was very peaceful. The moon rose but was partially obscured by clouds, not a night for moonlight shadows but surely good conditions for a Zander? Unfortunately the fishing wasn't as relaxing, masses of drifting weed were catching on the line and dragging the baits downstream. I was casting to clearer spots but the rigs were being pulled into weed regularly. I did have one take on the paternoster but didn't connect, I retrieved a nice bream livebait to find a chunk had been bitten out of it, I suspect an Eel was to blame. Eventually in the wee small hours, after several rounds of tug o' war with weed rafts I ran out of bait so wound in and retired to the comfort of the tent.
We slept in a bit and it was sometime around 9am before I emerged from the tent. Shelley had more success this morning, float fishing maggots to catch some nice Rudd, Roach & a Perch. I rigged up the paternoster again and chucked it into mid river, more in hope than expectation. I put a bit of thought into my presentation and think that next time I'll have a set up that will avoid the worst of the weed. The morning was lovely; fried breakfast, hot tea and good company. Boat traffic started to increase and there were large numbers of joggers pounding along the floodbank, and they say anglers are mad? All too soon it was time to tidy the gear away and head for home. The Zander fishing has been disappointing so far this season but despite that, time spent in the countryside has been as enjoyable as ever. Next week I'll do it all again.