Over the last few days the Angling Trust have made the decision to close their online forum after just 9 months. There reasons for doing so appear a little odd. In their statement the trust bemoans the fact that only a tiny percentage of the membership have used the forum then go on to say;
“The staff and Directors made efforts to answer questions when they became aware of them, but there were so many pages of debate to trawl through that this became impractical for the busy team. “
A bit of a contradiction I think? There is also an accusation of aggression being shown on the forum, well I haven't found any....unless they are referring to my own irreverent contributions? In my opinion the Trust's leadership is afraid of the dissent that is being shown on the forum.
I joined the Trust back in April and at the time expressed my mistrust of politics and politicians.
During the five months that have followed I have experienced nothing about the Trust that has altered this opinion. Five months on they still haven't publicly come out in support of livebaiting, despite personal assurances from the CEO Mark Lloyd that they would do this. I am certainly not alone in my dissatisfaction as members from all branches of the sport are expressing their discontent. Far from unifying angling the Trust is becoming yet another match dominated organisation and a gravy train for its paid employees. The way things stand I definitely won't be renewing my membership.
Now back to the real thing...
With summer quietly slipping into autumn and the temperature beginning to dip I've been finding it difficult to motivate myself to have another crack at the Tench in “The Marsh”. Time has not been on my side it's true but if I'd really wanted to go fishing I'd have made time. I've got Pike on my mind now and planning for the season ahead which will take up a large chunk of my free time so while the weather is still fairly comfortable I've been spending as much time as possible with the children. While we can still get out and do things together we are making the most of it. Saturday morning gave me the opportunity to do both.
The boat has been in 'dry dock' all summer while I made a few slight modifications but now it was ready to roll and high time it was back at it's winter home. We left bright and early in the morning and headed north, arriving at our destination in mid morning. With a pitch secured and fees paid we launched the boat and set off with the intention of showing the Madison and Isaac a little piece of my favourite place in the world. The weather was pleasant, mild and bright with a light breeze from the north west. After a couple of hours of motoring around including a pick nick break the kids were getting fidgety so we headed back. The place still in the green hues of summer looked beautiful, the boat is safely in place and I'm looking forward to getting started.
The second half of Saturday afternoon saw me free of responsibilities so suitably enthused I made my way down to the 'Marsh' for a few hours. I chose a swim on the eastern side, mainly because I knew it to be one of the deeper areas but also because it was on the far side to a couple of other anglers on the water. I couldn't decide what to fish for so decided to hedge my bets and go for everything. On one rod I fished a 10mm boilie, balanced with fake corn and fished on a helicopter rig. This was swung beneath an overhanging tree with about 20 free offerings thrown on top. I set up a whip, float fishing maggots in mid water while I set up another rod. On this I used a float paternoster rig and before I was finished putting it together I had some bait in the net. A nice sized Rudd livebait was dropped in open water about 15 metres out. I hoped that here suspended in deep, open water the bait would stick out like a sore thumb.
After a while I became bored of catching smallish Rudd so set up a waggler rod to replace the whip. I fished two or three maggots on the bottom and fed a handful of maggots every now and then. I hoped a Tench might find this approach too good to resist but alas no. However the average size of fish increased markedly and I caught Roach, Bream and Perch to around 12 ozs along with the inevitable Rudd.
It was a pleasant, warm afternoon. The banks surrounding this water too were in full summer green but a few leaves were beginning to fall and the lilies were yellowing and growing tatty. I had cricket on the radio, the forty over final from Lords in which Warwickshire eventually overcame poor old Somerset. It was great to be out fishing again, I hadn't realised how much I'd missed my fix of fishing.
After an hour the float on the paternoster rod dipped and slipped away, I wound down quickly and bent into a fish. I got it to the surface quickly and kept it there, bullying the fish into the edge quickly where I unhooked it in the water. My first intentionally caught Pike of the season was small but perfectly formed and beautifully marked. Another Rudd was hooked up and swung into place and I sat back with a smile. What next?
Next was about half an hour later, the boilie rod sang out then stopped abruptly.....followed by nothing. Surely that was a take? I hovered hoping it would fly off but no. A few minutes later I wound it in to find the helicopter rig had tangled...bugger! I recast with another handful of free offerings but had the feeling I'd missed my chance.
As dusk began to deepen the surface came alive with Rudd but unlike earlier in the year there were no Pike hammering into them. Of course not, I'm fishing for them! I fished on until darkness when the bats were out in force and apart from the occasional silver fish on the waggler, nothing much happened. It was good to be out fishing again though, I really hadn't realised how much I'd missed my fix. It's nearly Pike time, roll on October.