Saturday, 28 April 2012

Dodging showers

Back at the beginning of April I wrote the immortal words; “it feels like it’s never going to rain again”.  Now after four weeks of monsoon it feels like it’s never going to stop!  I think we’ve had rain on twenty one out of the last twenty five days here in Suffolk.  A couple of days ago I had a letter through my door offering advice about saving water in the drought…The rivers will certainly benefit from a flush through although on the other hand it may be bad news for early spawning species. 

This last week has been particularly sodden which made life uncomfortable for the JRC & Berkley team doing a tackle display at Suffolk Waterpark this week.  I visited the show on the final day and all seemed in good spirits despite their weather endurance and most had banked some good fish during their down time.  The gear on display was pretty impressive too.  I was interested to see a new ‘big pit’ reel made by Mitchell of all people.  Like many people I grew up fishing with Mitchell reels, 300’s & 410’s were the height of sophistication and fashion in the early eighties.  Then along came Shimano…

With a wet weekend forecast I was determined to take Madi and Isaac out and about and not let them go stir crazy around the house.  As forecast the rain let up a little in the early afternoon so I coerced the children into an hour or so by the water.  We chucked a minimum of tackle into the car then headed off to the puddle.  I was on a mission, catch a couple of fish, take a few photos then get back home before the rain returned permanently.

While the kids explored surroundings that were new to them, I had a wander with a bucket of floaters, scattering a few here and there.  For some reason the Carp in these lakes are happy to feed off the surface whatever the weather.  The sky was lighter than it had been but still a threatening grey and the North Easterly wind whipped light rain into our faces from time to time.  A little uncomfortable but we only planned a short trip and this did have the advantage of blowing our freebies back into our corner of the lake. 

Between the three of us we shared two rods, well a whip and a rod to be precise.  We used simple free line rigs and soft hook-able floaters.  Groups of small Carp would drift into our swim, take a few floaters (with loud slurps which amused the children), then drift away again.  These fish seem a lot more wise than they were a year ago, they are more able to detect the bait with a hook in it but every now and then a bait was taken.  The first few strikes met thin air but eventually Isaac hooked a fish which stayed on.  The weight and power of this fish surprised him after the small silver fish he’s been catching this spring.  He hung on to the rod, let the reel’s clutch do its job and with a bit of encouragement soon had his best ever carp in the net.  

I managed to strike thin air a couple of times before Isaac took the rod back, what do I have to do to catch a Carp this year?  Madison was next to actually set a hook using the whip.  The fish tore off stretching the elastic but she doesn’t have as much recent fishing experience as her brother and tried to rush this one, resulting in a hook pull.  Finally it was my turn again, with my recent experience I probably took this one too careful and played it far too long but eventually managed to net my first Carp of the year.  We had time for a few more spectacular misses, greeted by a boil of water and a panicking Carp.  After ninety minutes or so the rain became more persistent and it looked like it had set in for a while so we retreated to the car. 

I am able to finish this entry with a little bit of encouraging news from Norfolk.  Firstly there have been no further reports of fish in distress.  Secondly the Broads Authority has taken on board the advice of the Environment Agency and has postponed it’s dredging planned for May.  This will now take place in cold water conditions, not before November.  Lastly the BA is reported to be looking into the possibility of suction dredging which is a much safer method.  I should point out that anglers sat down with a BA employee and recommended this course of action two years ago but at least they’ve taken it on board eventually.  Reward for the patient lobbying of John Currie and the guys at Norfolk PAC.  All Broadland anglers owe them a huge debt.

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