Monday, 27 January 2014

A light in the gloom

Like most of the country here in the East we’ve had our fair share of rain over the last week or so. The rivers are on the verge of bursting and not a viable option at the moment. Many of the stillwaters are affected by flood water too. On those that flood regularly it makes little difference to the fishing, if anything it may improve things for a bit. On other places an influx of coloured water is alien to the Pike and the fishing becomes very difficult. The weather had cut down my options but there were still a few places I could go and still be in with a good chance, how far could I be bothered to drive?

The alarm took three attempts to prise me from bed this morning. As the kettle boiled I enjoyed a fabulous sunrise through the kitchen window. If the forecast was accurate I’d see very little of the sun today so best enjoy it while I can. With more grim weather approaching I decided against travelling too far today but had an urge to fish somewhere a bit different and ended up on a water I haven't visited for ages and in a spot I’ve never fished before.

It was a lazy start to the day and it was about 0800 before I was fishing, the water looked high but was thankfully clear. By now it was dull and breezy but dry so far. I float legered a bluey close to an overhanging bush that was too good to resist. This was along the bank to my left, slightly shallower here with a gentle slope. I legered half a herring away to the right, leaving most of the swim clear for a bit of lure fishing. Apart from a pair of brave Carp anglers bivvied up on the far side (as has every piece of water in this vicinity) I had the place to myself.

At 0825 I noticed the float on the left bob, that’s a fish no doubt. I didn’t want the other anglers to notice anything so switched the alarm off then opened the bail arm. I glanced up, the float was definitely on the move now, heading out towards deeper water. I turned around to pick up the net and by the time I turned back, line was flying off the spool. An un-missable take, I picked up wound down, rod bent…bump bump… gone. Bugger! I swung the chewed bluey back out then sat down cursing. How the hell did I manage to bugger that one up? I realised that a few years of mostly boat fishing has changed the way I strike. I would normally wind down tight and sweep the rod low to the side and sometimes take a step or two backwards. If you step backwards in a boat you could get wet. My boat rods are stiffer than my antique twelve footers and do the trick with a firm sweep up and backwards. I need to calm down a bit but no matter how many Pike I’ve caught I still go into a blind panic when I get a take. Long may it continue.

An hour passed and the wind was now a proper stiff southerly, whipping in drizzle from time to time. The sun was well and truly drowned behind dense, foreboding cloud. I’d persevered with the lure rod fishing mostly a springdawg and a reaper jig. I’ve caught loads of Pike on the former but none so far on the latter but they look the part and I’ll keep on trying, honest Elliott! With rain on the way I rested the lure rod and moved the Herring a little further out in deeper water. The lure rod had revealed a little weed in this area and my bait should be on the edge of it.

Half an hour passed, the rain was coming and going, not too bad but enough to make me retreat to the shelter, the rods were out of sight so alarms turned up, or so I thought. I heard a plop…what the hell was that? I stood up expecting to see ripples somewhere close but there was nothing... But something wasn’t right. Then I noticed, the backbiter arm had dropped. Like a muppet I’d forgotten to switch it back on! Line was trickling out so with heart thumping again I put the net in place then wound down and struck properly! Fish on! The old Tricast took on a proper curve and a nice sized fish plodded around. She fought quite well for a deep winter fish but thankfully stayed on this time and was soon in the net. It took longer to untangle teeth from the net’s mesh than it did to nip the double hook out of the scissor then I slipped it into the weigh bag and found she was heavier than expected. The Pike in this water are dark, almost brown and beautifully marked with yellow spots, worth a photo for that reason alone.

The wind strengthened and the inevitable rain swept in. I tried to keep active, moving the deadbaits around the swim but when the weather is rough I can’t keep it up. After a while ‘fishing’ turns to ‘sitting it out’ and this isn’t enough to keep me by the water side when a warm house and hot food beckons. I was distracted by the birdlife, all the usual suspects I’d expect to see hear most notably the Kingfisher. This morning I was treated to more unusual visitors, a pair of Egrets settled in the trees opposite. I decided on the ‘one last cuppa’ tactic, if nothing happened by the time my mug was empty I’d pack up. I should have known that taking the shelter down would see the heaviest rain of the day fall upon me, sod’s law. With everything drenched I squelched my way back to the car and home.

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