Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Politics & stuff...

A decade ago my local angling club bent its own constitution and imposed a livebait ban on its members, despite the opposition put up by myself and other PAC members. I allowed my membership to lapse and had no intention of renewing. Times have changed and the club is run by a much fairer and more forward thinking group of individuals and I am happy to be a member these days.

This week saw the clubs AGM and I (& a couple of likeminded others) felt obliged to try and get livebaiting reinstated once again. Now I didn’t really believe this would happen but a sense of principle meant I had to have a go. To cut a long story short I was proved right. Whereas years ago it was the match angler that would be the natural ‘enemy’ of the Piker, most of the opposition came from Carp anglers who are afraid that Pikers transporting livebaits could spread disease and kill ‘their fish’. We pointed out that anyone breaking an EA law would not think twice about breaking a club rule but to no avail. The debate got a little heated and I did feel like a pantomime villain at times but it was generally polite. Some of the counter arguments presented were bizarre at best and in other circumstances would have been hilarious!

I find it highly ironic that I know of absolutely NO previous examples of Pikers spreading disease through moving livebaits yet this very club lost a lot of Carp in the early nineties because Carp anglers were moving fish around!

So our proposal got voted down but at least we tried and this time it was done fairly, within the clubs constitution and I can live with that. We did however get another rule into the book making Pike angling lure only between April and October. This was introduced as a conservation measure as it should ensure Pike are kept out of the water for a minimum period of time in the warmer months when they are most vulnerable. This was almost unanimously approved with only one ‘hilarious’ dissenter….

Back to the real thing…
Time has been short so far this spring. I’ve spent quite a bit of time walking the banks of my local waters looking here and there for signs of fish but very little time fishing. However a chance to get out for a few hours appeared this past weekend.

I found myself at a local water expecting there to be a work party but there was no one about and I found myself standing in a favourite swim with the fresh south west wind blowing into my face. I expected to see Carp and I did, literally right under my feet. I had planned to go elsewhere for the evening but with fish in the bay and no other anglers around it was too good an opportunity to miss. So by 1630 I had two heli/snowman rigs dropped close in under overhanging trees either side of the swim with a handful of boilies chucked on top of each. I’d bought a new carp rod over the winter, 2 ½ lb test curve rods are hard to find these days but I managed to find a nice looking one marketed by 30plus. Matt black and very thin compared to my familiar old rods, it would be interesting to see how it performed.

With the rods out I settled back in my chair and watched the water.   I began seeing fish almost straight away, rolling out in the open water as well as close in by the snags.  A couple of other anglers arrived and began fishing for the evening, no one seemed to take any time to find fish, they just found a swim and began fishing.  Had anyone looked in the bay they would have been sure to see the fish in here, maybe they know something I don’t?  While I was relaxing I noticed a movement to my right, a large Grass Snake slithered out of the undergrowth and was heading straight for me then abruptly stopped, recoiled and slowly vanished back into the bushes.  I managed to snap a quick photo on my phone but I don’t have the technical knowhow to post that up here.  Later in the session I saw it swim across the front of my swim but once again I was too late with the camera.

The evening was grim with murky cloud and the occasional spot of rain but the day was brightened by a take on my right hand rod after only an hour.  I plunged the tip under water and held on. This was the new rod which absorbed the lunges of this angry fish, desperate to bury itself into the sunken branches.  After what seemed a long time I won the battle and the fish swam clear of the snags.  It refused to give up though and battled it out on the surface for some time making me wonder if the new rod didn’t have quite enough backbone?  Eventually I netted a plump common which was in good nick and had a vivid yellow belly.  It felt heavy in the net but didn’t weigh as much as I thought it might, still I had my first Carp of the year under my belt.

I soon had the rod back out with another handful of freebies chucked on top and once again settled back with a brew to watch the water.  It was interesting that the more I watched, the more my eyes became ‘tuned in’ to what was going on and the more fish I saw.  I couldn’t resist setting up a third rod with a PVA bag and casting it out to the open water area where Carp were rolling regularly.  It occurred to me that the fish may be up in the water and a Zig rig might have been more effective but with time and daylight beginning to run out I stuck to the boilies.

In hindsight this may have been a mistake as despite the bay holding plenty of fish I failed to catch any more.  Seeing Carp but not catching them was something I became very used to in my first spell of carping back in the eighties and nineties.  I don’t want to get used to it again, next time it will be out with the dreaded zig!

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