Bank holiday weekend loomed with the opportunity to spend another night at the Marsh, one I couldn’t miss. The last time I fished I knew exactly where I wanted to be but on this occasion I arrived with no preconceptions. Shelley was with me so we wandered around trying to find some fish and a comfortable swim we could both fish from. Unfortunately the lake was busy cutting down our options considerably but we managed to find a nice swim that would be on the end of the wind, which was forecast to change completely overnight.
We were set up by 1300, sharing a couple of rods fishing boilies to a bed of lilies and a third baited with fake corn just of a point in the reeds to my left. The two areas were baited with mixed pellets of all sizes and types, sprayed with a catapult regularly throughout the afternoon and evening. I knew some of the pellets would be eaten by silver fish but any fish feeding was fine by me, hopefully they’d encourage bigger species to join in. Meanwhile I’d quietly build up a bit of feed in the swim without causing any disturbance. That was the plan at least… I left the sweetcorn at home this week because I just couldn’t be arsed with catching silver fish, I just wanted to chill out.
The afternoon passed quietly but around 1700 a few patches of bubbles started to appear, although this is so common it’s ridiculous it’s usually encouraging at least. At 1830 I had a twitchy take on the close in rod and hooked into a fish but what kind? Once it became aerial it was obviously a jack Pike which managed to unhook itself and attach my rig to the lilies. The rig was tangled so it was a good time to change the fake corn for a snowman rig. Shelley went off on the run to the chippy and I repositioned the other rods for the night, switching one from a chod to a helicopter. The darkness began to creep over us, it seems to happen so early now, autumn is well on the way. A decent fish crashed near the pads and the ever present bubbles were rising, things were looking nice. Then a group of anglers arrived and proceeded to noisily set up in the swims behind us. Many of the swims on this water are so isolated it feels like you have the lake to yourself, no matter how many are fishing. Our choice for tonight wasn’t one of them. They were nice enough people but loud. The ambience was shattered and for some reason my confidence evaporated.It grew cool so we kipped down in the warm bivvy long before midnight, for once I fell into a sound sleep and didn’t stir until a series of beeps on the left hand rod cast to the pads. By the time I reached the rod nothing was happening and I guessed it was a liner. It was 0430 and the sky was beginning to brighten, should I settle down on the chair and watch the dawn or go back to the cosy bivvy? I knew I should do the former but opted for the latter.
It was another couple of hours before another liner lured me from the bivvy, I put the kettle on then recast all three rods with fresh hookbaits. The lake was still, hardly anything stirred, when would the wind change? A quick look around revealed every single peg had an angler present, it didn’t look good. The anglers behind us were stirring just as noisily as they had settled. An hour or so later Shelley emerged from the bivvy and I put the stove on for breakfast. The new wind sprung up and I began to see more and more bubbles fizzing on the surface. Things now looked better than they had at any point since we had arrived but I couldn’t help feeling that it just wasn’t going to happen. The morning passed without incident and with heavy rain forecast we were happy to leave the Marsh at lunchtime. This week we got our timing right, it was so wet there wasn’t even any cricket to pass the time.
That might be it as far as Tench & Carp fishing goes this year, certainly at the Marsh. I’ll probably have time for another night soon but I feel like having a change of scenery. The Marsh is usually busy in the spring but quieter in high summer, this year it has been busy all the way through. I don’t mind difficult fishing but I can’t stand crowded waters and after a few seasons fishing the Marsh I fancy a change for a year or two.
It’s also getting on for the time of year when I start thinking about Pike fishing and I’m really looking forward to the autumn and winter this season. What should I do before now and then?
I’ve been using a Fox “Specialist compact” rucksack for about 18 months now and it’s perfect for most of the bank fishing I do these days. When I’m not fishing overnight I like to travel as light as possible so I can move quickly when necessary. What I put in the bag depends on the season and what I’m fishing for. The main compartment (35 litres) takes a large float tube, Flask, mug, camera, food, bait and any bulky items. The front pouch holds a large, flat tackle box. There are two small side pouches, one takes little tackle boxes of leads & stuff I need to get to quickly and the other holds tea bags, sugar, milk and a spoon. The large side pouch holds a large rig bin and other bits & pieces, e.g. in summer pop ups & dips. This pouch has elastic loops on the outside that carry bank sticks & forceps. Basically it carries everything I need for a short, mobile session. Loaded up it’s comfortable to carry and doesn’t give my back any grief, well padded with good thick straps and a belt that goes round the waist. You can also get a matching ‘specialist’ unhooking mat which clips to straps on the top but I haven’t bothered as yet as I can stuff my folding mat in the straps anyway.
I also have a Fox “Specialist Adjusta level chair” which I’ve used for a couple of years if my memory serves. It has simple folding legs, so there’s no faffing about with individual legs. It’s very comfortable with good padding and I’ve managed to fall asleep on it when I’ve got up for dawn. There’s also a shoulder strap that takes the strain and frees up a hand. Sometimes the combination of rucksack and shoulder straps doesn’t work but with this combination I find it comfortable. So when I’m travelling light I have rucksack and chair on my back/shoulders and my rods and net banded together in one hand leaving the other free for something useful… Fox make some bloody good fishing tackle these days and these two bits of kit are well designed and show no signs of weakness after a good, sustained test. If you scrolled back to the top of the page and squint, you might just about make out both the rucksack and chair in action, if it wasn’t for the sun in your eyes. Alternatively click the link to the Fox website and have a little look around for all the info.