Sunday 19 April 2020

Closed Season Blues



This year for the first time in a very long time we’re having a closed season. Was it around 1995 that the tackle industry managed to do away with the closed season?  I wonder if we'll notice a difference when we compare whatever is left of this summer to future seasons?

As I’ve been unable to catch fish I’ve had to replace this addiction for collecting pieces of nature.  This spring I’ve gone back to what I always used to do in the closed season when I was a kid, which is to wander off bird watching (when I was a bit older I’d usually be hungover).  In truth, back then it was another excuse to spend time at the waterside and I suppose there’s an element of that again now.  So far these last few weeks I’ve seen 35 different species of bird many have been either in my garden or flying over it, the rest on my daily walk.  I’m lucky to live in the countryside; I don’t have too walk far before I’m out of town and away from people.  I’ve walked less familiar stretches of the river, the weed seems to be growing freely despite the winter floods but I’ve seen no sign of fish.  I hoped to see Chub but nothing until I got to an area close to Town where they usually group up ahead of spawning.  Even here there were no real big ones, a few years ago there were some proper fish in this area but I never did try to catch any.  I did find a couple of stretches that look the kind of environment that may produce a Gudgeon, when I can fish the river again, but as these are remote I expect I’ll try other spots first.

This break has come a bit tough, I can’t remember the last time I went a month without casting a line and there’ll probably be another month to go.  I’m missing it, not so much catching fish as I don’t usually do a lot of that in the spring and summer anyway.  It’s the sitting by the water, becoming part of nature.  It’s the plotting and planning, the mental side of things, preparation.  It’s having something to think about, plan for, and aim at.  A target?  That’s a very clich├ęd word in fishing nowadays.

But we will get back to the water sometime soon, it may seem a while away but it will pass quickly.  In the meantime, like all anglers, my tackle has had a good sort out.  All I really need to do now is tie some rigs and sort some bait out.  When the restrictions are lifted I could literally be fishing within an hour.
Twenty five years ago when the closed season first disappeared I would have spent my time throwing lures around, catching Pike.  From memory this was around the time of the last big lure fishing boom, largely promoted by P&P magazine.  I was trying to suss out these new big lures that were appearing and also y because I wanted to suss out various waters ahead of the winters.  In those days most of my summers were spent attempting to play cricket, I had no time for ‘summer species’.  Who knows if anyone will have any time for summer species this year, my next attempt at catching fish could be in the autumn and if you offered me that now, I’d take it!