Tuesday, 29 June 2010

It's A Jungle Out There

The Intrepid Piscator Returning from another fishless Gt. Ouse Barbel mission I must say that it really amazes me in these times of intensive farming and pollution just how much animal activity there is out there.
Of course I spent much time keeping the Cows at bay,more a case of the Intrepid Matador than Piscator, it's not that I'm scared of them. They are just so incredibly curious and I fear for my rods and tackle should they get too close for comfort.

Then there is the Mosquito issue, I've tried DEET, Citronella, Organic. "herbs and things" and exotic plant extracts from the wilds of Africa...No, the only way to avoid the bite is cover everything up. I was shocked to find I'd been bitten on a rather tender part of my anatomy, and it had only been exposed for a few seconds!!!!

My pitch appeared to be a passing point for the local rodent population and entertained as various species passed by my feet.

Birds of all shapes and sizes, from Heron to Wren, they all enjoy the riverside. The Barn Owl in it's silent graceful twilight search, maybe that's why all the shrews and mice were with me.

On into darknes, the time when beasts prowl in the shadows, and if left unchecked, the mind plays tricks.
It is strange that Bats seem quite adept at catching insects in the dark, but not very good at avoiding anglers lines, it always gets the heart thumping.

Something marched towards me in the undergrowth, it was big, I moved and spooked it.

Possibly a Lion.......... probably an Otter.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Footballers & Panda Food

The Intrepid Piscator With England reaching the last 16 of the World Cup I felt a little self indulgence was in order. Not for me a trip down the local for celebratory drinks, not this time anyway.

An evening session on the Gt. Ouse with my new (old) Chapmans 500 cane rod,Youngs Purist centrepin,a drilled bullet and a pot of lobs.

The air was hot and buzzing with insect life, the cows looked as if they'd had enough of the heat as we lumbered past each other.

It occurred to me that for the first time in a while I was fishing just for the hell of it and not tunnelled by the "specimen hunter" mentality that often drives me

As I sat in the long grass with this old rod for the first time, I took a while to ponder it's previous owners.

The fellow who had wandered into a tackle shop and purchased it new, all those years ago, couldn't have imagined it would still be being used in 2010.

I wondered about the fish it had caught and was impressed by it sensitive, yet still steely action.

Out plopped a large lobworm and off it rolled downstream with the flow until it found a place to settle.

Laying back in the grass I felt the fading heat on my face, a cuckoo called out in the distance and a heron flew above me, pure unadulterated bliss, the whole scene akin to those set out by Venables.

The tip twitched, then again, a bit more. I struck, and after thumping around for a while, a beautiful small 'Footballer' (Perch) christened my rod for me.

More of the vivid and uncaught fellows followed, getting bigger as the evening progressed, keeping me entertained until darkness fell.

Remembering Bernard Venables describing a group of Perch as a "Swagger" I thought how appropriate it was. The fish I caught, and indeed the whole evenings events wouldn't have looked out of place in the pages of Crabtree.

It was my favourite fishing session so far this year.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Glorious Sixteenth?

The Intrepid Piscator Through the gate and my first welcome of the year from our bovine friends, their gormeless gazes and skittishness all part of the river scene. Down the farm track to the little car park, a few in, well it is the first day of the season. Strolling through the fields I'm taken back to the halcyon Great Ouse Barbel days and the fine sessions and catches this little stretch gave up to me, I was blessed then but I realised those days were behind me, and the river. I was just truly happy to be back on my old stomping ground.

In the first field I gave wide birth to the present anglers, then onwards beyond the second failing miserably to avoid them rather large presents left by the cows.

The beat was basking in first-day sun and as I walked in my (long !!) shorts I was pleased that I'd given myself a dowsing of organic bug repellent.

I strolled on far from the madding crowd past beckoning swims to the very end of the beat, it was here that I wished to engage with Mother Ouse for this season.

I set down at the swim I last fished some five years ago.

Above the water, not much had changed, I sat amongst the nettles and thistles, not particularly comfortable, but happy and at peace with this homecoming.

I set up the rods but didn't cast out, I must've sat their for an hour watching the Terns, Moorehens and Swallows at play and the bugs doing their utmost to avoid me.

Flicking the odd bait in from time to time, their was no hurry, I intended to "do the night".

I've said that this year I will use my centrepins much more and my old twin Speedias looked special in the evening sun.
The baits went out, special baits, special rigs, you know, I'd given it a lot of thought..it was "Barbel or bust" for me.
Darkness drew in and it became quieter and surprisingly cold. I was prepared and on went the layers.
With isotopes becoming brighter and the mist falling, I knew that at midnight I was alone and at one with nature. It's not the fish, is it? It's this feeling we all really strive for.
Small fish rippled in the crescent moon light and the Cows paid a curious visit.
The silence and peace, however, was broken by a sound that was in the next 3 hours was to drive me round the bend. A sound so diverse and manic one would hardly believe that it eminated from our smallest of UK birds, the Wren. On my many night missions I have encountered this most nocturnally mouthy of birds on a few occasions and every time, it beats me, it gets into my head, so relentless was its lunatic chirping that after 3 continuous hours and becoming ever colder, at 3am I went home....fishless.
No-one said that my Gt. Ouse Barbel quest was easy. It will be the first of many blanks, those I can handle, but that little mouthy bird? Much as I love them, I do wish they'd keep their verbal diarrhoea to the daylight hours.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Challenge

The Intrepid Piscator The Sixteenth of June...The very words used to send shivers down the spine of every angler in the country. Visions of casting a porcupine quill towards fizzing bubbles next to lily pads in a freshly raked swim, the mist rising and a the glimpse of a rolling Tench. Sunshine, Dragonflies flitting and that first bite, the bite you've waited for weeks, months for. Even before all this the preparation, making floats, repairing tackle, the first trip in ages to the tackle shop.

For the majority of anglers these things are a thing of the past, I have nothing but respect for those die hard traditionalists that still have the will-power to resist stillwater angling in the old Closed Season, I have said before that the lure is just too much for me.

For me, the "Glorious Sixteenth" is now about the river and I will find myself beside my beloved Great Ouse. Even more these days, now that the Barbel boom circus has left town, it is a true anglers river, majestic, picturesque, an escape from everyday drudgery. The ever drecreasing Barbel population brings a challenge in many forms....location is key, there may be one or two fish in a mile of river, there may of course be a lot more. They've seen everything an angler may chuck to tempt them many times before and every one, regardless of size is a true prize. Presentation is also a problem, many stretches are crawling with Crayfish.I won't just be targetting the Barbel of course. Carp, Chub, Roach, Bream, Perch, Pike, you know me, I'll be after them all. At this moment in time, I have a plan, bait, rigs, location...I'll be there on the 16th knowing I've done as much homework as possible...It doesn't guarantee a thing, plans can be thrown out of the window on the first trip, such are the variables of this pastime of ours...I'll be sure to let you know how my river season progresses. Have a goodun.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Ecton Lakes & A Deluge.

The Intrepid Piscator Monday night saw me fishing for Carp on the invite of Carp "legend"
Alan Taylor at Clover Lake , the smallest of his Ecton Lakes Complex.
The journey had myself and syndicate member John bathed in sunlight, but as we pulled into the complex, old Izaac looked down, thought to himself,"That looks like ol' Gurn down there" and the heavens opened.
The lake is around 5.5 acres in size,depths range from 4 to 11 feet and it is well stocked with Carp to just over 30lb.
This was to be my first night on the lake and I opted for the left hand side of "Road Point".
Setting up in the rain is never ideal and I duly set about the task of sorting my home for the night.
With the bivvy set up and daylight rapidly dwindling I started to get my baits out. A Pallatrax "Jungle" Bloater pop-up fished on a D-rig on the left and a Carp On Baits Peach and Pepper boilie fished Blowback style on the right were placed stealthily no more than a rod length from the bank and my usual Betaine Green and particle groundbait concoction went out with them.
I beat a hasty retreat to the dry of the bivvy and before long darkness closed in.
It rained lots, in fact continuously throughout the night. The sound of the rain and bigger droplets falling from the trees were not condusive to sleep and relaxation. As I looked out over the lake I half expected Noah to come floating by in his Ark.
Rain, oh rain, it follows wherever I go. However, we all know that with the rough comes the smooth and at 4am my left rod was away.
I squelched out to the rod in the still pouring rain and struck, the rod took on that satisfying arc we all hope for. The fish had gone a fair way down the left margin and I began to wish I'd put my coat on before leaving my bivvy.
A spirited battle ensued and even when the fish was in front of me it made it quite clear it wasn't coming to the net easily,making lunges for freedom. It was no match for old Gurn though and eventually succombed.A beautiful fish that at the time I presumed to be a Mirror. It's feisty nature and the pouring rain meant that I only had one photo (having now got the coat on) before returning it and looking back feel it quite possibly could've been a Leather!
Daybreak arrived quickly and the birds started calling. A group of Blue Tit youngsters noisily enquired to a parent "When is this rain going to stop" as they sheltered in a nearby tree. That most noisy of waterside birds, the Kingfisher shouted it's distain to the sky from a willow limb, unable to fish as the water rippled with the torrent. Even the Aylesbury Duck swam for cover, the Mallards braved it though, pretending to be tough..or just plain crazy.

As I looked out over the lake I had this for my view..
...having packed away the bivvy, with only the rods left to reel in before going, my view was this...

Ah well, that's fishing, you really couldn't make it up.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Work Party

The Intrepid Piscator Yes, it's that time of year again when grown men just can't wait to don various forms of rubber and PVC attire and stroll around trying to look busy..
Today found me at a beautiful stretch of the Gt. Ouse on a work party. This is to be my first season here since it became a syndicate and it was great to be beside some running water again. A few of the lads were familiar faces, and some new. As the day progressed it became clear that they were a jovial, friendly group of fellows. I feel truly honoured to be able to fish this stretch again after an absence of around five years,when I fished here on a club ticket.It holds the fondest of memories for me and I was pleased to see that not much has changed.It wasn't long before I found myself up in a tree, removing that branch that just might stop you from casting to that spot. It's easy to get a bit carried away with such operations and take away too much but I feel we had the balance just about right.This place, to me is what fishing is all about. Nearly every swim has a feature of some description, and so far, it has escaped the attention of the EA's "hack and slay" team. Long may this continue. It remains for me to thank those involved, for giving me the opportunity to rekindle my relationship with this place, and also for a very enjoyable and productive few hours today. It has certainly whet the appetite, roll on the 16th.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Thinking Ahead

The Intrepid Piscator I managed a cheeky overnighter on a local lake this week.The large Tench were rolling over my baits but weren't at all interested in eating it. If I'm honest, my mind is elsewhere, I have a work party to attend at the weekend on my river syndicate and it's here that my fishy thoughts have turned to. I have been quite disappointed by my close season Tenching but will have a go when possible. Another increase of a few degrees will see me on the trail of a rather famous fish, yes, it does have a bloody name, but it's not a Carp!
Speaking of Carp, I see that my recent 40lber made the Anglers Mail this week. The culprits who sent the photo in were my friends at Pallatrax.