Thursday, 18 November 2010

Beauty Amidst The Rat Race

Hidden away in our everyday drudgery, there can be found, if one looks, and is at the right place, at the right time, a portal which for a fleeting moment can transport one away from the rat-race to a world of tranquility.
This photograph was taken on my way to work with my phone, it is, believe it or not, in the middle of a town, on the borders of an industrial estate!
 The river contains Barbel, Chub, Carp, Perch, Roach, Dace, Gudgeon and Pike.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why Do We Do It ?

The fronds of the Pampas grass swayed delicately in front of a blue sky as I set up for the night on "Pampas Point". However, I was the only person on the lake, I knew the forecast wasn't good but I cannot pick and choose my days and that unseen, unknown force had driven me to go.
The kettle went on and baits went out over an area I'd baited a couple of days previously. A fellow bailiff, Dave, strolled around, walking his dogs. His first words "You must be f****** mad"..I laughed, but when he showed me the projections of the incoming weather on one of them new fangled phone "Apps", well let's just say I considered abandoning the session...The fact is though, that the urge to fish was greater.
 As the light faded the air became cold, very cold but as is my way I stood outside the bivvy looking for signs of activity. As my breathe took on that smokey appearance and I was just about to retire for a brew, out in the lake, about a hundred yards away, a Carp crashed. This was good enough for me, I reeled in a rod baited with a Pallatrax 'Jungle' pop-up fished on a Chod rig and cast it towards the area. I nailed the cast exactly to the spot then went for the shelter and relative warmth of the bivvy.
 The temperature plummeted over the next hour and a half, so I was surprised when a run came on the Chod rod, the cold air hit me and I couldn't believe that my rods, bivvy and un-hooking mat were now white and icy. I struck and connected to a Carp at range, after a couple of minutes the line went slack and I thought I'd been cut off, I reeled in everything, the hook had pulled. Most fish in this lake are over  20lb, some are much bigger, they don't give themselves up easily, I was gutted.
 Back in the bivvy, I made some Hot chocolate with a nip of Brandy to warm myself and retired to the cosiness of my sleeping bag.
 At 3 am the temperature was warmer but it was now absolutely chucking it down with rain (surprise!), a deluge of biblical proportions which waterlogged the ground around my shelter forming puddles and creeping upon my groundsheet, this continued on into daylight.
 It was then that the gales started......

The ground, was so sodden that the pegs of my only shelter were ripped out and flew in all directions, this wasn't fun. I jumped out to replace pegs, the futility of it all was more than frustrating.

My poor beleagured home was clinging on by its fingernails, at least the sun popped out for a while, the wind still howled upon my exposed position.
 I made the decision to start packing away, bad move, for the very second I removed my overwrap, the heavens opened..I cursed the sky in desperation. All that came back was a huge gust of wind that left everything strewn around, getting wet. Dave had actually turned up to fish by now, and laughed later at my disposition and the irony of it all.

I simply threw everything into anything and made my escape.
 Let's re-cap then, I'd been alone all night, frozen, sleepless, wet, windswept, all my kit was either sodden or broken and to cap it all, I'd lost a bloody fish.
 Why then do we do it ? What is it that drives us to go through such extremes for a fish ?
 Rod Hutchinson once described Carp fishing as "An obsession that drives a man from the arms of a good woman."..Is it primal instinct ? Surely not, as that would keep you IN the arms of a good woman.
 As I spoke later to the good Lady Sarah I said,"If I ever say to you that I'm going fishing, knowing that the forecast is bad, please, please remind me of this session." She looked at me lovingly and replied, "I will my dear, will still go."

Friday, 5 November 2010

Did I Really Catch It ?

Here's a puzzler for you thinking anglers out there.. A few weeks ago I was told that a fellow had landed, photographed and claimed the capture of a Mirror Carp of 34lb, and had received the plaudits of his peers. What he hadn't disclosed, apparently, was that the fish had been foul-hooked in a pelvic fin. Now, It is true that back in the day (even by The Carp Catchers of Redmire Pool) that a foul-hooked fish was photographed and sometimes even clonked on the head to be set-up in a glass case. These days of course clonking on heads and (in my opinion anyway) counting a foul-hooked fish are both no-no's. The fish hasn't taken a bait, so can't be claimed as being caught.
 As I have said, this is just my opinion but I believe most anglers with a sporting ethic would agree.
 All this has made me ponder a 'capture' I made many years ago. The fish, a Carp of around 27lb was the  biggest fish in the lake and considered a bit of a whacker at the time, in fact it was featured in a very early edition of Carp-Talk.
 The thing is, I now wonder if it 'counted'. You see, what happened was as follows....
 A screaming run was followed by a hearty strike and a spirited battle, until some 15 minutes later the fish was beaten and laying there ready to be netted by a friend...Now, here's the conjecturous(<- is this a real word!?) bit..As my mate leaned forward to engulf our prize the hook pinged out of its mouth, leaving a somewhat confused fish just hanging there in the water for a second or two which was then, and only then engulfed by the net.
 So, my friends......"Did I really Catch It" or Not ?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Autumn Perch

Well, the home of the big common was to be my home for a few night/day sessions this month and the lake has recently produced a 34lb Mirror. However, I have heard a whisper that another angler may have lost the big girl at the net recently, so I am going to give the place a wide berth for a couple of weeks. There are a couple of  fish I would like to  catch in my syndicate water and this particular lake does fish better through the colder months than the home of The Common.
 Today though I thought I might walk the five minute journey to my local river, in search of a fat Perch or two.
 As usual I was the only angler present until my work colleague Dan turned up to spend a few hours with me.
I settled on a swim I knew would hold a few Perch but left what I thought was a better one for Dan to sit in.

My set-up was a simple affair comprising of a drilled bullet stopped by a Korum Quickstop (fantastic bit of kit) with a longish hooklink to a size 10 hook with a fat worm hung upon it.
 The wind howled and the air was a mass of bright yellow falling leaves, very autumnal, but not cold.
 The tip soon wrapped around and a stunning 'Footballer' was soon in the net, followed in double quick time by another of around a half of a pound.
 I really should fish this little stretch a bit more, to look at it you'd think it barren, but it is home to most species, including, apparently, some maniac Carp. I am happy to sit catching Perch here though, it just seems right to me. Especially as I am aquainted with the staff of a nearby factory canteen who are happy to pass food and hot tea over the fence for me!
 The day didn't transpire into one of those halcyon fishing adventures but the fish came steady throughout, no world beaters, just a pleasant day by the river. This one was the biggest, I just put the float next to it for scale.
All the fish I caught were in mint condition, this fellows fins, so bold, they really are lovely fish. He even gave a little wave for the camera.
 Dan unfortunately didn't fare so well as I.He wouldn't have a dunk in my swim,where the fish were obviously holed up,stubborn sod, but he is young and has the makings of a fine angler.
 I did move to a couple of other swims but to be honest the river needs another foot of water and the leaf litter was an obstacle to good presentation.
As I packed away I was pleased to see a Kingfisher fly the length of the beat, just a couple of inches above the water. They always tear around as if they are late for something...My stomach rumbled, maybe I was late for dinner. I soon set off back past the footbridge in the direction of home.