Thursday, 29 September 2011

Beard and Wonderful

"If you love something, set it free.
If it returns it is yours.
If it doesn't, It never was..."

The  Sun rose on my final day this year at the home of The Common, she'd outwitted me again, my quest will continue next year, I just can't face the prospect of another blank hard winter on this lake and I have a new target to go for, more of which will follow in time.
 The session had been a failure, that is unless I was actively fishing for those green beauties that seem to have been turned suicidal by the current warm spell...Did someone say "Indian Summer?"
The 'late on parade' Dragonflies and Ladybirds certainly thought so.....
I must admit though, that I will not be sad to leave this lake, it is by far the most difficult of places I fish for many different reasons. Many will appear for a few weeks, then never be seen again, foiled by the abundant weed, difficulty to get in swims, dogs, public, 'erberts, not to mention the incredibly cagey Carp.
It is beautiful though and so are its inhabitants. Unfortunately, the swan in the picture is now alone after its mate was viciously attacked by dog whos owner failed to take heed of the signs telling him to keep it under control. The bird was taken to the local rescue centre, by anglers, but unfortunately died a day later
This weather can't really disguise the changing of seasons, the crackling of leaves underfoot a giveaway. It's a nice time to be on the bank though, fish or no fish. There's a lot to be said for a cuppa under the stars, looking over a lake, in anticipation.
Talking of anticipation, my next trip out will be to that most fabled of pools Redmire, for my yearly trip...Regular readers will know of my traditional beard growing exploits at this time, in homage to the greats that once trod the banks of this wonderful little estate lake.
 I have to say that I have excelled all expectations this year, it will most definitely be the last time I complete this hideous undertaking as it just drives me insane.
 In conclusion then I might just raise a glass at the dam wall and exclaim...."Yates, James, McDonald, Arbery and Springate, I salute your angling capabilities, and admire your whiskered persistence"

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Tonkin' Fish

As cars go by I cast my mind's eye
Over back packs on roof racks
Beyond the horizon
Where dream makers
Working white plastic processors
Invite the unwary
To reach for the pie in the sky
Go fishing my boy !

Today, I had pretentions of catching myself a fine Perch from my local river with cane and pin..I didn't., but, I did have a splendid couple of nostalgic hours.
My Chapmans 500 lissom wand of cane does not have the correct rings on it. My old Speedia centrepin, rescued from someones shed when seized up and neglected, now runs free and long. It does, however, have a wonky handle. I find these imperfections endearing and they have far more character than my modern gear.
 What better tools then for a couple of snatched hours on the river ?
 Not today, the mackerel'd skies of yesterday after the wind had blown, instead, blue and clear, though the winds had left their mark.

I hoped that the Crack Willows had completed all the cracking they had to do this week!
 The walk to the river from my front door took exactly seven minutes, it acts as a boundary between town and country, on one side a factory with noisy fork-lifts and lorries, on the other a protected water meadow.
  Having tackled up with a small drilled bullet and large Lobworm I nestled myself amongst the invasive and alien Himalayan Balsam, it's a plant that the rangers around here have an ongoing battle against, I actually quite like it, and so do the Bees.....and I like Bees, a lot.
The first marginal cast is usually a hint to the way things pan out on this little haven...nothing happened.
 I was soon distracted by a Treecreeper searching out grubs and insects from a tree on the opposite bank, then, a Great Tit gave a 'Tweet Tweet' from a higher limb...Still the rod stayed static.
 On a short river session I will stay in an unproductive swim no longer than fifteen minutes., so I was soon on my way.

The next little pool I visited had me sitting a little too precarious for my liking, on the opposite bank I could clearly see pram-faced teenagers pushing their offspring and elderly couples on matching disability scooters, but they didn't spot me.
 A knock, yes, a definite knock, then again....strike....a perfect Chublet, so small that the worm really was longer. The river does need at least another foot on it for decent Perch action, only, I just couldn't wait any longer.
 Moving on then, the bridge, surely a stripey marauder lurks here.

In the fifteen fishless minutes I sat in this swim,ten people crossed its span, only one stopped to look and stare, a small child hanging from her Mother's hand waved at me as her parent hurried on thinking about food shopping and the electricity bill. It would seem that many have lost that youthful awe at ones natural surroundings, I'm happy to not count myself amongst them, how else would I have noticed my friend the Kingfisher as he shot past at speed along the winding flow.

As the sun shone through the willows, I saw my final swim in a different light, it had previously seemed unassuming, but now became an interesting place to sit, even though I was now on the factory side by the the path and had received a least one glance from a passer-by that seemed to say, 'What's that weirdy beardy up to ? There's no fish in there.'
 Then, just when I thought it wouldn't, the tip juddered around, I struck to solid resistance, and a fight ensued that led me to believe I'd hooked that elusive three pound Perch, for they do live here.
 It was not a Perch though, it was a right old character of a Bream, battle scarred, it had clearly been in a few scrapes in its time, a few chunks missing from its tail, maybe a narrow escape from an Otter.

He certainly fought like a fish that knew how to survive, and as I returned him I felt happy to end the day right there, not wanting to cast again, so I strolled the short way home and back to present day life, happy with my lot.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Autumn....already ?

As I walked , or rather slid across the rickety bridge ( I know it's a death trap, yet it still gets me.) I found a coin, picked it up, then tossed it in as an offering to the Carp Gods.
I avoided the rain, setting up my camp for the next few days on ground sodden from the previous hours deluge, a close shave.
 I was back then, in my favourite September swim, just one other angler on this difficult lake, a cacophony of waterbirds greeted..Tufties, Mallard, Swans and the usual Gulls, they all came to see what I'd feed them, all left empty beaked (until I baited the swim).
 Kingfisher yelled and completed a welcoming flypast and Buzzard circled overhead keeping one eye on proceedings and another on the shrews that danced in excitement around my bag of bait.
The wind grew ever strong and disease ridden Sycamore leaves fell upon my shelter, from the burnished heights.

The Hawthorns bursting with berries make a fine feast for the hungry birds.
Alas, their leaves too are losing green, turning through yellow to copper. It all seems a little Autumnal.
As night drew in I found myself drifting in and out of sleep, sudden heavy showers causing the trees to drip upon my abode, then at around 1am, a run, left rod flying.
 The lake is very weedy and the fish rapidly pung the line upon it, sending heartstopping vibrations through the rod to my hands,powerful surges led me to believe it a 'biggun', had I lost her I'd have guessed her much bigger, she wasn't a 'biggun' though. Gracing my net was an absolutely stunning linear Mirror then, just under 20lb with a great paddle for a tail. It was a true treat to see her glide slowly back to the depths.
My poor night photography will never do a fish like this justice but I'd rather that than juggling a fish and a camera for a self take trophy shot in the night, when it's not really necessary.
 Morning then, and the almost religious rite that is tea.
 The wind grew stronger and a bow had formed in the line of my left rod. I switched the alarm off to make adjustments.
 All amendments made, I took a cuppa to Ian in the next swim and chatted a while.
On return to my rods I noticed the left one was arced around and the bobbin was bouncing away as line was being taken. I'd forgotten to switch my alarm back on and had another fish on. It turned out to be a Tench of around 5lb, a morning treat.
 The following day rolled along with visitors, tea, biscuits, alas no cake.
 The wind slowly but surely wound itself up and the Poplars swayed further and further. Leaves continued to fall upon my bivvy rendering it a little more 'Realtree' than usual.

As darkess fell and I at last had the lake to myself, a deluge, yes, Old Izaac's curse had caught up with me again and I was confined to barracks.
 At around midnight I stumble out to a run which produced an incredibly pretty Mirror Carp and a welcome golden glow.

I slept little and by daybreak the wind and rain had worsened.

No more dancing Shrews, no more noisy Kingfishers, just the howl of the wind and the disparaging Ducks.
 James, a shop customer, and good fellow arrived, I put Steve, the kettle, on. We both agreed that the Carp would've moved with the wind, I didn't want to move, but would if necessary. Fortunately, about 10 minutes after he left a large Carp leapt at range in front of my swim, I was easily convinced to stay-put.
 Whilst confined to the bivvy, I finished reading "How To Fish" by Chris Yates and have to say, it's one of his finest works and has re-ignited my desire to catch a fat Perch this season, maybe next week !

The last night was uneventful, the fish had indeed moved on, as I packed away the sky began to show traces of blue,and the aphids, ladybirds and other bugs that sought refuge from the elements with me, finally returned home, as did I.
I'll have one more attempt to catch 'The Common' this year, before moving to another lake and the rivers for winter.