Thursday, 31 May 2012

Still Waiting

It looked serene, it smelt of summer. To my mind summer is now here, I've heard the Beach Boys on the radio, I've seen a dog hanging out of a car window with its tongue out and Lady Sarah is partaking of the's summer.
 I am entranced by this water and up till now it has spurned my advances, but Lady Sarah and I were there and we were to do the night. We had one side of the lake to ourselves and as I set up for the night I imagined ol' Dick and Fred sitting there on a night such as this smoking, cooking and chatting. This lake does that, it takes you somewhere else. Escapism in its purist form. It's what I like, what I crave.
 Working on a weekend limits my fishing to grabbed moments. I take it when I can. I find myself fishing in less than ideal conditions. The carp seem to have finished spawning but the resident catfish were hard at it, some of them were huge. I managed to get some footage of the smaller ones.

Once set up, we ate and drank in the fading light. The good Lady gave a patient smile, my mind distracted from her temporarily, fishy thoughts dominating.
 I was fishing two rods, same bait on each, to a clearish area not too far from the bank. The rigs ? Simple, but effective, no need to overcomplicate on this lake.
 One of the Neville alarms gave a bleep, then again. I looked up to find that a log, about twenty feet long had drifted into my swim, taking out both lines. It was just a case of wind in and wait until it had drifted through. This took around half an hour, by which time it was dark. It was about this time that the good Lady though it might be a good time to bed down on MY new Nash Indulgence bedchair, she gave it the thumbs up. I was consigned to my old Terry Hearne X-lite.
 I soon started to get line bites, I knew they were from feeding fish because I was fishing a slack line and fish passing through wouldn't register. I soon found out that the cause was Bream. I actually like them. Many don't, but I've found over the years that they are a good way of judging the effectiveness of a rig and whether carp will feed on a particular spot, they will usually muscle the bream out and feed on their patch. When I hooked the first one I viewed it with optimism.
 The night progressed and after a few more up to around eight pounds my optimism began to wain. I hardly slept a wink. Some have told me that nights on this lake have spooked them so much that they will no longer fish there. To me, the moonlight, the nocturnal sounds and the anticipation give me a natural high. I really love it.  Alas the morning came all too fast. The water in front of me covered in weed, thrown up from the bream shoals night-time troughing and the catfish's courtship.

 It's my theory that the bream were taking advantage of the semi-spawny carps disinterest in food at the moment. Gorging themselves on the bait while the bully boys were away. I will persist will the chosen method on the next session and see what happens...until then I'm still waiting to connect with one of those carp.
 I enjoyed the overnighter, I don't really show how much I enjoy the company of Lady Sarah, I'm in the zone you see, I'm a different animal on the bank. It's not easy to explain.
 Her views on this idyll are somewhat different,"I read my book, ate burgers and slept a lot."..Haha

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Peek Over The Edge

The carp where in full spawning mode by midday and I packed my stuff away and made my way round to the birch spinney. Shafts of light pierced through the canopy like lasers onto the green vegetation below.

I love this part of the bankside, it is unkempt and mystical, dark and magical. It's home to many creatures, birds and bugs.
 I could hear the splashing of spawning fish getting louder and louder as I approached. As the birds sung I took a little peek over the can just see one pass through at 15 seconds.

I thought I'd have a closer look. This big fella' scared a very big bream.

You can just about see the spawning tubercles on one of the large bream I saw. They were being chased by carp in cases of mistaken identity.

There were a few big girls in the mix...The Scaley One..

The Pale One.....

Of course every lake must have one mythical creature, a leviathan that is bigger than the rest. There was one fish. Every time I stopped filming he came through in front of me, it was as if he knew. He was larger than Pale and Scaley by quite a bit. I was minded of Eddie Price at Redmire Pool who took the following photo back in the day of a Redmire monster.

This photo has caused much conjecture over the years regarding the size of the fish. The answer will never be truly known.
 Here then is my 'Eddie Price Photo'. I am in no way saying that there is a fish in the lake of the size of the fish above (there isn't), but all things are relative, your opinions will be welcome...

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Thwarted Thrice, But The Day Was Nice.....And Spawny!

My two previous attempts to fish the new lake had been non-starters on account of flooding and marauding bovines. Today, as I cycled with minimal gear alongside the Ouzel and Grand Union, half of me had almost accepted that they would be spawning, but on I went.
 The only rod I carried was a 1.75lb Shimano Twin Power, I have two, they have been customised by my old friend Mick Willis, handles shortened and corked. I use them for barbelling and surface fishing for carp.
 The sun started to peep out as I arrived and I was soon through the padlocked gate.
 I was in no hurry to fish and went for a mooch about.
 As I sit here now, typing, my legs are still glowing from nettle stings having worn shorts and I am also sporting a puncture wound to my left eyelid from a dog rose thorn which has turned into a nice shiner. Parts of this lake are wild and a full cicumnavigation is a perilous journey.
 There were four other anglers on the lake, that's a lot for this place. The fish weren't where I thought they'd be so I primarily settled for quiet area away from everyone else and tackled up.

This was the view ahead as I fired out a few PVA bags of riser pellets and mixers and sat back.

Some carp soon moved in from the right, two small commons waddled straight through my feed as if it wasn't there. Then one of the ghosties did the same.Hmm!
 They were clearly pairing up,my suspicions were confirmed by that glorious whooshing sound of spawning fish from the other side of the lake. I have to admit that I persevered with the feed for much longer than I should've, they were in full thro for at least two hours before I pondered that I might as well pack up.

In these parts there is saying that goes along the lines of, "Cast not a clout, until may is out". Well may is out, I might well have 'cast a clout' but I definitely didn't cast a bait.
 It occured to me that I might not really seek to catch fish, being just happy with solitude and beautiful surroundings...I like it here.

Of course I didn't go home, oh no, I had to go around to have a look at what was going on. I will let you know of my discoveries in my next post, but here's a little taster.......

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Nice Things, Nice Times and Observations of Ego.

The sun shone brightly today, it was nice to open doors and windows and actually feel the heat.
  I strolled along the Grand Union Canal earlier to the smell of Lilac, Horse Chestnut blossom and barbecues. It doesn't take much to make this land of ours come alive. People cycled and jogged their way around, and drank alcohol and chatted loudly. Birds sang, I am sure a blackbird did a rendition of 'Barbie Girl', that timeless classic! The swans have four newly hatched cygnets and proudly showed them off to me. Flowers bloomed, I'd almost forgotten about the little blue flower with the yellow middles. Buttercups, campion and bluebells also on display.
 The sun also shone on my recent visit to norfolk. I knew it was going to be a good trip when all of the following items were purchased within an hour of arrival.

Two vintage banksticks, efgeeco maybe? With attachments...lovely. Also a fine Dundee cake and some local ale, I was happy. I also bought one of these...

Now, to most of us that's an old Oxo tin, I can feel my fellow blogger Paddy getting excited at the prospect of it being full. However, to anglers of a vintage before myself, that thing there is a tackle box. I've seen photos of many of the old time greats, Walker included sat heron-like aside a pool, with rod and oxo tin. It'll fit nicely with my traditional kit.
 Of course, Lady Sarah wasn't left out, I bought her a nice vintage ring and strolled along the deserted beach pictured above and tried my utmost not to laugh when she was engulfed by a stealthy wave, even the seal thought it slightly amusing.

Later, in a local hostelry known for its fine cuisine, I found myself enjoying a few glasses of Nelson's Revenge and perusing the ceiling.....

Just how much valuable, and to my mind useable fishing tackle must be hanging up in public houses?

 Back at home I was pleased to receive my confirmation to fish that hallowed pool on the English/Welsh border.......

 There's a nice map of the swims on the back. In the past year or so, it seems that there has been a move towards re-naming The Willow Pitch as Walker's.  I know it has always seemed strange that, shall we say, lesser anglers, have swims named after them. However, for me, despite Walkers undoubted part in the pools history, I prefer the name 'The Willow Pitch'...there's no willow anymore but the very name somehow encapsulates the magical aura of the place in a timeless way that 'Walker's' just doesn't.
 What about angling then? Well I have planned and re-planned trips,only to be scuppered by various things from floods to marauding friesians.I will have to go soon though, the term 'climbing the walls' is starting to ring true.
 The time away from angling has given me much room for thought and I found myself contemplating the angler's ego. It's something we all have to greater or lesser degrees. It drives to the core of manliness, and the majority of anglers are men. Has angling, to some, become an extension of "Mines bigger than yours"?..On our favourite social media site I find that certain names will regularly put a biggun up for display, often the first comment will be "How big mate", like it really matters. Are we obsessed with numbers? Is it not just about 'being there'?
 Even one of my favourite places to be online, a place of purer thoughts regarding the noble art is holding a big fish competition.
 Of course, blogging can be classed as egotistically saying, "Look at me", we are all guilty. It's not so much a complaint, just an observation. You will never see another catch weight on this blog though. With luck I might even get out to try to catch one by the time I next post.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tortoise and Hare

 The above photo was only taken a few weeks ago. It's been twenty, (count 'em), yes twenty years since my name was placed on the waiting list.
 Imagine how I felt, finally I would get to fish this beautiful lake...but no..The curse of old Izaak has truly been back with vengeance.
 You see that sandy swim in the photo...This is what it looks like now.

Oh dear, it seems to have vanished...along with every other swim on the lake.

Well that's blown out this week for sure. The lake is fed by a small ditch from the nearby river. It is sluiced but has overflown. I now have to wait for the river to drop. Oh well, what's another fortnight on twenty years. Tortoise and Hare, Tortoise and Hare.