The one thing that disappoints me though is that I didn't motivate myself to do enough of it. Hopefully, things will change for the better this year as I've vowed to try to keep the enthusiam up and set a few targets. There's a new lake on the horizon where I intend to target some fat tench, there's also a real enthusiam to get amongst the carp on the new syndicate lake. All this and probably some opportunist river and canal angling mixed amongst it...Then there's my secret quest, which will become apparent as the year progresses.
With my new found enthusiam I'd intended to go to the syndicate lake to see if it held some large roach, it's a hunch, nobody fishes for them, I need to know. The problem, however, is the weather conditions, far too warm for specimen roaching, I just know that the bream will beat them to bait until it gets colder. The weather and river levels looked spot on for a bit of small river perching though.
With the river being just a few minutes walk from 'Gurney Towers', I travelled light, just a bag, rod and the smallest net I thought I could get away with. The sun had shone all morning and I found myself in the weird situation of waiting for the weather to get worse before going fishing.
With sodden grass and residual mud left over from the recent floods the banks were decidedly dodgy, but I managed to find my way to a quite unassuming area that has produced a few perch for me in previous years. It's my theory that the area, though devoid of obvious features, has a higher concentration of signal crayfish than other areas, thus encouraging their predators.
Tactics were simple, some might say crude. Allcocks Nimrod, Mitchell 300, 4lb line, 2.5lb hooklink, the smallest drilled bullet I could get to hold bottom, stopped by a Korum link bead. The size 8 Gamakatzu hook held one lobworm (cut in half, both halves hooked at the gooey end and tipped with a single red maggot).
This area is surrounded by industry and there was a public footpath behind me. It's amazing how soon you get into the zone and the sounds of machinery, vehicles and barking dogs drift away.
I fed maggot and flicked a bait to the near bank a little way downstream. Having tightened up and placed the rod in it's rest I was now in need of a cuppa, just the thermos today, travelling light remember.
The rod soon went into a strange sinewy dance, so savage were the taps from the crayfish that had I not known better I'd have struck.Time has taught me the difference, so the bait stayed out. It was just as well, after around twenty minutes I received a proper bite and struck to resistance and a fiesty 'footballer' was soon netted.
He was a beautiful little fellow, and very welcome.
Having been dragged from my trance-like state, I once again became aware of my surroundings. I've said it before but it does amaze me how many dog owners shout at their dogs for things that could be avoided if the owner was a little more sensible. Having never owned a pet dog (I have owned racing greyhounds) it seems to me to be part of the reason some people keep them...I think I might have a Jack Russel one day, I might call him Alan. I'm sure if I shouted at a Jack Russel it'd perhaps shout back.
With my mind back on the fishing I wondered if I might next time bring the trotting rod, this stretch looks ideal for it.
After another cuppa, a strange twitchy bite, not a crayfish, I thought...I struck into nothing and recast. Soon after the same sort of bite came and I struck once again to nothing.
I replaced the lobworm for two dendrobaenas and recast. On the next strike I landed the culprit a lovely little roach, the first I'd ever caught here.
I didn't really intend it to be a roach day so reverted to the double half lob approach. This turned out to be a wise move as some time later I was into another stripey, I must admit that at first I thought it might be a chub, such was it's first run. It turned out to be the biggest fish of the day. Though not as big as this photo might suggest it was big enough to put a smile on old Gurn's face.
Though I always take a roll-mat on the river I feel that in these situations of sodden grassy ground there's little need for the unhooking mat, the ground being more like their domain and easily soft enough not to cause damage, it's a common sense thing for me. If you disagree I'd be interested to hear your opinions.
This fish was rapidly followed by another lovely looking perch.....
About an hour later a customer of mine strolled towards me from the footpath just as I was into a fish. He wondered how I'd put up with the noise. If I'm honest I didn't hear it, my concentration was elsewhere. I suffer from tinitus and it's amazing how the brain has a way of putting it to the back of your conciousness. Someone was using a loud angle-grinder nearby, I was now aware of it, but couldn't say how long the din had been going on for.
He kindly photographed my last fish of the session, the day cut short so that I had enough time to go to Kenilworth Road to watch the mighty Hatters win 6-1. Now that's a good day, all round.
Not a bad few hours. Last year I'd have probably stayed at home. Happy New Year all.