Monday, 26 August 2013

A Pot Of Lobs

Working on a bank holiday Monday isn't much fun, but I was only in for four hours and for much of that time I had the long walk and the eddy swim in mind.
 Just for a change I thought I'd take just one pot of lobs for bait, nothing more nothing less.
 Come five 'o' clock I found myself once again at the boundary oak...

 I paused a while. This is where I'd seen a badger on my previous visit, this evening it was to be a fox. He'd heard me coming and watched me a while from the undergrowth before drifting quietly away.
 I viewed the walk ahead with trepidation, 300 yards of untrodden jungle to a swim I'd last seen in the winter.

Onwards then, with polaroids donned for protection. I'd received a puncture wound to my eyelid from a dog rose thorn last year which could just have easily have been my eye itself...once bitten..
 The vegetation was over head height and I ploughed onward with my spoon net before me as protection, fencing style. The teasel seemed to jump on my net and clothing as I pushed through, every step a chore, with something trying to trip and unbalance me.
 About halfway in I was beginning to wonder what the heck I was doing, too late now. Onward through nettle, stinging through my combats and stabbing at my forearms.....but eventually I reached the swim.

The best way I can describe it is that it's the kind of swim you're not going to get a back cast from or indeed a side cast. The kind of swim where you're not sure whether your next step will be into the river. The kind of swim that you wouldn't want to drop keys or phone in.
 I broke a couple of the lobs up and dropped them into the near margin before tackling up a loafer style float with three AAA's bulk shotted and a size 10 hook to nylon.

It seems that my hat makes a very good platform for my tackle box, perched atop the stalks. One day I might even organise my float rubbers in order of size in my little Allcocks Handy Outfit tin!
 It was around this time I baited the hook and realised that I had been a bit of an idiot. In my haste to get fishing I'd actually picked up barbless hooks, every time I put a lob on, he wiggled off. I was mortified and scrambled around in my bag for something that would suffice, eventually finding some size 6 Super Specialists. A bit (lot) bigger than I wanted but it was my only option.
 So with hook and bait reattached I was ready to fish, I didn't cast,  more just lowered the bait in front of me. 

There was movement on the float almost immediately and it jagged out of sight. I struck to nothing and repositioned the bait, another bite, strike and nothing. I cursed the big hook.
 Next time round I waited,"Give it enough rope" I thought and struck to resistance.
 After a spirited little scrap I was thankful at having the forethought to bring my 3 metre landing net handle. I still had to stretch precariously to net the fish...a rather fine perch.

Look at his humpy shoulders. One of my ambitions is to catch a 3 pounder from this little river, they're in there, and probably bigger. My reluctance to use live fish as bait is a definite handicap, but I will persist come Autumn.
 The swim went quiet after the perch capture, it happens in these intimate places, you often only get one chance,
 I sat back with a canopy of summer growth above me, took a drink and enjoyed the fact that I'd probably go unnoticed by any passer-by, not that there was going to be any.
 Sometime later I flicked out a few more pieces of worm and ventured another dabble.
 The float vanished instantly and once again I struck to nothing, these bites were different though and as I went through the same routine over and over my curiosity grew.
 I took off the whole worm and threaded a tail section up the shank of the large hook and dropped it back out. Under it went again and my strike connected, it was a dace, a beautiful, lively dace.

I'm holding him tighter than I normally would, I genuinely feared that had he flipped and fell I'd have never found him.
 I soon got to thinking about leaving, what with the bait having run out and the thought of doing the long walk in the dark sending shivers down my spine. Time to go back through the bush then.

 I think I timed it perfectly really. I arrived at the car as the sun was beginning to set and as I admired the view I reflected that I had only caught two fish, but also pondered that one can have a fine adventure with just a pot of lobs.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Back In Business

I suppose that one of the worst things about running a large tackle shop is the fact that the best time to go fishing is also the busiest time of the year. My own angling suffers as I cater for the masses. I'm not complaining, business is good. It just means that  I tend to fish more in winter than summer.
  With business booming, we do seem to buck the industry trend.  I needed a little solitude and eventually found a few hours to re-visit my little stretch of river.
 I had a specific swim in mind which was far upstream. Truth is, I hadn't accounted for the surge in growth of the bankside vegetation.

It was clear that no-one had been here for a while. 
 With only a couple of hours of daylight to play with I decided on the easy option of my old dace swim which was at the right end of the beat.
 I was amazed at the sight before me as I reached the swim.......

...It had clearly not been fished since my last visit well over a month ago.
 It really does give me a closeness to this little stretch and the river itself. We are friends, it welcomes me, not others.
 I sat amongst the vegetation, blending in as best I could. The odd nettle couldn't resist a swipe at me, it comes with the territory.
 Just a few years ago this beat was decimated by chainsaw and dredger, you'd never believe it now, yet people still believe the fish have gone for good. Mother nature thrives on neglect.

It was always going to be a Lucky Strike evening, sit back , de-stress and await whatever might come, nestled within the welcoming arms of my special place.
 The trotted balsa glided away to bring many silver bars of dace and the occasional stripey swirl of a perch.
 However, it was the one nice roach that was given up that made this Intrepid Piscator smile in the face of another week at work.