Friday, 26 June 2015

Citronella Nights

 With my newly re-connected fishing head firmly back on I pass through the clanky gate to the inviting green sanctuary that is Ouse.
 The undergrowth seems to have grabbed and kept the days sun and I stroll headstrong through it's thermal pockets.
 This evening I do consider my options, the entire beat is mine. Passing every pool and glide, weighing one's options as the blood sucking insects case me out.
There's a tinge of colour to the flow and the fish only give themselves away at surface level, chublets, dace and roach chasing the hatch.
 Settling on the farthest swim from the gate I sit amongst dock and the huge mutant plantain, bright green filigree'd leaves surround.
The Davenport & Fordham MkIV & Speedia Deluxe combo is tackled up and seems just about right here, not overly long and with backbone if required.

 My swim is quite featureless, straight and deep. I consider that it might be great for many things; trotting, laying on, predators; pike and perch will definitely live here.....but maybe not a classic barbel swim. However, you never know on the Ouse..and you have to try.
 I arrived at this swim choice because the area downstream is gravelly and has lots of cover, thinking maybe I could tempt a barbel up to me with the fourteen boilies I have baited. Confidence is everything, so fourteen it must be, it's a magic number. Doesn't seem a lot of bait to prime a swim with, does it? The barbel are so few now that you are angling for single nomadic fish...less is more. I purposely take very little bait, if I took more it would be used, and more never works.
 As the sun begins to lower itself I hear voices, loud voices. Someone is showing a friend the fishery..loudly. I become agitated, how dare they break the dare they both stroll straight into my swim..loudly. Eye contact is all that is needed to tell them to move along but I hear them for ten more minutes. What has happened to angling etiquette?..I feel like I'm turning into my father!
 The tip judders, and then again and I raise it on.
 No drama here a small, welcome chub. I can feel that this swim has the ingredients for big chub, but I take whatever comes gladly.

We're at that time now when the local wildlife begin to complete the days business.
The heron is flying from bough to bough, looking for a roost.
 I see the kingfisher, frantically diving along the beat, searching for the last meal of the day.
 A solitary magpie flies through the overhanging branches as chub rise for the relentless insects in the flow beneath. The magpie is not a harbinger of bad luck for me, I have much wierder superstitions!

Another tap, and then a click of the centrepin, I strike and another chub.

 Netted, released and recast just before darkness, and so to what I call the quiet hour. As the light drops away, so does the sound...Silence and a marked drop in temperature.
The otter appears, in no hurry to pass through my swim. Steady and methodical is how he works. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love to see them, they have a right to be here..they have also eaten most of my beloved Ouse barbel.
I wait beneath the enveloping branches of this old willow, the rod tip now invisible, I leger by touch.
 My eyes feel heavy. The heady whiff of citronella, darkness and concentration are taking their toll and I nod off.
 Something pulls at my fingers, which are still holding my line. I wake, strike and miss...Go home to bed Gurn.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Back Amongst It.

It's always there, it's a calling. The Great Ouse, sometimes I forget that I miss it, but yes, I'm always conscious that it's flowing mass somehow has this impact upon me. It's not called 'Great' without reason. I curse myself for letting life get in the way, but sometimes it must.
 Treading pathways, newly formed by the excited river angler, I stroll, focussed.
 In the back of my mind I know where I will end up but kid myself that I shouldn't be blinkered, so view other likely places through nettle and over broad leafed plantain the size of side plates, it grips at my stride. These moments have missed me too..Uncaught fish, lost memories, but now I'm here it feels cosy and correct.
 Inevitably, I'm in a swim that has been kind in the past. These days you take what you can on the Ouse.
 Somehow the fish are secondary here, though when they happen along you know that you deserve them.
 Settling in, one rod, baited, waited, cast. Instantly I realise that my once accustomed body is not as ready to sit on an old Lafuma low chair as it might be.
 The odd angler strolls the far bank, not enough to bother a searcher of solitude. I exchange an obligatory nod and nothing further..Move on, nothing to see here!
 The rod tip jags twice..why am I still lazily looking at it? jags twice again and I lift the rod and start to play the fish in a position that seems too low down...I get to my feet, eventually.
 After a spirited initial surge, so typical of the chub, he tries to ram his way beneath the near bank. He's mine Ouse fish, first of the season.

With the rod re-cast I sit back down with what I can only describe as a feeling of smugness, not because of the fish but because I am alone, at peace. Is it selfishness? No apology here.
 A pair of swans with two young arrive downstream, grazing on the present weed. They're noisy, but in a good way. I'm reacquainting myself with these once familiar sounds.
 A great heron soars above, screeching like something from the Jurassic, searching for a spot to fish and though I hear the other 'fisher I do not see his flash of azure.

It occurs to me how little I actually watch the rod tip directly, though I'm always aware of it in my peripheral vision. There's too much going on to worry about bites,  a sharp tap re-focusses the
mind for a few seconds. It may sound a bit weird, but I believe that I could actually somehow feel a bite without even looking.
 The light is beginning to fade and my swim takes on a spiritual vibe with  more than a couple of citronella incense sticks burning around me.
 The mosquitos and midges swirl in great vortices atop the trees like starlings coming to roost or the funnels of insect tornados. I've never seen this before, silhouetted trees like arboreal log cabins look to have smoking chimneys, such is the abundance of these bugs.
 With the coming of the insects, so come the bats, amongst my favourite creatures, their acrobatic displays are worth the ticket fee alone. I often wonder why they sometimes fail to detect fishing line though!

One of the many advantages of using a cane rod is that any available light bounces off of the varnish rendering the rod white...I have my own light sabre, no isotopes here.
 A Tawny Owl screeches from the trees and a large unseen flock of noisy birds passes above as dusk becomes dark.
 Just before midnight the downstream swans become agitated and the cob hisses incessantly. He's definitely disturbed, it can only mean one thing, a predator is close. Human? Fox? ..... a couple of minutes later a large dog otter swims nonchalantly through my swim..and so, nature tells me it's time to go home.