Monday, April 06, 2009

Bream, flies, and 'mushy peas'

I always think that spring has truly arrived when the blackthorn is in bloom. It's surprising how much further advanced the year is down south. Last weekend I travelled to Northampton and the bushes were white with blossom, yet back home the buds had yet to open.

Blackthorn in flower and the bream should be on the move

Using natures signs from the land can give you clues as to what the fish will be doing and I think that bream are a worthwhile option when the blackthorn is out, but tench become more viable when the hawthorn is in flower. So, on my way home from Northampton I called in at a pit for a few hours in search of bream. I hadn't fished the pit before so didn't expect much. I wasn't disappointed. I blanked. Although I did have a worm bitten in two.

Yesterday I intended to make the trek south again and give the place a more serious assault. However I rose late. Having nothing better to do I set off anyway, arriving after noon but still with plenty of time to put some bait out and fish a few hours into dark. The plan was to spod out a load of pellets, mixed with some sloppy green groundbait to hold them in the spod.

Mushy pea spod mix

With the bait out to a marker float two method feeders were cast out on top of this into about eleven feet of water. The third rod fished a maggot feeder to a gravelly spot at the bottom of the marginal shelf just in case any tench were moving about. Sitting back in the sun with the light dancing on the ripples alternatively watching the water for signs of fish and the bobbins for signs of movement it was most relaxing. Far more so than the fly flinging I'd been indulging in on the local canal during the week.

All set up and ready for action

The concept of fly fishing, for trout as well as pike, has a theoretical and aesthetic appeal. The thought of carrying just a rod, net and light bag is enticing when you have carried five rods, a rucksack and chair plus what felt like a ton of bait half way round a 20 acre pit. And the collecting, or creating, or 'flies' is an added bonus. I had bought some Alien Hair from Alex at Zoota Lures and done some messing about. Nice stuff to work with once you get the hang of it.

Crudely tied pike 'flies'

As I said in another post there is a pleasure in the casting of a fly line, but sitting in the sun waiting for an alarm to sound is more my style these days. Especially when I'm blanking. Which is what I did on the bream pit. I was full of anticipation when the wind dropped towards dusk. I expected to see numerous dark rolling backs over my baited area and the bobbins dropping back like glowing yellow stones. It didn't happen. Just as it had got dark enough for the head torch to be required I had two 'bites'. One to a method feeder one to the maggot feeder. But they were only lifts of the bobbin that dropped straight back. Liners I suspect.

I missed out on some good bream fishing last April because I couldn't string together three days to fit in a two-nighter. With Easter weekend approaching it looks like this year might follow the same pattern. Once the weather has warmed up enough to get the tench moving in earnest then day sessions become a viable option for decent fish - provided you can get up early enough to hit the water at dawn. The very thought of it makes me quail!