Friday, May 01, 2009

A deserved blank

When you watch a coot swimming out to your baited patch, diving down, popping back up with a tasty morsel in its beak, swimming back to its chick and repeating the process, all day, it should tell you something. Slow on the uptake it took me almost two days to work out that there were either no fish in the swim or the coots had devoured all the bait. That was last week and it was nice to be out in the sun, but that's not the same as catching fish.

Coot food

What was surprising was that the coot (or coots as I suppose the pair might have been taking turns) rarely picked up my baits. The fake casters were never touched, the fake corn occasionally and the boilies only after they had been recast. A bait was never picked up a second time. I also noted that when there was a hatch of flies in the evening the coot(s) stopped nicking my bait and made the most of the meat that had come available. Once the hatch was over they went back to the pellets and stuff. There'll be some well fed cootlets swimming about soon.

A coot snack

On the way home I collected my latest batch of blanks which have kept me occupied since my return. I'd be more occupied with them if I wasn't still waiting for a few rod fittings. Par for the course though for a European distributor to be out of stock...

A few rebuilds and refurbs have materialised this week. As usual they show varying levels of craftsmanship. The professionally built rods just need tidying up even though they are fourteen years old. They do have ridiculously long handles though. The 'home made' rods are a different matter. One of the reel seats on one pair is fitted off centre. I wouldn't actually know how to achieve that if I wanted to! Other than that they are a simple rewhip and varnish job that is almost complete. The third pair of rods are a full strip and rebuild.

One of the reel seats was loose. When pulled off it was apparent why. Whoever had built the rod failed to run epoxy round the outer edges of the rolls of masking tape under the seat. This allows water to get in and soften, and eventually rot, the masking tape. The reel seat then works loose.

Rotten tape

The blanks are Tri-Cast Arrowlites which are nice blanks, but like all woven carbon/Kevlar blanks frustrating to refurb. Strip the clear coat off and the Kevlar strands stick up. Being bullet proof they are impossible to shave off with a blade. Apply varnish over them and you have sticky-up bits. These can be trimmed away for a second coat. But it's all a right pain.

With no time to get away I snatched a couple of fly fishing sessions. One a blank on the ressy, one on the canal that resulted in a jack attacking a 'fly' three times before getting fed up. Pleasant evenings but, as with the tench/bream session, I'd have preferred to catch something. At least I put some effort and thought in so didn't feel like kicking myself.

With warblers arriving the cuckoos won't be far away. The trees are leafed up nicely, hawthorn buds starting to show (even elder buds) and the reeds are starting to turn from straw to green as their shoots reach up through the water.

New shoots

It all makes you want to get out and fish. Then another Bank Holiday approaches to spoil it all.