Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In the (relative) cool of the night

The heatwave arrived and day time was not for fishing. By the same token long summer evenings are not made to be spent watching telly or surfing the infernalweb, so I threw some barbel gear in the car, picked up a couple of chocolate bars and a bottle of pop from the Spar shop and hit the river. Still low, probably been up and dropped since last week, I had the stretch to myself again. After a red hot day it was a muggy, cloudy evening with a light westerly that died away after dark. I was quickly set up and fishing by nine thirty. It wasn't long before slow pulls started showing on the downstream crab Pellet O rod. I had a horribly slimy premonition. Sure enough when the pulls stopped and I wound the bait in it had been engulfed by an eel about a foot long. A new hooklink was required.

I had gone back to fishing with the PVA stocking bags. Mainly because I didn't have time to thaw out some feeder mix for this last minute session. I also like the way the freebies are closer to the hookbait. But I suppose there are times when fish might hang back from the free offerings, when a feeder could be a better bet. Or you could attach the bags to the lead instead of the hook to achieve a similar result.

While watching the rod tips I heard a disturbance on the far bank and saw a falcon fly up to the tops of the trees where it glided around in a faltering manner. At first I thought it was a kestrel, but I soon realised it was catching insects. The first hobby I have seen in the valley. Travelling light I didn't have my binoculars with me to get a better look.

Twenty minutes after the first eel it's twin came along to the same rod. And they say eels are in decline... The air temperature was 23 when I arrived and it wasn't falling fast. There was no need for my fleece until eleven, and even then it wasn't really essential, not even when the sky cleared a little and a few stars appeared.

Darkness saw a few sharp taps, and more than a few more violent raps as Nora and her mates flitted around over the water in search of the numerous flies. Those bat bites really can rattle the rod and get the adrenaline flowing. At eleven the adrenaline flowed for the right reason as I hooked and swiftly landed an eight pound barbel. The fight was unspectacular apart from a couple of attempted runs. On returning the fish it needed no resting. Low levels and flows, hot weather and high water temperatures keep anglers off the river. Fishing isn't always hectic, but barbel can be caught, and if landed in short time they come to no harm. That's my experience anyway.

At midnight another silvery eel hung itself on the downstream rod. They certainly like the crab flavour pellets. All the while the other, upstream, rod fished a 10mm Tuna Wrap. A couple of twitches were all the action they produced. Hard to imagine the eel's didn't fancy them given their catholic taste. While I have caught on the larger Tuna Wraps they haven't been the best of barbel baits. I don't think I'll be bothering with them again.

By half past one the rod tops had stopped moving so I headed for home, the car's thermometer reading 20. Maybe it's worth putting an overnighter in while the nights are still so short and warm? It would certainly be a pleasant way to spend a night. Or perhaps I ought to try and catch some 'proper' eels somewhere else?