Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Feeling deflated

For once I did some forward planning and had a bag of my hemp/pellet feeder mix thawing in the afternoon sunshine ready to try out some big cage feeders I had acquired. It had softened up nicely and I was contemplating getting the gear together when the sky darkened, rain fell, thunder cracked and lightning flashed. Sod it. I'd stay home.

Now that's what I call a swimfeeder!

As quickly as it had arrived the storm passed over. Reasoning that it was heading towards the river, at a good speed, the flask was filled and the car loaded. If I timed it right I'd arrive at the river with the grass wet but the sun shining. I set off and immediately detected a rhythmical low thumping sound coming from the rear of the car, the faster I drove the faster the thumping beat. Keep going and see what happens. I was close to the exit from the motorway when I heard a clattering under the car and the thumping stopped. Must have been a stone in the tread of a tyre. On to the dual carriageway and they thumping returned growing stronger and stronger. Puncture.

I was a short distance from a turning into a lane so slowing own I made the turn and parked up. Ten minutes later I had cleaned the dirt off my hands with some freshly mown grass and was on my way again. When I arrived at the river the swim I fancied was occupied by a rather damp looking angler who had got caught in the downpour I had cleverly avoided. The river had fallen a foot or so from Sunday and the colour was dropping out. I set up above the peg I had fished last time as that was a bit of a slippy-slidey mess.

Once set up with two feeders cast out my feathered friends came to see me. Again I had half a pint or so of old casters and maggots with me and having decided most of them were floaters and not worth putting in the feeders I let the ducklings have a few. The rod tips were pretty stationary. A very occasional twitch, but nothing even remotely strikeable. The feathery critters were getting brave. More pecking of boots and clambering over rod butts. Then one discovered the maggot box. You'd have thought it hadn't eaten for a week the way it attacked the casters! It didn't take long before there were five little beaks pecking away in the box and the casters all gone! I guess the bran must have been a bit dry as the ducklings were quick to the water for a drink.

When dusk arrived the rod tips came to life. Eel pulls, chub knocks and rattles. Still nothing conclusive. I think the angler upstream landed a fish of some sort, but he was gone before it was fully dark. Even now there is still a trace of blue in the sky around eleven when the stars are visible. If it hadn't been so cloudy, there'd been a couple of showers, it would have stayed light quite late.

To be honest I had half expected a return to the one-chance all evening situation when I realised how clear the river was. And true to form it came shortly after eleven. A proper barbel bite that set the reel spinning. It came after I had swapped the rods around and cast the double 12mm Pellet-O rig upstream and the 11mm S-Pellet downstream. This one had taken the crab Pellet-Os. A fish of some six pounds that was unhooked in the net without being weighed.

The sky had cleared and darkened when I packed up at midnight, the feeders having got a seal of approval. The only drawback to them is that being so large you soon get through a lot of feed. Half-filling them is the answer to that one.