Thursday, September 10, 2009

Foggy dew

Every so often the weathermen and women get it right. The Indian Summer arrived on Wednesday morning. By noon it was red hot. So Wednesday evening saw me braving the rush hour traffic to deliver the fettled rods from Sunday. There was plenty of room on the stretch and the gear was (not so amazingly) in the back of the car. What the hell?

The drawback to Indian Summers is that the nights are long and the sun low in the sky. While midday temperatures can be high they soon fall once night falls, and they are slow rising again in the morning. By the time I had my gear in place the bank was shading me and I needed my fleece. For a change I used a spod to put some pellets out. The bait dropper would have been a pig to cast the required distance and could easily have snagged up. The baits were cast out and I began bagging chore.

I wasn't happy. After filling enough bags with pellets to keep me going for a few hours I moved. Only a few yards downstream. Just far enough for my downstream rod to be come my upstream rod and the upstream rod to be leapfrogged to fish further down the swim.

Things were quiet, even after dark. The sky was clear and a bright moon began to rise. I amused myself by bracing my head against the back of my chair and watching the moon's progress behind the leaves and branches of a tree on the far bank. It moves surprisingly quickly. After a few recasts the upstream rod began to bounce. A good scrap was had from what proved to be the largest fish of the night at an ounce under eight pounds. Ten minutes later a five-ish pounder was landed to the downstream rod followed by a repeat performance another ten minutes after that. Then there was a lull before two more fish came along after ten, and another lull before two more were caught within minutes just before eleven.

With the sky so clear there was soon a heavy dew forming on the grass, the rods, and anything else that didn't move. I expected a mist to roll over the water at some point, and it did. It wasn't heavy or constant. There was a breeze that kept it dispersed most of the time. The thermometer had fallen from 17 when I had parked up to 8.5 when I loaded the car. By the time I set off for home at midnight there was a heavier, but patchy, mist in the valley.

On the drive home I began to ponder The Abolitionist Project and its aim of ridding the world of all suffering by chemical and genetic means. If all the world was permanently blissed out on MDMA there would be no highs and lows. Life would be dull. It would be more like purgatory. Imagine being forced to fish somewhere you got a bite every cast and landed every fish, each identical to the next. There'd be no misery of lost fish, but there'd be no elation of landing a whopper. My mind wandered.

    "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same...

    "Rudyard (after a lake) Kipling (not after a maker of exceedingly good cakes)

It sounds clever at first, but it's a load of old tosh when you think about it. How can anyone treat blanking the same as catching? And why should you?

Triumphs in fishing are made all the sweeter by the inevitable failures and disasters. If you catch all the time without really trying it can become a bit boring. As I have still only had two blank barbel sessions this season, and having hooked and lost a barbel on one of those, the appeal is starting to pall. It's still difficult to resist 'just one more session'. So after my next barbel session I'm going to have a change. Maybe.