Friday, December 04, 2009


Events conspired against me yet again this week meaning the only chance I'd have was Friday morning. For once I woke early not hearing the wind howling and the rain lashing the bedroom window. Getting up and ready wasn't a chore. The prospect of a pike session on a calm and sunny winter's morn was just what I needed to get me back into the fishing routine while giving me a break from river fishing. By half past six I was heading for The Land That Time Forgot. A place where no matter what the weathermen predict it rains. Where the trees are hung with mosses and lichens. Where the ground is forever sodden.

Sure enough the forecast was for a fine day with rain arriving around six pm. Sitting under the tailgate pulling on my cosy Baffin boots I heard what sounded like the gentle patter of tiny raindrops on the branches above. It couldn't be. It was. On with the waterproofs and down to the water's edge.

Daylight was just breaking as I selected a swim. Not on the shallows nor too deep. Three baits went out, two close in and one a bit further. The day hadn't started well when I found rather fewer dead fish in the freezer than I remembered. My selection wasn't quite what I'd have liked. The next minor setback was finding that the locking screws on two of my banksticks had seized up. Not the end of the world.

There was no wind at all, small fish were dimpling and flipping on the surface, some on the line my baits were cast to. The moon was high in the blue and cloudy sky to the west reminiscent of a Nash landscape.

Baits out, brolly up, brew poured. I was already pining for the ever-changing surface of a river to watch. There was very little in the way of birdlife to keep me interested. A slack handful of tits flitted and twittered in the willows. The highlight being when I was standing staring vacantly into a willow bush and a coal tit landed in it at eye level. That was about it. The sun came out and the day perked up. I started taking photos to relieve the tedium. Looking across the lake the bands of moss and algae on the stones opposite me brought to mind another painter although I'm not sure the photo gets that across.


Another piker had arrived as I had sat down, and within an hour I was photographing a nicely rounded double for him. His second fish of the morning. I began to curse my manky baits - and lack of livebait snatching gear. On a calm day a livey clonking around would have boosted my confidence, had there been a bit of a wave on I'd have been happy with the deads. The roach head had it's float leger rig altered to a paternoster. I drank more tea.

As the tea ran out so did my time. I had to be back home by one. Four and a half hours had passed surprisingly speedily considering how much I wanted to be somewhere else, or fishing for a different species. I've endured more lengthy blanks this year while tench fishing, but I was glad when this one was over. Maybe if I'd been better prepared, or fishing somewhere that doesn't depress me so much, I'd be keener to have another pike session soon. As things stand it might be maggots and stinky cheese on a river, or maggots on a stillwater, next time out. Quite when that will be gets harder to determine. Monday and Tuesday are already write-offs, Saturday is supposed to be wet and windy (again) with Sunday a possibility. Ho, bloody, hum.

Billy's Blankbiters