Sunday, October 30, 2011


This time I managed to get up before daylight. In fact I got up well before daylight. I had almost an hour of blundering around in the dark. Note to self: It's coming light later than you thought... When I left home there were stars in the sky but by the time I'd parked up they were obscured by clouds blown in on the cool wind. The grass was wet from the rain early in the night and all too soon my feet were wet too. Another note to self: Buy a new pair of boots.

There was little flow on the drain so baits were positioned to both margins. The same three bait species as last time. Apart from the ever-useless smelt the other two are catching so I'm sticking with them for now. When the sun finally began to poke its head up I got the camera and flash gun out for something to do. I'll be honest, trying to make some decent fishing photos is as much the spur for turning out as catching fish at the moment.

Over-dramatic dawn
Dawn reflections
One of these days I'm going to put in a full day in one swim, but not today as I walked as far as I could be bothered so I could work my way back towards the car. I spent rather longer than intended in the first swim, moving baits around - swapping their positions with each other. Around dawn the pumps had stepped up a gear so I put all three baits on the near side. An hour later the float on the mackerel rod began to slide upstream makin ga small wake as it went. Regular readers will know what had picked up the bait. A jack of about three pounds! There are definitely two of them as this one had a full compliment of fins. Although small I still managed to graze my knuckles while unhooking the blighter. Another forgotten 'joy' of pike fishing.

Raker rash
And so the moving commenced after a couple of hours. Every hour and a half or so I'd up sticks and relocate some thirty yards closer to the car. During my time in each swim the baits would be repositioned. Around ten the wind dropped and the air felt warmer. The pumping also dropped to a trickle so the lamprey went across to the far bank. On the second move I had an absolutely screaming run to that bait. The line was a blur and as soon as I closed the bale arm the line tightened to the reel. My strike met with nothing. The bait appeared to be unmarked, although it was bent back on itself and covered in weed. I have a sneaking suspicion an unseasonable eel may have been the culprit.

While it was still dark I could hear lapwings in the field opposite. When it was light they began to wheel in a loose flock, calling as they did. It's hard to believe that only a month or so ago there were grashoppers in abundance. Winter is drawing closer. The family groups of whopper swans that flighted over, and the masss of pink-footed geese in the stubble, being two more signs of that. Yet by noon when the sun came out and the wind picked up again, from a more southerly direction, it felt positively warm. Warm enough to remove the fleece mittens and woolly hat.

When making a recast I noticed the marker float I had been using on one rod was not as it should be. It was coming apart. Luckily I had made a couple of 'old school' bottom end sliders last week. One inch balsa dowel cut to a length of four and a half inches. The ends rounded over and a split pin with a swivel attached pushed into the bottom end. Painted up half-and-half orange and black then varnished. The same design as I used to use all the time on the drains, except my old floats are 3/4 inch diameter and three inches long. I prefer this more stumpy shape to the usual 'pencil' floats recommended for use with float-legered deadbaits as I find they are both more visible and less prone to dragging under. I've also used them on paternoster rigs with live and deadbaits. 

The end of the marker float
The geese had taken enough of being disturbed by vehicles on the estate roads and had flown off in a 'wink-winking' mass meaning I was able to make a few more moves without the risk of disturbing them during the early afternoon. However, buy two o'clock my early start was beginning to catch up with me. The clocks going back hadn't helped matters - it was feeling like it was later than my watch was telling me. The eyelids were drooping. I began a slow pack up and set off to the car. I paused briefly to check out two birds perched on a wire. The first was a lone fieldfare, the second a sparrowhawk which I had seen flying low to the ground earlier in the day.

Work beckons next week. I've a bit of catching up to do. The trouble I have when my fishing Mojo returns is that all I want to do is fish. This means I sit around trying not to go fishing, but not doing any work either. I shall knuckle down to it. I shall. Then I'll be able to get to the water more often. In theory