Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Let them eat cake

The monkeys can starve when the forecast fits my preferences. With an afternoon meeting scheduled and sun predicted to shine I made an early start. Now it's February early is earlier than it was. It's starting to come light by seven now. There was just enough light when I arrived to see the sheets of cat ice drifting on the flow after I'd cracked the puddles on the track to the drain. Memory plays tricks as time passes, but I recall always doing okay when the drain was pumping leaving ice clinging to the remains of the marginal reeds. I had high hopes.

Reminder to self: fit replacement butt cap.
I settled in to a spot where the ice floes were likely to be least troublesome, dropping the baits in the near edge to keep problems to a minimum. After a short while a light breeze rippled the surface and was enough to disperse the last of the film of frozen water. I began moving baits around.

Despite the ice disappearing there was a lot of reed stems coming along with the current, and a few branches, which made it difficult to hold a bait in the far side. For the first time I had cause to remove the float from a rig and fish a straight leger with the rod tip sunk. This did the trick. Not that the pike were impressed.

A textbook winter's morning followed a subtle sunrise in a clear sky. A few layered clouds adding little drama to the distant glow. In keeping with the weather, bright, bright sun and a clear blue sky, a mixed flock of fieldfares and starlings headed east. Spring may be showing it's face with sprouting daffodils, but the winter migrant are still here and winter flocking birds not going their separate ways to nest just yet.

The morning wore on, and warmed a little, the pumping easing around eleven, I carried on moving the baits around, up and down the drain. Ten minutes after the final move of the headless joey mackerel the bobbin dropped off and the yellow-topped float began to drift to midstream. The fight was unspectacular and I soon slid a fat five or so pounder over the net cord. Three quarters of an hour later I was on my way back to the car. The first pike of another month had saved a blank.

If there is a correct way to hook a mackerel head, this is it.
This is the time of year when an urgency afflicts my fishing. Time is at a premium now with six weeks of the river and drain season left, and the pike season on a couple of the waters I fish. If I was a more motivated person I'd make a big effort to clear the decks of work and go fos a big push on the pike front. But I'm not work motivated, I'm idle and easily distracted by things I like doing... Fortuitously Hopkins and Holloway have failed to supply me with any size 20 rod rings and with my stocks all gone I can't build any more rods for the time being. How will I be able to occupy my time until the rings arrive?