Saturday, January 05, 2013


New Year's Day saw me after the roach again. I wanted to fish a different swim but the howling gale blowing down the lake rather dictated where I could set up the brolly. Back in the same swim I'd fished the previous two days. For some reason the undertow wasn't in evidence and the lines were bowing well downwind. So strong was the wind that accurate casting was impossible. One cast would veer off to my right so I'd compensate on the next cast and it would fly true. I kind of knew I was wasting my time, and so it proved. I spent the afternoon birdwatching with three rods out!

A kestrel bravely battled the wind, taking breaks to rest in a birch tree. I've watched them use the wind to hold station hovering with minimal wing flapping, but the wind was such that the poor little chap was flapping away like mad.

In the distance I watched a buzzard struggling into the wind, flying low. A flock of jackdaws came overhead purposefully heading somewhere. The sight of the buzzard made them divert their course to mob it, and once they were satisfied they resumed their journey. This corvid dislike of raptors can't be teritorial, it must be something they have to give in to no matter what.

There's a small roost of starlings at the lake, and right on cue a few arrived to begin their wheeling and circling. This time they were joined by a couple of other small flocks. Nothing like the large murmurations that gather in some places.It was big group that evening, maybe twenty or more birds. Some evenings I've seen as few as eight birds. No matter how few there are they still spend as long as half an hour flying around the area before descending as a group into the roost.

Having other things to do for the rest of the week I replenished my maggot supply on Friday, almost taking them for an outing in the afternoon but leaving it until today. Not only was there no rain, the lake was almost flat calm. I could pick any swim I liked. The one I'd had in mind was near the car park. I didn't like the look of it though and ended up walking right round the lake to fish the opposite bank working up quite a sweat despite not wearing a fleece under the bunny suit.

The swim I picked was in the right area. It was a bit cramped to fish though. Eventually I managed to get comfortable and the baits in place. I feel like I'm starting to go through the motions here and the approach was the same as the last few sessions. Again the sleeper rod fished the fake/real maggot combo.

I'd had my first cup of tea and made the second casts with the two closer range rods when I saw the line tighten on the left hand rod before the alarm sounded. The roach was hooked and netted without issue. That was a surprising start. Needless to say it was nearly three hours before I got another bite!

Throughout the day there had been one or two fish topping. The first time I'd noticed this. Towards dusk there appeared to be a shoal of fish feeding on the surface out from the swim I'd fished last time out. A group of mallards muscled into the area, so I'm guessing there was a hatch of insects in the area.

Over to my left a smaller group of small fish were topping too, and some over on the far side. I'd never seen so much activity!

The bite that came was to the sleeper rod and even on the long chuck the fish felt heavyish and was fighting. Close in it woke up a bit more. The light had faded to the extent that I couldn't see into the water to identify the species. When I aught a flash of scales I was thinking hybrid or bream. When the fish rolled to reveal a long dorsal I thought something else. In the net it was revealed as some sort of mutant carp. I wasn't aware there were any of these things in the place.

The rig had got tangled. Time was running out. I put the rod away to sort out later and began tidying my gear. It was almost dark when I heard an alarm bleep. The bobbin on the left hand rod was jiggling. The fish turned out to be another roach that didn't fall off. Three bites and everyone resulting in a landed fish this time. It must be the luck of the draw if the rig hooks or not. When it does work the hook is firmly embedded in the bottom lip.

Roach burnout is imminent. Not only am I doing the same things each time out I'm getting the itch to fish for something else. Maybe it's knowing that my local waters will be shutting in less than ten weeks, maybe there's something in the air, the distant chinking of a great tit perhaps, that is making me think of pike again.