Friday, July 12, 2013

No patience

Saturday evening I set out to catch myself some bait. Half an hour fighting drifting weed on the surface without a bite drove me a way from the first port of call. Ten minutes on the  second venue with one small perch bagged and I was fed up! Sunday I took my dwindling supply of baits for an outing and managed one missed run in blazing sunshine around five in the evening. I expected that to herald a hectic session. The bobbins never moved again. This didn't encourage me to bother again until Thursday when I set off after the roller-coaster ride of the second day's play in the first Ashes Test Match of the summer had concluded.

There was a light breeze rippling the water, taking the strength out of the sun, and wafting the aroma of freshly spread manure up my nostrils making it a pleasant evening to be out and about. There was quite a bit of surface activity. Fry were dimpling and bait-sized fish cavorting splashily. All was good. Confident in perch as eel baits now, and with them being tough skinned, I put a tail on one rod and a head on the other. The tail getting legered close in the head going further out. It was only seven o'clock, still bright and warm. The bait in deeper water was most likley to get picked up first.

Eels being eels it was the close in bobbin which dropped off two hours later, the braid flying off the spool and pulling the meniscus behind it as it ran across the water. Unsurprisingly, my strike failed to connect. The tough perch skin did its job and the bait came back in one piece. I like economical baits!

After twenty five more minutes the left hand rod was away. The bait in deeper water was moving off at speed. Strike. Nowt. I really don't get it with eels! After recasting it was off again. Another failed attempt at hooking the culprit. This time I determined to try a 'catfish strike' on the next run - letting the eel take up all the slack before making my attempt to set the hook rather than a 'pike strike' - taking up the slack using the reel. I only had to wait ten minutes before putting the plan into practice. It almost worked. I felt the eel this time. Briefly. Before it fell off!

In the heat of all this action I left the bale arm closed when recasting the head section. The lead cracked off the weak link and the head section exploded! Retackle the lead link and cut a section out of the middle of the last perch in the cool bag. It wasn't long before that bait was picked up. It was dropped quickly. Bugger. Check the bait. Still on the hook. Recast. It wasn't long before it was away again. At last I connected and felt the unmistakeable pull of an eel.

You don't play eels, you try to keep a tight line and them coming towards you. Most of the time they try to swim backwards, but they can take you unaware and slack line you. I kept the pressure on and managed to net the fish at the second attempt.

On the bank it was clearly another of the tapering eels. Big head and shoulders, rapidly thinning body. It was quite well behaved, if not big enough for a self-take. By now it was time to pack up. Baits were low anyway.

Like all good anglers the landing net is the last thing to get packed away. So the usual procedure was followed. Rucksack packed. First rod away. Second rod laid on the deck with the baitrunner on while the alarms and pod are stashed. I was dismantling the pod when I heard the baitrunner turn a little and stop. I felt the line and there was something going on at the other end. Yet again my strike was fruitless. I recast the bait and finished packing the pod away. That was it. wind in the last rod, roll up the net and head for home. I'm going to have to overcome my patience threshold and put in a serious bait snatching session somewhere or there won't be many more eels getting caught.