Saturday, August 03, 2013

Out of hiding

When fishing blogs go quiet it can be for a few reasons. The blogger hasn't been fishing. The blogger has been fishing but can't, or doesn't want to, say where or what has been caught. The blogger has been fishing but has caught bugger all. This blog has been quiet for all three reasons over the years. The latest hiatus has been a result of reason number three - a lack of results!

There are only so many ways you can make 'I turned up, cast baits out, hung around for a few hours, packed up and went home' vaguely interesting. So I didn't bother trying.

One session was a complete and utter blank. Not a twitch. The next provided a twitch. So I tried roach fishing using my new Avons. Nowt. Then things improved - marginally - with another of those frustrating eel sessions. I had seven runs, one of which was dropped, five of which were missed completely and one where the eel had swum towards me and when I eventually felt it's weight fully the strike brought back half a bait.

I tried all sorts to connect with the runs, which were all positive. Open bale arm with drop off, light bobbin on a drop and the baitrunner set as lack as possible both saw the line flying off the reel. Instant strikes failed, as did leaving the runs. Winding down to the fish failed, as did letting the fish take up the slack. Hook in the tail or lips of a half bait didn't work. Threading the hook through the bait wasn't successful. Even a tiny section of fish, tried to see if tiny eels were the culprits, produced a run that was missed.

After the fact I pondered other approaches. When I've had accidental eel captures on boilies, pellets and fake corn they've all bee hair rigged with the baitrunner set tight. Would that work? How about fixed leads that work so well for pike? I'd have one more try and if that was a blank I'd either give these wacky ideas a try or go bream fishing....

It was yet another hot and sticky evening when I set up the usual gear around seven. A lip hooked perch head went out to the right, a slightly larger than usual roach tail was threaded on and cast out to the left.

I've never been a one for reading books when I'm fishing as I like to watch the water for signs of fish. The only clues eels ever seem to give are trails of bubbles. On this water there are bubbles coming up all the time all over the place. Most aren't fishy bubbles, so casting to them is a waste of time. Occasionally I have taken reading material with me when there's been something I had started and wanted to finish quickly. This time I took a book I had just started to distract me from the impending lack of action.

How Keith Richards has managed to survive as long as he has must be a result of some sort of internal pickling process. One thing's for sure his life has been a full one. I've only got as far as the Stones signing their first record deal, but the book's holding my attention. Or it was until the line pulled out if the right hand bobbin with a thwack and the line coiled off the spool. There was no sign of this one stopping so I made the decision to close the bale arm and let the line tighten. As it did so there were a couple of tugs and I swept the rod back. It hadn't got far when everything went solid and the unmistakeable writhing of an eel was felt.

As the bait had been cast quite close in I soon had the eel on the surface trying to tie itself and the line in knots. Balled up like that it was easily netted, when it looked to be retain its girth further towards its vent than previous eels have done this season.

With the hook lodged in the bottom jaw the fish was quickly unhooked and weighed. Not big enough to warrant a wrestling contest for a self-take, it was still the biggest of the year so far.

All that twisting and turning had spun the lead link round the hook trace. Not the first time this has happened. As I'd been using that set up for a specific purpose last year, which doesn't obtain on this water, I finally abandoned it.

A fresh bait was put on the hook and after recasting I settled back to reading. Even when engrossed the high pitched call of a kingfisher kept disturbing me as it flew past taking fry to its offspring, as did the annoying continuous peeping of a great crested grebe chick begging for food.

The light had not long faded too much to continue reading when the right hand bobbin started pulling tight and going slack. I gave the eel a helping hand to pull the line from the recently tightened clip. I left this no longer than the previous take but the poundish eel that was landed had taken the hook deeper. Another indication a short while later appeared to have been dropped. The baitless hook I saw when I packed up suggested the bait might have been pinched. I really can't get to grips with the way eels take baits. One of the reasons I keep fishing for them I suppose. Time to stock up with more baits to carry on eeling.