Thursday, July 03, 2014

Disaster strikes

When this eel bug bites I get a little obsessed with it. I'm sure it's the continual frustration of missed runs which gets my stubborn side going. That's why I was back by the water and setting up for another eel session late on Tuesday evening in yet another swim. I'm not sure if swim choice makes much difference on small waters, but trying new spots helps keep me thinking.

Not much thinking was required when it came to choosing baits. Having forgotten my worms it was squid or fish! It took a while for the first run to materialise, to a middle section from a small hybrid. This was, unsurprisingly missed. When the bait was taken again I tried the clamping on the spool before striking trick - and it worked. This wasn't a small eel. When I got it on the surface it looked like a thicker one than the skinny ones of previous sessions too. It was doing a lot of writhing but coming in steadily. I sank the net in anticipation. Then it was gone. The silence of the still night was shattered by one loud word. BASTARD!!

I swung the eel-less rig to hand to see the wire had snapped. Not at the crimp but half way along. The other end of teh wire was wrapped around the eye of the Arlesey bomb's swivel. I can only assume that all the writhing had somehow managed to kink the trace. I've been using nylon covered wire because I thought it might be more kink-resistant than uncoated steel. Oh, well. While I was sorting the rig out the squid was away, and ten minutes later, with both rods back in action the replacement fish bait was taken. Another missed run to the squid and there was a lull.

Around twenty to twelve I missed a couple more runs. After more than an hour of inactivity, as I was considering calling it a night, I started to get twitches to the squid bait. Eventually the twitches turned into a full blooded run and I connected with an eel for the second time in the session. This one also felt decent, but not quite as decent as the one that bust me. It was chunky, but not quite chunky enough. It did manage to make two pounds though. Not a specimen, but the eeling benchmark I set myself on each water. Get a two then try to improve.

With the eel returned, without a photograph as I was now in another mess, the fish having swum around the other line, it was time to sort that mess out. As it was I decided the best plan was to go home and deal with the huge knot of braid in daylight.

Wednesday had me thinking about stepping up my wire. I was about to head for a tackle shop when I thought a delve into the depths of my 'why did I buy that' boxes might be worth a try. Sure enough there was a spool of heavier, stiffer, coated wire among the myriad of swivels, links and assorted rig bits. A trace was crimped up and tested and all seemed fine. A few more were knocked up and stored in grip seal bags in the tackle box.

That done it was time to brave the massive tangle. A closer look at the spool saw that this was the same reel I'd removed some braid from following my last tangle, and by the time the knots were off the spool there was mono backing visible. The knots proved impossible, and the braid looked fairly frayed in that area too. Out with the scissors. Line trimmed back and there seemed to be enough left on the reel to fish with without getting down to the backing.

After tea I was out again. This session I picked a swim I'd seen the night before, mostly because it was quite wide. Having got very low on coarse deads I thought I'd give a sandeel head a go on one rod (I'd forgotten the worms again...) with Bo Squiddley on the other as a banker bait. Sure enough it was less than five minutes after casting Bo out than he was heading for the other side of the lake. Sure enough I managed to miss the run...

What a difference a day makes. Tuesday had been warm with a clear starry sky and no wind. The night light enough and the water still enough to see and hear fish rolling. Wednesday was just as warm but with the willows creaking and swaying wildly under an overcast sky. Too dark and the water too rippled for any surface activity to be visible. It felt promising for eels though.

It was almost an hour before the second run. This time to the sandeel head. Missed, of course, but encouraging that the bait was acceptable to the eels. Not quite another hour had passed before the squid was taken, and the run missed. It was feeling  like a slow night by the standards I'd got used to. Ten minutes more and a run to a sandeel tail, cast well out from the bank, was connected with. This wasn't a super-slim fish, nor was it a fatty. I returned it unweighed - it looked to be between one and two pounds, nearer one.

A couple more missed runs to the squid before twitchy takes started to come to sandeel. These were more like the twitchy takes you get to worms. The bobbin jiggling up and down as line is taken then goes slack in fits and starts. I tried striking one lift without success. Leaving it to develop failed just as miserably. A full night of this frustrating fishing would see me drained and completely unable to function the next day! By midnight I'd had enough. I'd learned something valuable though. Coarse deads aren't essential, and leaving worms in the fridge catches no eels.