Thursday, September 24, 2015

It comes but once a year

Last week I actually managed the impossible. With the PAC's annual convention being held in Kettering last Saturday I had all my stuff ready to go by Thursday evening! All except the carrier bags, but I didn't realise that until I was in Northamptonshire...

Such pre-planning meant I could sneak out for a couple of hours catching suicidal carp at the Railways Pond. Naturally enough I didn't catch any. The weather had changed a bit since the previous visit and the pond was busy. A combination of the weather and boots on the ground could have been the cause of my failure. Or I might just have been in the wrong spot - the right one having a goon with a pole in it when I arrived. It was a pleasant enough two hours though. I might even sort out a set of gear to leave ready to snatch similar two hour sessions for the future. Although how the place will fish come winter I dunno.

An early start and a three hour drive saw me arrive at the venue for the PAC show in good time. Before the doors had opened in fact. The place is much better to get in and out of than the Ricoh Arena where the show was last year. And no officious jobsworths to contend either. Far more laid back and friendly.

It was a good day, with the usual suspects turning up, but a long one.All the usual suspects turned up and I grabbed a few photos of some of them.

Six hours driving in total and the rest of the day on my feet takes it out of an old codger. Well meaning plans to get the rods out in anger on Sunday fell by the wayside. I'd surely manage an evening or overnight session later in the week, especially given the weather forecast? Nope. Long awaited rod fittings turning up, plus other deliveries to wait in for, kept me away from the water. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get the roach rods out over the weekend.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A slippery slope

That one more eel session went predictably. Plenty of runs that were dropped or missed until I managed to hook one on a piece of squid cast well out from the bank. It wasn't big enough to get weighed. Par for the course with my eeling luck. What I did find odd was that all the takes were coming to the squid. A perch tail in the margins was ignored completely. When I swapped the squid over to the perch's head, thinking a tougher bait might stand up to the attention of tiny eels better, the takes to that rod dried up. At least I got plenty of sleep after that change of tactics!

For my next trick I thought I'd try an evening up until midnight for carp. Why I've suddenly got it in my head to fish for those stupid, ugly, things I really don't know. Partly it's because I know trying for roach with maggots will see me plagued with bootlace eels at this time of year, partly because it's too early for the pike where I want to fish for them, and also because I can't be arsed driving to the river for barbel. It goes without saying that a couple of liners weren't enough to keep me interested after the dew soaked the grass and I was on my way home by eleven.

A few days later I was itching to get a bend in a rod so I headed back to the Railway Pond in search of carp. It took all of half an hour fishing large, lone hookbaits (in order to avoid the suicidal potential livebaits) for the pop-up to get taken.

Shortly after the other bait was taken by something that gave a short pull on the baitrunner then stopped as I picked the rod up. Whatever it was I'd hooked wasn't doing much. Flappy things tend not to fight too hard in the rivers, this one was no different in still water. A very skinny chub was soon lying in the net. Towards dusk I got my first sight of pink foots flying in to roost. Their call always has a wintry air to it. Which was at odds with the sight of a brown hawker catching midges up around the alder tops.

While there's still plenty of warmth in the sun through the middle of the day it is going cool quickly come evening, and it takes a while to warm up again after sun up. Saturday's early start for the PAC Convention in Kettering was a case in point. I put the heater on in the car for the first time in months to warm my feet up! But I had cold air blowing in for the start of the journey home and even by the time I reached the village chippy I didn't need to put my sweatshirt on. Even so, overnight sessions won't be much of a feature of my fishing for much longer this year. Long cold nights are not my idea of fun. Mind you, if I fish them for carp I'll be guaranteed plenty of sleep...

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Last week I gave up a short eel session an hour early because nothing was happening apart from a bad moon rising. It felt like a waste of time for some reason. Following that work got in the way as I started to play catch-up after some long awaited rings showed up.

Last night I snapped and found myself in that automatic pilot mode putting the gear together for an overnighter. It just happened. I was on my way as soon as I'd finished my tea. The original idea was to forget about the eels and get a good night's sleep tucked up in my sleeping bag while the rods pretended to fish for carp. But at the last minute I threw the eel rods and deadbait bag in the back of the car.

There wasn't much time to get set up and again the auto-pilot kicked in and the eel rods got cast out. A roach tail down the edge and a head section which, when hooked through the bottom jaw and out the skull, withstands casting better further out. I also used a slightly bigger deadbait than usual. A rod baited with two grains of fake corn got dropped in the edge on the other side of the swim to the margin eel rod. Then it was up with the brolly and out with the kettle.

After a hot day the sky was clear and the temperature set to fall once the light went from the sky. Before darkness had arrived the roach tail had been pinched. The silhouette of a tawny owl flew over the lake, bats and moths flitted around the brolly front, and I put my bunny suit on before it got chilly. It was ten o'clcok when something picked up the margin bait again. Another missed run. I'd barely sat down after recasting a fresh bait when the other rod was away. This time I connected with an obvious eel.

In the light from my headtorch it looked to be a chunky fish, but it wasn't pulling too hard. A broad head and wide mouth, fat behind the head but quite short and thinning towards the tail. My hopes of a three were fading. They faded completely once the eel was in the sling and weighed. The same weight as the last eel I caught. Those three pounders know how to avoid my baits. The rest of the night progressed in usual eel fishing style. Runs being missed every time I started to nod off. Most of them were coming to the bait out in open water. Which is something I've noticed both here and on the water I fished last summer. So much for eels scavenging in the margins.

The tawny owl flew back over the lake and perched in the tree behind me where it started hooting. Thankfully that didn't last too long. Daylight isn't arriving until almost six these mornings, and after a long lull in the runs another materialised as the sky began to lighten. I gave the eel baits another half hour then swapped over to 'carp' rigs - without expecting any action. There had been no signs of carp or tench before dark or during the night, and none as the sun rose. The night had remained still with a heavy mist rising off the water and only clearing completely by about eight. At least there hadn't been much of a moon, nor any signs of rats.

With more warmer days forecast this week, the nights warming too, I might have one more eel session before calling it a summer.