Monday, December 31, 2018

A funny old year

2018 will go down as the year I fished least since I got serious about fishing. Counting the days in my diary there were ten. Despite this I still managed to catch one more double figure pike than in my first serious season fishing for them. That season was a hard slog. I think it was over twenty sessions for four pike - two doubles. I guess with age come experience and that helps put a few fish on the bank for less apparent effort.

What doesn't put fish on then bank is not going fishing. The reasons this year were a combination of cold and wet early on and a heatwave later. Add on a dollop of other interests and a smidgen of feeling under the weather and the motivation was soon lost. Once it's gone, if there is something to take its place, it can go for good. Not that it matters in the broader scheme of things. Fishing isn't life. So long as I have something to fill my spare time and, more importantly, occupy my mind, it's not the end of the world. These days taking photographs is fulfilling that role.In some ways the two are similar. You go to big fish waters if you want to catch big fish, you go to places where the subjects you want to photograph are. In both cases the results are not guaranteed!

I'm not selling my tackle just yet. My renewal for one club I belong to is in the post. Springtime will soon be here. A change in the weather might get me moving again. What I need is a fishy challenge, something new to do. If I don't find one then this blog may well have run its course.

On that cheery note, Happy New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Something in the air

Maybe it was the way the sun was sifted through the clouds or the stillness and warmth in the air making it feel more like early spring rather than early winter that got me gathering my pike gear after lunch. For the first time in ages I actually felt like I needed to go fishing. To my surprise I had the place to myself. Apart from the huge flock of fieldfares which flew up from the hawthorns surrounding the car park when I arrived.

On Saturday damp feet had reminded me there was a pair of boots waiting for me in the country store and I'd been breaking them in ever since. Despite the boots feeling pretty comfortable this had resulted in a rather large blister on one big toe. I wasn't fit to walk to a distant swim so hobbled to one in sight of the car which had been good to me in the past.

After a freezer disaster during the summer I hadn't much choice in the deadbait trays. One pack of lamprey and one of small blueys would have to do. Two baits I have confidence in as it happens.  Half a lamprey was dropped in the margin to my right and a bluey to the left. Then I set about tying on a new trace to the third rod. This was rigged with a lamprey head and cast out to a feature. All was quiet and still.

Save for some bubbles repeatedly appearing just out from my right hand bait nothing happened. With it being so mild I wondered if bream fishing might have been a better idea. After an hour I moved.

The same baits were spread around the swim. The banker lamprey head was dropped next to the banker overhanging bush. That would trundle off when the light faded. Another hour later I repositioned the left hand and middle baits. Half an hour on I did it again. There was no fishy activity to be seen.

The fieldfare flock returned, flew overhead. Perched briefly in some tree tops. Then disappeared. From the reeds at the side of my swim came the angry churring of a blue tit and a higher pitched call. A small bird-shaped silhouette materialised. Smaller than a blue tit with a finer, more pointy beak. It flitted across my swim into a hawthorn and I realised it was a goldcrest. The first I've seen at the water. It was soon gone. The blue tit quietened down too.

It was still mild when the orange of the floats faded to grey and eventually to black against the water surface. Three hours and no pike activity. Head torch on and time to head home to fill my rumbling belly.

In some ways it had been good to be back by the water. Being increasingly impatient as I get older a fish or two would have made it even better. At least the gear is now ready to go as the whim takes me. That excuse has been eliminated! I might even stock up on bait.