Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Two steps back

Overconfidence is a terrible thing. There was I thinking I'd got this eel fishing lark sussed and was eager to have another go, this time to succeed big time. The eels brought me back to reality.

Conditions had changed. There was a nice breeze coming from the west putting a ripple on the water. Cloud cover was partially obscuring the watery sun. I needed a sweatshirt to keep the wind chill off me and selected a slightly sheltered swim. Not for the shelter but because it gave me a number of options for positioning the baits.

The semi-fixed leger rig has been swapped back to a running one and a wire trace had replaced the hard mono hooklink. I'd dug some deadbaits and squid out of the freezer, both to give me a bit of variety and to eke out the worm supply. You get through a lot fishing three or four on a hook on three rods when pesky eels are pinching or mauling them.

Currently I'm suffering the results of chilblains on my right hand last winter. It seems to have damaged the fingernails on two fingers and the damage has now grown out to the tips causing the nails to delaminate like a badly wrapped rod blank. The flaky nail edges catch on things and break. So I'm taping the fingers up with plasters. Which makes picking up small things like crimps and hooks a real problem. Baiting up the hook points also love to snag in the plasters causing even more cursing!

All three baits were out 8 o'clock, the first take being a strange one at a few minutes after nine to the legered worms. Although the baitrunner was slack the tip kept pulling round. of course there was nothing there when I struck, and the worms were intact. Odd. It didn't happen again. Almost an hour later the craziness and frustration began with three takes, one after the other, to the three rods in succession. Almost simultaneous takes happen quite frequently, despite the baits being spread over quite an area. It feels like the eels are conspiring to drive me mad from not knowing which rod to strike.

It was gone half nine when I eventually swung an eel ashore. Another sub-pounder to the off bottom worms. This was not to be the first of many. Takes and runs came in bursts as the light left the sky fell and continued well into darkness. It was only at five past eleven that I connected with another eel, this time to the legered ball of squid.

I didn't need to retackle or make any fresh traces so didn't have the chance to try my swim lighting set up, but it was fine for baiting up. Although I only used it once as my headtorch was doing me OK for that after putting fresh batteries in.
The action didn't slow after midnight. Encouraged to stick around I stopped until quarter past one. The takes were still coming. I was still failing to connect with them. With no eels landed worth weighing I've not bothered photographing any either. So here's a pic of my latest eel rods. They're 10ft 2.75lb Ballista Stalkers which have a tippier action than my P-4s making them better for casting leads and small baits. The only time I've had a decent bend in them so far has been 'playing' a ball of weed. There feels to be enough in the butt section to cope with decent fish.

I went for a low profile look with all black fittings from American Tackle and a different look to the abbreviated Duplon. Thread is my favourite shad of grey and all (minimalist) lettering is on the underside of the rods. They balance well with the near perfect 6000OC Baitrnners.

There's rain forecast. I might dust the barbel rods off and give the eels a break for a couple of weeks. Or I might restock the worm tub and keep the roll going...