Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A weclome distraction

It is only seven days till the rivers open and whilst I have spent some of the closed season looking at new bits of rivers which I have joined, I have also been enjoying a spot of carp fishing, far away from any crowds, surrounded only by natures harmony.

There is something to be said about lakes that have atmosphere, not all are blessed with it and some can be quite lacking in character, almost soulless. This venue ticks all my boxes, wooded mangrove islands, bays and a plethora of underwater features to place a bait to, the fish are in perfect condition, no damaged mouths to be found, consisting of quite a few Dinkelsbuehl breed, along with tench, perch and rudd, a nice mixture.

My last couple of trips have been in the shape of late evening to early morning sessions, getting down at dusk and usually settling into a swim as the Nightjar begins to call out in earnest. Keeping clutter to a minimum, a couple of four piece stalker rods, small baitrunners all which fit neatly into a compact holdall and along with a small but strong seat that has supported the weight of my derrière rather well over the years, not without a creak or two though.

It was a cool evening despite it being summertime and in the darkness the tell-tale sounds of clooping could be heard near some inaccessible margins, followed by a crash, the ripples eventually caressing my rod tips. The wildlife night shift had begun, deer running along the path, edging slowly closer and closer to my swim in hope of a drink, before realising that this particular spot was taken and running off into the darkness barking in shock, we both jumped believe me. Badgers could be heard tumbling about in the thicket behind me having what sounded like a domestic squabble, I was smiling contented to be in their company, ensconced in this little piece of heaven.

At around 1am my right rod let out a single tone run and I was soon playing a picture perfect mirror of 9lb.

It was soon slipped back and sped off like an angry teenager, I was rather happy as I was also using this trip to test out some baits from West country baits, namely their Lh1 boilies and barbel slick sense range which I also plan to put to use on the rivers once they open.

I know this might seem like a shameless plug and one which most anglers may have heard ad infinitum, but Shaun Hodges who is the main chap behind the company, knows a fair bit regarding bait having been involved with developing most if not all of the Hinders bait range during his time working for them. That on its own is very re-assuring and unlike some bait companies without any credentials that appear overnight and purport to be the best thing since sliced bread, anyway I have digressed somewhat.

Time ticked by far too fast and as the faintest hint of morning was appearing, my left hand rod fished  to a marginal gully let out a single bleep, the bright green led of the delkim reflecting off the water, a prelude to what was to become a bit of a scrap from a lively scamp that had a rather large paddle which it put to good use.

As dawn broke the Tufted ducks landed and they kindly spared me an exhibition of  their normally overenthusiastic bait diving.

"I think the baits are right here, lets do some diving!"

Now there are a few nice tench in this lake, dare I say they would certainly break my pb and it was going through my mind at the time that it was the perfect morning, the water was bath temperature with a nice mist rising from it and a light ripple in the morning breeze. What happened next was all in the blink of an eye, line melting from the spool and rod lifting upward as the fish came up across a gravel bar, as I tried to apply side strain the back of a portly, dark fish appeared. The sudden surfacing threw me off kilter and it did not take long to decide what it planned to do as it powered back down and headed toward some snags, alas it was having none of it and it cut me off on a gravel bar.

I kept mulling over thoughts of the raw power and the chance it could have been a good tench kept popping up in my head, I kept pushing them back, admittedly I was using a pair of carp rods and to some that might not count, but that did not make me feel any the better I can tell you that right now...

By now I had packed one rod up, its lone companion was still waiting for the chance of one more fish and it kindly obliged with a terrific scrap from a  pretty looking mirror (10lb), its middle scales looking akin to a sliced chestnut mushroom. I made my way home in a chipper mood.

These trips were fuelling me with a feeling I have lacked somewhat for still waters over recent years and I looked forward to another trip the following week. This was to be a later start and I had not set up till darkness had fallen. It was a cool night the and sky was crystal clear, the full moon was radiant as if someone had forgotten to turn the lights off. Conditions were perfect for hunters and it was not long before owls could be heard calling out to one and other, a stag called out into the night, its gruff bark filling the peaceful backdrop with a lonely ambience.

On this particular occasion I had taken my jetboil stove with me as you cannot beat a fresh cup of tea and it was not long after the first cup that I slipped a net under the first fish of the night, a small angry mirror which looked a double but scales said otherwise, a few thankful words were said and asked to send some of its older relatives my way.

By now the moon was directly in front of me and the lake was eerily calm, one more fish had  followed its friend to the net, yet despite this it had been rather still and there had been no signs of spawning activity on the lake either.

At 3am my left rod tore off along a deep margin and I was soon playing what felt a better fish, after a nice scrap there was a rather short, plump female sat in the net and it looked a good mid double, at least 15lb was my guesstimate. She had quite a distended belly, in fact it could have matched mine on a lesser scale and she was in perfect condition with a set of proud barbules, weighing less than I had estimated.


Morning broke and along with it a very rich dawn chorus filled the air, I had the feeling of contentment and timelessness. Although in reality it was not long before I had to be packing up.
All of the fish had fallen to my left rod during the night, the right rod which was placed on a gravel bar further out had remained quiet, a look at my watch told me I had forty minutes left and fifteen of which were allotted to packing up, enough time for a morning brew and maybe one last fish.

The stove was starting to steam as the right rod woke up, line zipping off the reel, thud followed by that slack feeling of a hook pull, sure enough the hook was partially burred, "hard lipped" did spring to mind! Compensation in the shape of a steaming cup of tea was soon to hand, I sat absorbing the gloriously sunny morning, part of me partially lost to this place, immersed in its aura, the other half being drawn ever closer to the heartbeat of running water.