Monday, 6 January 2014

So Much Weather About

I am always surprised at how little rain can cause widespread flooding and find it incredible each time the rain just stops rather than continuing and making the situation even worse. It's as though the clouds know when enough is enough

Now if you are reading this while stood knee deep in water in your lounge you may disagree but we seem to live on a knife-edge so regularly these days, just one more storm away from disaster in places only occasionally or never afflicted in the normal course of events

I don't understand meteorology sufficiently well to know whether there are limiting factors but if there are they are certainly changing and becoming fuzzy at the edges

We have a stream running through our Warwickshire garden, in fact to be more precise, two streams converge bringing an apparently fairly natural watercourse and spring water from one direction and another largely taking run-off from playing fields and farm ditches together at their confluence, forming the beginnings of a tributary of the River Leam which it joins between Princethorpe and Eathorpe

This stream rapidly rises and falls with each event but it has never exceeded the depth of its banks in the seven or eight years we have been its riparian custodians. This is fortunate, as our lowest floor is below the height of the banks but has never been wetted by it; this is if you exclude a freak event when one of our gutters failed when we were on holiday and left our volunteer saviours with around three inches of water to bail-out of a room that one steps down into after the rainwater seeped through the structure and neatly filled it up for them!

Being an angler one is accutely conscious of the weather and these days I am personally more likely to avoid uncomfortable conditions that I would have been able to in my match fishing days when it was necessary to do as was expected and sit it out for the team. In those times (c.1980-1995) it was apparent that winds were getting higher. more extensive and more regular but that rainfall was quite low. Indeed it was said at the time that the subterannean aquifers were so depleted that they would never be replenished, but they have been and now they seem so full as to be at bursting point so often

who me?
The severity of wet weather regularly seems to leave us without options as anglers. Birders or, more accurately, the birds themselves lose exposed mud to feed on at watersides for those of such a persuasion and water becomes so turbid as to preclude easy feeding for those adapted to dive for fish

A cormorant shocked at my presence close to the edge takes refuge in the instantly camouflaging water
This past weekend the syndicate water, which still, this season, has only produced one fish of any note to the float, flight and flannel rod was so coloured after further rain re-established the previous level of murk as to suggest no bites would be forthcoming and, sure enough, in 5 hours of effort this proved true; but goosander, cormorant and goldeneye numbers were notably down on the past week too. So do birds migrate to clearer lakes when our silt-affected midlands stillwaters take on such heavy suspensions? Maybe they do, but even if they can the fish can't follow suit and we just have to wait for the colour to subside and the associated sport to perk-up

long distance goldeneye
goosander and tufted duck
The river season ends in just ten weeks time yet it feels as if it only just started and action is already postponed by conditions. That said, the forecast is now better with the last of the foreseeable 'bad weather' confined to the next couple of days but then maintained air temperatures and lack of heavy cloud should allow some clearing of waters, fish to be caught and birds to be spotted

Drake wigeon and stretching wifeon

Two challenges still remain then, a four pound Leam chub and a snow-caught chub to grace the net. Will they come to pass before 16th March? Will the opportunity arise for either or both? That remains to be seen

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