Monday, 17 March 2014

Three Fingers of Close Season Red-eye

With such an entertaining river season behind us but not forgotten the prospect of lake fishing seemed somewhat tame by comparison but, with other commitments, it was the only logical step

The forecast seemed good predicting a mild day with a westerly breeze and cloud until mid-afternoon on Sunday. The next in a string of mild warm days

That being the case, and recalling that tench do not respond to heavy bombardments of feed, half a pint of casters were introduced into eleven feet of water on Saturday evening together with a few red maggots. At this time the moon was glimmering like a white sun across the rippling surface and illuminating the expanding concentric rings of the fly larvae and pupae sprayed on the water

The following morning, to keep things simple, a version of the lift-bite method that had been deployed on the canal for the past two seasons, which took some setting-up in that depth, was adopted with two red maggots stopped onto a barbless 14 with a red rubber one

The bird life was quite a distraction and I knew things were heading in the right direction as a pair of great crested grebe took up residence in a 20 yard radius of the swim indicating that the feed had attracted small fish

Three head-banging perch around the 8-10 ounce mark were soon in the net after a 8am start (yes, I know...well the alarm was set for 5.30 but for the wrong day. At least I'll be up early on Wednesday!) and, as I have very little confidence in still-water angling whatsoever due to a general lack of experience of it, I was somewhat surprised to get such an early response

The forecast had been proven to be somewhat awry as the sky was largely blue with the sun on the water from the moment of arrival. This was brought home when a large flock of gulls drifted up from the east over the canal towards me and then slid-off to the south. These birds, which would have roosted in their thousands at Draycote Water, brought my attention to a small thin area of cloud that slowly moved across the sun

Immediately a heftier fish was on. Not having caught many net-able still-water fish other than roach and bream, and those not for many years, it felt perhaps like another perch but much bigger. The challenge of small stream chub had taught the technique of allowing the rod to do all of the work and not giving any line; this stood me in good stead this time too, albeit it with a fifteen foot inherited power match rod through the rings of which the line creaked and whined, as a dark olive/bronze flank turned on the surface by the end of the keepnet, the target snared. This fish was not going to trouble the best lake tench taken from gravel pits under more challenging circumstances back in the '80's of 3-14-0 but it would run that one fairly close. It was quickly followed by another of a very similar size, the two went 3-7-13 and 3-8-14.

The cloud was still across the sun as I was distracted by a wader rising erratically high into the sky from the opposing phragmites bed. The second member of the pair of snipe became visible too until they careered off to the north in their excitement. As the gaze reverted to the float it immediately lifted with intent and this time a notably weightier specimen battled against the odds. It was soon close to the net but persevered in it's desire to escape delaying the netting process for a short while but, soon enough, it was beaten and at 4-6-14 it would certainly trouble the unexpectedly caught PB from the French Drove drain in the 90's, a fish taken on a 3.5m whip and a 26 hook in the flukiest match win I can recall that tipped the organiser's dial scales at 4-7-0. 2 drams I ask you, but this one wasn't 4-7-0 and that is that

Soon after the sun reappeared and bites ended apart from another 10 ounce perch

I called The Lady Burton and she brought the boy wonder over to help weigh the fish. We got the hurry-up from the bailiff at this point but the fish were shielded from the sun and not out of the water any longer than necessary for the obligatory weigh-in and blog-shot

In weighing the catch we noticed a group of small bright blue irridescent beetles on detached dead bulrush stalks as they emerged from their hibernation and became increasingly active in the spring conditions

We are not blessed with big fish waters in the Feldon landscape but to tease few good fish from relatively difficult naturalised venues which are bigger than the average stamp is a quest that will continue to provide amusement in a Peter Stone-type manner for some time to come I am sure, but why are the fish not as heavy here as in some other parts of the country one may ask? I believe it may be a geological issue but more of that some other time


  1. Replies
    1. Everything's gone orange where you've been fishing Russ, I think you've been Tango'd.