Monday, 8 June 2015

This Contrary Life

Rodney's advice has struck again...

I have previously talked about my outstanding ability...dramatic do the right thing at the wrong time

Allow me time to explain, please, before you think, "He's gone all conceited on us".

The contrariness, or is it 'ossity? (I wish it were either option but suspect the corr-r-rect gr-r-rammar would be 'contrary nature') of my approach to angling has somehow got me by over the years to sufficient a level as to enable me to enjoy myself, at least.
Way back, it was practising for matches in really poor areas of the length that set me apart from the others, or was that 'the winners'? Probably. The idea that one could extract blood from a stone, or sticklebacks from puddle, appealed and yet often on club fishing trips I would hear people say that the best anglers perform best on the worst pegs because they can conjure a piscatorial rabbit from the concrete-lined flooded hat. Not true. If there are no fish there no one can catch them but the more there are, and the bigger they are, without reaching specimen proportions, the more the 'better' angler will catch and the proportionately less the lesser angler.

In the present day. I do tend to do what I fancy and, having quickly got the annual Highlands trip, resplendent with eagles, otters, divers, pine martens and wood warblers quickly out of my system this year, I took the considered decision to recommence my thus far terminally inactive Tench campaign back at the Stillwater.
Let's be clear (the water has been...part of the issue) this is no ordinary Stillwater, oh no. This is a Stillwater (almost) to end them all. A water where a bite means a P. B., for me at least with my weedy canal list behind me.

My only proper bite to date (pike excluded) produced a stillwater, in fact all waters, P. B. Perch of 2.12.0 for instance, but it can be long wait.

Tench probably touch 10lbs and so the idea to persevere through the summer when normally I would have my tackle tucked neatly away (don't go there!) is seemingly logical with the bloggers challenge to address too.

So Saturday The Dog, visiting from his Cornish hovel, goes back to his old cricket club and reels off his first century, carrying his bat through the innings and following up his last innings of 52n.o. almost two years prior.
The Dog. Not looking unlike bloggers challenge guru Russell Hilton here, it must be said.
Meanwhile I, being the ever-attentive father, am baiting the swim for a Sunday p.m. vigil (a word that nearly makes me think of Thunderbirds, nearly). Anyway, when I get back the grin is unbearable so I hide in the garage and fiddle with my worms. Lobs and reds were delivered this week and the reds, while tiny, I just imagined would wriggle like a bloodworm on speed when introduced to the water 
Saturday was also punctuated positively by the purchase of 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake', the last Small Faces studio album. Oh what joy this has brought to myself and Parps! With Professor Stanley Unwin in the mix too. 'Deep joy' in fact. If you're under 40 this may well be leaving you bemused. I suggest you might engage with Google, but not forgetting to return for the contrary punchline below of course. This was all triggered by my reading a buke about yoof culture called 'Mod!'. Fascinating.

Anyway, back to the plot...

So Sunday morning I feed the new swim again and note it's enticing colour this side of the pond. Nothing topping, but that's quite normal.

Come 3pm, with various wrinkly family members deposited in various locations, (the sponging so and so's) I returned.

No flies on me...all in the air

The fly-infested wind was now off my back and I feared the colour may have dropped-out but no, so maybe the tincas were feeding? Mayfly, sedge flies, gnats, midges (aren't they the same thing?) and quite literally thousands of common blue damselflies were on the wing. One could not walk for flushing hoards/swarms/flocks/shoals(?) of them into the air
Bank space was so tight they fought over the landing pad at the tip of the float
Two rods were employed as normal in this post-match fishing era. One a lift bite method float rig on specimen float rod and the other a light feeder. That said the feed was introduced by catty but I had no bombs with me. I always forget something.

The sun beat down and land and sea swallows flitted and fallollopped respectively over head.

A reed warbler rattled in my left ear all afternoon and by 6pm it had reached a point at which I felt  I'd been at a washboard players’ convention all afternoon. An enjoyable one though with accompaniment from other warblers and Cuckoo-ing males, and indeed bubbling females of the parasitic imposter.

An hour or two in and the strangest thing happened.

The float quivered a couple of times and disappeared. Could this be an hallucination brought on by too much sun? I struck into a lump. A ragingly irritated head-shaking lump.

Fight it did, but other than the banging of its noddle no runs brought the clutch into play and the curve of the rod coped alone st surfaced, red fins evident, on its side and one very untench-like but very annoyed monster Perch slipped into the net.

Being still quite new to this game in relative terms I find it difficult to judge the weight of anything over two pounds. So after a couple of quick photos I weighed him with the net at 74 ounces. “That sounds quite promising I thought”, (riddled with expletives). The net went 21 ounces (soaking) and after applying, what was then, middle school maths I drew the conclusion this almost stripe-less fish was over 3lbs.
3.5.0 in fact.
Words fail. Occasionally. The scales left looking like a toy.
Obliteration of the previous P. B. was immediately evident and it had only taken 52 hours or so to get the bite. The change of swim was justified even without the Tench.

Two hours later I looked up from photographing snails to see the float antenna waggling about and struck into another fish that fought like a real beast and, as is the way of these things, fully expected a bigger fish of another species.  No head-banging just really strong surges of power. This fella turned out to be another overweight footballer of 2.13.0 though.
A proper stripy perch this one
Contrary again.
So, bloggers challenge testing tench it may not have been, but it was worth a thumping great stripy 54 points on the Stillwater score board plus currently 10 more for being the biggest of the season (so far, until Leo gets going). More than an unexpected bonus but it justifies the hours put in for the tench when anything you catch is this momentous

Roll on the next visit



  1. Two perch for 6lb+, that ain't half bad George! Nor is a ton opening up. First of many I hope for the Dog. Unfortunately the last game of cricket I played, I spent our batting innings looking at gobies in the local rock pools and realised at that point that i do prefer fishing after all. Maybe a two year break is what I need of it helps you score a hundred! A 3lb 5oz perch though...

  2. Two perch for 6lb+. Can't be bad! Well done George. Good luck with the tench...

    1. Bizarrely similar opening to Russell's comments (we must have been typing simultaneously), so I apologise for the repetition!

  3. Thanks Guys, yes, hadn't thought of it that way...two fish for 6lbs, my God!

  4. That is one hell of a brace! , a pair of proper perch and come the winter I'm sure a 4 will be lurking close by, the lake sounds great?

    1. Thanks James. Let's hope so!
      Sneaked another out at 2.7.0 today and that fought like mad too.
      Hopefully there might be a bite from something else soon.