A twittering, a chattering, a sip.
Leaning back under mature salix - gazing into the canopy - the innumerable gathering throng.
Blue, great and long-tailed they are. A post breeding flock of families slowly forage as a group yet frantically feed individually as they wend the willow-lined watercourse.
Hopeful I search. The occasional slurp of an ancient carp barely noticeable in distant fringing lillies.
Aurally straining. Yes, there is one there, and so is another
The most incomprehensibly evolved of passerines, the treecreeper, probing every crevice and fissure of the arboreal armour. A louse here, a moth there. A delicate call and the loose organic cloud rolling through the treetops is gone, but remains intact.
The forecast indicated cloud. The sky indicated continuous sun.
The latter prevailed.
The Gormless Old Duffer, shirtless, was not a pretty sight. Thankfully we had the lake to ourselves. I wished it had been to himself.
Carp, of no great size, cruised in teenage gangs in the shallows, terrorising anything resembling food like orca eyeing-up seals.
No matter, we knew the big fish would feed first and then, when the heat became too much, the action would subside. This was certain. Past experience would prove it.
Four balls of ground-ait and feed went in. The Gormless Old Duffer on the feeder with an alarm. Myself on the slider.
An hour or more passed.
The alarm was silent (we checked it was switched-on). The float, well, floated. Clearly I'd bought one without any bobs in it.
Then out of the blue the alarm went, the arm dropped...and...no contact.
The slider slid and a fighting roach of half a pound was grounded and returned.
Fish topped with playful abandon.
An idea. The lake was deep and the fish might have been in higher water layers.
The canal rig shot were redistributed and the float pushed-up to 7 or 8 feet.
Bites on the drop on corn, every cast but after five 2 to 5 ounce roach - instant boredom. This wasn't the game we came to play.
Chess please, not draughts.
Back to the slider and the float immediately lifted, then disappeared beyond the visible depth and a good one was on. No fight though. It must've been a stick. But no, a large signal crayfish burst through the surface to its legally required destiny.
At first a carpet had been laid-out and a few ingredients were threaded onto the hook in desperation. Instantly the float behaved unusually and a nodding donkey was hooked. Never a battle to write home about but a fish that lights the F,F&F candle whenever it exceeds three pounds.
This slime-coated stinker hit the bar at four pounds six ounces and the day was made.
This had been part of an inadvertent trend. Though it had not been realised at the time and being, or trying to be, a modest sort made it all the more surprising.
A sort of introspective retrospective I suppose.
They had been prioritised on lake and river for quite a number of trips and, without quite realising it, I'd been involved in a campaign.
Of course any decent summer species is welcome when the water is low and clear and the prospect of anything other than carp on a lake seems increasingly unlikely.
I'd found a shoal on the river but in three trips only managed two fish within half an early hour of each other; catching them before they hit the morning snooze button.
The second was a river p.b. at 4.10 (I've dropped bothering with the silly drams now except for smaller species!) and a dark old bottom feeder he was too.
Lake fish peaked at 4.8 among a raft of other four pounders. A weight that suddenly feels the norm.
So with the species ticked in both lake and river categories today the trusty bus headed for the river with carp in mind on one rod and dace on the other.
Rest assured, like any other person, when a target is set there is the disproportionate likelihood for all to fail.
Maggots sprayed 3/4 across and boilies (yes, you heard right, boilies!) along nearside marginal lilies and streamer weed. A perfect swim. 7 feet deep between weed-beds and just enough room to trot through.
Thirty or so roach, dace and chublets later, the 'donk, donk, treadwater, donk' of a meaty adversary. So clear was the water that the fish came into view quickly. First thought was, tentatively, chub but on closer viewing the unmistakable outline of yet another bream was discerned. About three pounds was the initial assessment but in a decent flow and with a sixteen to two pound fluorocarbon between it and the net odds were very much against.
Nodding interspersed by cautious retrieval made for very little headway. This gave ample time for two things.
- Worry, and,
- Regular review of the predicted weight.
Into the meadow and nestled in the deep uncut grass this was no five pounder.
"That's six, surely", I muttered to the passing butter and damselflies.
Nope. Way out.
A river and overall p.b. by a clear 2.12
Of course nothing could top this, even removing the pike that constantly marauded the keepnet was well adrift in the enormity stakes.
Yes, that would do. That would do nicely.
Thank you world.