Thankyou for taking the time view my mutterings.

"We sit on cowslip banks, hear the birds sing, and possess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams, which we now see glide so quietly by us"

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Planning for memories

Having not been across the water for a few years, the chance of a weeks angling has arisen through work and a generous customer.

Come the 7th of April, 2 trucks complete with a trailer and too much gear will be heading to Chapel lake, 5 hours plus from the port of Calais. Four adults and three children all set for 18 exclusive acres surrounded by woodland and hopefully some nicer weather to that we've been used to here in the UK the past few months!

Not having Carp fished since August 2009 the day came when I had to start sifting through a mountain of tackle, taking out gear that would not be needed. Now, is it just me or do we all carry 9lb of lead?!?!

A mouldy mug was retrieved from the food bag and one tube of mustard and one bottle of ketchup was lobbed directly in the biffa due to a content of fur!

Over the last couple of years I have reduced my tackle down (apart from leads) in as much as I take the same for a quick over nighter as I do for a couple of three days and really only take stuff that I intend using... even then its still too much!

So... I have two weeks of planning for me and my son, bait to be sorted, rigs to be tied, food bag to be filled, tablets for every formality that might be likely to happen, oh and two passports to remember!

My old grey matter is working overtime at present and I find that the planning and preparation for any of my angling expeditions is as enjoyable as the angling itself... it's all part of the jigsaw and learning curve that is fishing and for me that creates the buzz of success and failures of each and every session, whether it be fishing for the smaller species like roach, chub and perch or the monsters that be carp, catfish and barbel.

Anyway, enough of my mutterings... I have to get on and continue sifting through mould and look forward to the evenings sat by Le Lac, sipping red wine and filling up on crusty baguettes with good company and hoping that myself and the rest of the lads bag a few, but most of all...... catch some memories!

(Memories that I will update in three weeks time for those that might just be a little interested).

Monday, 15 March 2010

Last opportunity knocks

I'm sure you've all had thoughts in your head of wanting to angle but not sure where?

Well the weekend that saw the official closing to our native rivers in the UK was one of those said occasions for me! The last day being Sunday 14th March and even to the point of me leaving my drive I was still unsure as to where to go.

All I knew was that I was heading for the Gt Ouse somewhere in Bedfordshire.

20 minutes later I signalled right with my indicator and eventually pulled up near a stretch that I had winkled a couple of fish out of earlier in the year.

The forecast for the day was bright and sunny am with the chance of cloud due pm.

Now, I wasn't really expecting to catch too much (if anything at all) and it was more about seeing the season out for another year and willing on the new after a 3 month close! I had packed 1 rod for the chub and one rod for the barbel and would make my mind up on what to chase after the swim had dictated my best chances.

Having struggled on the barbel front with my last fish being caught in September time, I was keen just to catch one more if I could and at this point I would like to add.... I wasn't overly hopeful...!!

Gathering my gear from the truck and fighting with the padlock on the gate I headed for the river, the time was now 7.30am and as soon as I had cleared the trees a stiff, cold breeze hit me in the face. The river was low but the clarity looked good for a bite from something? The sun was now trying to get through, now that's not something we've said for what seems like an age and even if I didn't manage to catch, I was dam sure I was going to enjoy the day. I'm one of those people that although I fish all year round, still likes the idea of a close season on our rivers to allow nature to do its thing.

I walked past a couple of pegs and then stopped at one that I knew had a record of chucking up a good un earlier in the year to a friend, and although a fairly open swim it had a good depth to it and a nice pace. Out came the Whisker rod, coupled with the cardinal that was already set up with a free running link, I took three pellets and glued them onto the short hair that was attached to a size 6 hook. A small p.v.a bag of pellet was then hooked on and a short under arm cast was made to the centre of the river at the end of a crease that was being created by a near bank bush.

It was now time to sit back and enjoy the sun with a smoke and cuppa!

An hour had passed and not even the slightest of taps had been had. The wind had picked up and was blowing straight at my face causing my eyes to stream, so with that I decided a move was needed to somewhere I could shelter a little to at least enjoy the sun without crying my eyes out!!

It turned out that I ended up in the very last peg in a more wooded area of the river and on entering the swim, straight away it felt two overcoats warmer and for an extra bonus I had the large bow of a tree to shelter me. Nice!!

After going through the same routine with the tackle, only this time I decided that I would put the barbel rod down to my right in a likely looking spot that I can remember seeing gravel on earlier in the year. I also made the decision to set the chub rod up with a lighter set up and attach a worm to see if I could tempt a chub or a perch.

I was just sitting back and watching both rod tips when all of a sudden I spotted a mink on the far margin scooting down the bank and it was at this point from the corner of my eye that I went into angler panic mode when the tip on the barbel rod whacked down towards the surface of the river.

"This is a proper un" I muttered to myself as the fish tried it's hardest to head down river.

The clutch on the 55 yelped a couple of times before I managed to get the fish under control and heading in my direction, at this point the mink had done the off and was probably thinking to himself that it all looked a little to much hassle this fishing lark!!

Soon enough my prize was lying in the net recovering for five minutes while I calmed myself down with a smoke and at this point I rang the old fella who was fishing further upstream to tell him of my news and could he come and take a couple of pictures for me and help with the weighing.

I was now thinking to myself that this funny old game we call fishing was definitely a funny old game!!

"She looks a double in the net Dad" I said to him as he entered the swim (at this point I still hadn't taken it out of the water). With the  unhooking mat in place and the scales reading zero we weighed and confirmed a new personal best of 12lb 10oz. Hands were shaken and pictures taken, we then laid her in the margin still in the folds of the net to recover until she was ready to go home.

I certainly was not expecting what had just happened but I'll take it for sure and it's moments like this that remind me why I go angling... the last opportunity, the sun was shining and I had cracked out a personal best to end the year on.

It don't get much better than that!!!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

An ill wind

On arrival at the lake this morning one thing was noticeable, anglers were littered in little green tents all along the east side chasing the carp that inhabit the 9 acre pit. It was from this side of the lake that the wind was pushing so as it turned out, myself and my son Jason headed down the west side to a swim named "killer cat"!! We were armed with the usual feeder rods and an array of bait. Maggot, hemp and worms were the order of the day.

Once settled in it was soon noticeable that someone was cooking bacon on the far bank, all we had was a flask of tea, some chocolate biscuits, 2 bags of beef monster munch and a pepperami each!!

This was the busiest I'd seen the lake for a good couple of months and even the birds couldn't work out what the hell was going on!!

Back to our day and as expected the usual pattern followed with a quiet first hour followed by regular bites occurring. Many a small roach was hooked on the maggot feeder rig and as Jason was just chilling back and trying to keep his hands warm by resting them in his pockets, his 10ft rod arched round and a slightly bigger roach of about 12oz was slid into the waiting landing net. From this point onwards this said fish turned out to be his vocal abuse for the rest of the day... "It's not as big as mine Dad" as every time I swung one in he'd remind me that it was smaller than his!

Still, it was a joy to see his face and brings back distant memories from my boyhood days when I too can remember the feeling and the buzz they'd given me, each and everyone of them.

We were catching steadily and i even managed a little jack pike that took a liking for a double red maggot feast! Both of us missed a few chances with the hookbaits coming in looking like a sucked sock!! Roach were the main build up of our catch but we also managed a handful of immaculate rudd.

As I was just pouring us a tea to share from the flask, from the corner of my eye I saw a 10ft length of carbon whip upwards and to the right, "Blimey Dad, this feels better", "Take your time mate and play him in gently, if he wants some line let him have it" I replied. All went to plan and soon we had a stripy perch lying in the net of about 14oz that was fin perfect.

Well that was it now... Iwas getting all manner of remarks thrown at me, but at the very least it had taken our minds away from the the easterly wind as we sent abuse backwards and forwards to each other.

For the last hour i decided to bin the maggot attack and go all out for the big one just to shut him up!

I was just gathering some tackle together and having a bit of a tidy up when my whole lobworm offering was hit by something that had decided to keep going until it had pulled the rod from the rest! A short battle followed and on Jason's first sight of the trailing pike as it hit the back of the net all I heard from his lips was "Pike don't count dad". I chuckled to myself as I thought...... God he takes after me!!

With that capture we decided to call it a day and nipped round to the sunny side of the lake that was two overcoats warmer and scrounged a fresh brew from a carp angler that could've been sitting there in shorts and flip flops it was that hot, while we were wrapped up like kippers thanks to the "ILL" wind that blew from the east.