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"

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!!!