An opportunity to go fishing had snuck up on me. Opportunities that I dream of materialising. The impromptu escape to another world. And although I was happily getting the tackle ready, I knew deep down I wasn’t heading where I really wanted to. The fish I would be angling for certainly not the ones I dearly wanted to be transfixed by. Why? I simply didn’t have the bait I needed. Still you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth (what a truly odd saying that is). Time for me to head to the Theatre of Last Minute Anglers; otherwise known as Asda.
To purchase sweetcorn, the saviour of many a last minute fishing session, I’m sure. I did debate going after small river chub with a loaf or two of bread. Or maybe after perch using prawns. In the end the idea of waggler fishing sweetcorn on a small club water won over, especially with the thought of a grass carp or two taking the bait. Not long later I had arrived. At a very empty venue it has to be said. Arriving just before dinner, I expected to have a limited choice of pegs but as it played out I was the only angler there all day. Bliss. I set up a waggler rig that would allow the sweetcorn to flutter slowly through the water column; a tactic I have found to be a good one when after the grass carp. I had a few pellets with me also, and I do mean a few. These were fed sparingly alongside the sweetcorn. Just something with a little more flavour leak off and fish pulling power. I didn’t wait too long for a bite, in fact on the second cast I had a confident bite, resulting in a tiny crucian no more than three ounces. It’s buttery colour not too dissimilar to the colour of the bait it had been fooled by.
A few casts later I was into a better fish. It fought well on the light waggler rod I was using and turned out to be a brown goldfish. Missing the top half of its tail. I wondered what had caused it. The fin had healed over well but increasingly more often I am seeing fish with similar injuries, both on still waters and on rivers. Our fish certainly have a lot of predators to keep them on their toes. With the fish returned I took a few minutes to have a cup of coffee and to watch a little field mouse eating the grain of sweetcorn I had left for him at the side of my peg. Delicate claws holding the feast of a meal. His tiny black eyes watching out for any danger. I kept feeding two or three grains of corn quite regularly, hoping to attract any one of the numerous better sized fish cruising in the upper layers. Maybe I should have bought that bread after all.
Life wasn’t too bad though. I was catching a good amount of lovely, plump hybrids/goldfish/carp type things. Its a venue that seldom lets me down. Even in the depths of winter. Even though I tend only to fish it when other venues are out of action or I have a unexpected session, as I had today, it’s comforting to know that there is always a little slice of countryside that I can escape to. Wile away a few hours and even catch a few beautiful fish doing so. Still no sign of any grass carp today though. Where were they? The swim went through a quite spell. Time to watch some of the fauna; tiny wrens and colourful finches. A sparrow hawk however over a field survey the land below. I still kept a little feed trickling in and cast regularly. From nowhere the float tip once more sank from view and a much livelier fish was hooked. It wasn’t the sought after grass carp though, keeping low and moving quickly, it had to be a carp.
Indeed it was. The first of a run of small carp. None of them bigger than two pound. Commons, a mirror and a handful of ghosties. But of the grass carp there was no sign. I persisted until dusk catching a few more small crucians and even an autumn tench of around a pound. When I could see the float tip no longer I had to accept that the species I most wanted to set my eyes upon would remain hidden. A symbol of what makes angling so great. Not being able to predict. Not knowing. Even with the odds stacked in your favour, and with past experience, it’s the fish themselves that have the final say.
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Until Next time tight lines