The staff of life (Entry 135)

With last weeks lesson still bouncing around my mind, I headed once more toward stillwater, keen to employ similar simple tactics in the hope of seeing a bright orange beacon vanish. It was a foul day. A swirling and gusting wind. Gale force at times. The moderate showers that were forecast would no doubt be made to feel much more wintery by the airflow. Raindrops pelted at right angles against the umbrella. Would the umbrella even make it until the end of the session? Bait choice was an easy one today; a trip to the local shop for a freshly baked loaf. Something to put on the hook and something to nibble on in between.

First things first; secure the umbrella down. I picked a swim on the back of the wind, which is not only where I expected the fish to be, but also gave my umbrella that bit more of a chance of survival. Next up was a cup of tea. I fed a few pellets I had left over from a previous session whilst I drank. A quick plumb up revealed the depth and the first cast was quickly made. To my surprise the float stayed in place pretty well, a fluke on my own part when placing the shot. It’s always appreciated when things just work. The wind really began to howl. Cutting through the towering trees bare branches. Hitting the far bank and deflecting downwards, creating all kind of interesting swirls and waves on the surface. I looked back at the float tip just in time to see it stutter a little, glide left and reluctantly dip below the ripples.

The business end of a hungry common

The rod hooped round as it met with the culprit. A carp fought in a typical fashion as it made a bid for freedom. In the shallow water the lean carp explored every bankside obstruction and root before finally succumbing. A really exciting tour of the water. It was a lean common. The fluffy bread proving too tempting to pass by. Just twenty minutes had passed and a fish was on the bank. Another heavy rain shower began to fall.

First fish of the sessionI was really enjoying fishing with the bread. I only left the rig on the water for a few minutes, striking the bread off before reeling in. A way of feeding the swim a little and keeping active. A heavy grey sky made it feel like it would be better to tuck myself at the back of the umbrella and hide away. But that certainly wouldn’t do. I stuck to casting regularly and hoped another carp would oblige. It was interesting, and sightly eerie, to note the absence of any birds in the strong wind. One of those details that goes unnoticed for a time but then once you become aware of, you can’t ignore. Very quiet indeed.

Vibrant winter coloursI did get another take. It took some time but was certainly worth the wait. A mirror carp this time, carrying some beautiful warm orange and red hues. In immaculate condition and fighting every inch of the way in. It was a particularly deep bodied fish. A miniature thirty pounder if ever I have seen one. I admired the perfect row of scales that lined its back and the similar cluster of scales dotted about its flank.

The second and last fish of the dayWith the fish returned I continued to fish on. A gust of wind hit the umbrella. I expected its force to lessen. Instead it grew in intensity. I held on for grim life, expecting to be blown to somewhere in the next county, instead the material parted from the rib. Rain rattled in. The wind followed suit. My enthusiasm began to drop the wetter I became, and without any waterproofs, I cut the session short. It had been surprisingly pleasurable considering the terrible conditions. I suppose it is only right to be exposed to familiar landscapes in less than welcoming conditions. They certainly change in them. Somewhere that can appear a welcoming place can quickly turn into a bleak one. And then turn back again. In the blink of an eye or in the shadow of a cloud.

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Until next time,



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