I tried to head somewhere different this week. Really, I did, but the lure of the crucian water won easily over any other. It’s not just the crucians that reside there that ultimately swung the decision. The style of angling involved in their capture was just as important. Quite simply I love fishing with delicate floats, fine lines and small hooks. Fights that really could go either way. Squinting at the tiniest of orange specks, trying to decide if that movement was indeed, a bite. In a swim so close to my feet that it seems implausible to get a bite there at all. Details otherwise unnoticed now take centre stage. Intimacy amplified.
In true angling fashion though, the day couldn’t have been much worse for this type of intimate and delicate fishing. The wind gusted, swirling in from different directions, a hazard not just for me but the birds attempting to fly in it. For periods of time the water was split into segments. Big ripples hit the bank, like the ranks of a marching army, ploughing onward with monotonous repetition. This in turn created a strong undertow, making presentation difficult, and more buoyancy was needed in the float to overcome the conditions. It was clear I had to forgo a little sensitivity. I hoped it wouldn’t make too much of a difference. Somewhere inside, experience grimaced, knowing it would.
For the first two or three hours the fishing was a nightmare and I struggled, apart from a solitary tench, to get (or see) any bites from crucians. After my fourth cup of tea, a heavy shower blew in, and out again, as quickly as it came. Behind it was the most magnificent of gifts. Respite from the gusting wind. So much so in fact that I was able to change from the bigger, more buoyant float I’d been forced into using, back to the tiny float I so dearly wanted to see sinking from sight.Quite laughably, two casts later, I hooked into my first crucian of the day. A big two pounder and great fish to catch. Another soon followed, a smaller example this time, but just as appreciated, fighting every inch to the net. By ringing the changes, the hookbait in most cases, I was able to string a procession of crucians together over the next two hours. Only the onset of darkness stopped my fishing. I quietly cursed refusing that extra helping of carrots midweek and accepted that my time was up.
It had been an interesting lesson. On two very different counts. The first in sensitivity; these curious fish will certainly not tolerate any lack of it. Then changing to a finer float bringing almost instant results. Of course, it could have been just a happy coincidence, as a group of fish finally found my fee offerings. Maybe the undertow lessened or the fading light boosted their confidence. Maybe it was the rain shower, sprinkling magic from its clouds, instead of the usual rain. My changing of floats a unnecessary tweak before a number of factors suddenly just clicked. Which leads me on to the the second count; we as anglers have to accept never really knowing. We must be satisfied with making a number of judgements and clumping them together to form our very own ‘anglers hypothesis’. Where they will forever remain just that. An idea. There is no way to prove anything. Nor should there be. Once angling loses its mystery it no longer has any soul.
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