Angling certainly is odd. I want to get that out of the way. I gave the crucian fishing a rest this week to practice a style that I love but have done relatively little of in the past year. When there is clear water, and the fish are moving, there is no better way to tempt a bite or two than sight fishing. Bait preparation consists of a trip to the local supermarket and tackle can be kept to an absolute minimum. Stalking your quarry is one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting, way to catch a fish. The spotting of the fish, the gentle persuasion needed to get them feeding, the cast and the take. Battles are usually quick and brutal or drawn out and nervous. Each thrilling in their own way.
I arrived at my chosen water late afternoon. The day had been largely overcast but even so carp, and all manner of weird and wonderful hybrids, could be seen cruising in the upper layers. This would be a good day. It had to be. Didn’t it? Well, the first hour was spent trying to tempt a crushing fish from the surface with bread. An hour which turned into two. Frustrating but fun. Even though there was not one point where a carp even looked like it was interested in my bread hookbait, 120 minutes vanished. So much for this being a good method for tempting a bite or two. Nothing in this pastime of ours is set in stone.
It was now clear, after that tremendous failure, I needed to feed a few marginal swims, ones that I hoped would attract the attentions of fish that were actually interested in feeding. Queue the second bait; the humble sweetcorn. A small palmful was duly fed into four different swims. Then it was time for a tea. The perfect time to ponder and muse over what had happened and hopefully what was to come. Time passed and I was soon back checking the first swim. Wind, sails, knocked. The bait was still there! Untouched, unmoved even, laying precisely where the kernels fluttered to a halt at. This did not bode well.
I checked the second swim. Same result. In the third I spotted a group of three carp, one a ghost carp, move into the vicinity of the baited area. They hung nervously, one fish peeled away and came full circle, back to the rear of the group. The other two remained still. There was zero confidence in these fish. Simple as that. I began to concede that this was turning into one of those days where nothing aligns. Weather and water conditions. Atmospheric and angling pressure. All skewed. Past experience counting for little.
That group of fish then disappeared into the deep water beyond without even a nibble at the bait. I patrolled between the swims for an hour or more but nothing changed. The bait remained. All hope of catching dwindled. I resigned myself to defeat and another cup of tea. Taking the hook from the retainer ring, a double corn cocktail was nicked onto the hook. I might as well have the bait in the water whilst I drained the rest of the flask. With a thunderous swoosh, I propelled the hookbait as far as its own weight would take it, and watched as coils of line pinged from the spool as the bait sank. It settled slowly. I imagined the sweetcorn coming to a gentle rest on the bottom, out of sight, out of mind. Slowly, I drank my tea and took in the scenery. A kingfisher zoomed past me. Damsel flies darted near to the surface. Even the sun began to poke through casting a warming orange glow over the landscape. Not such a bad day after all.
To complete the picture, as the last of my brew was consumed, the line unmistakably stuttered to life. Coils turned from loops to smooth vectors that pointed to an unseen culprit that had just taken my bait. Out of sight, of course.
Until next time,