Patience, panic, respect, reward (Entry 197)

It certainly was pleasant to be doing something different, in the Autumn sun that beamed down. I thought about the perch I had chosen to ignore this week, the conditions certainly wouldn’t have suited them, which went some way in making my absence from the canal a little easier to justify. Today I was fishing for carp, using a waggler setup, on an intimate and interesting water. It wasn’t just any old carp I was after. Today I was after a carp of the grass variety, though for now I’d had precious little interest from anything at all. Still, the sun continued to warm my back and the fish would turn up, eventually. I was quite sure of that.


If I do say so myself, I was fishing the waggler pretty damn well. One of those days when it seemed I could do no wrong. There was never any danger of a cast sailing into branch city. No tangles were waiting in the wings. I was able to get into a steady rhythm; cast, feed one or two grains of corn, twitch the rig after a time, leave for a bit longer, then repeat. Really relaxing and super simple. Two hours zoomed by without any sign of a bite, but I felt confident that there was nothing more I needed to do, other than wait. For the sun to swing around and the water to warm. The carp would follow. As predictable as finding a cat in a sun trap.


As soon as any shadow had been dissolved, I had my first fish. Illuminated by the bright light, I could tell immediately this wasn’t a grass carp, a broad and deep flank flashing in the depths ,as it powered away for the sanctuary of an overhanging tree. A common carp; fin perfect and a very strong fighter. It certainly got my heart racing. The very next cast my cup of celebratory tea was interrupted by another bite, this time from a grass carp, and so began a much more sedate fight. Without much incident, the fish wallowed and lunged near the surface, making it quite easy for me to lead into the landing net. It was a great fish to catch and one I was really pleased with. Less so could be said about my next encounter.


After releasing the fish, I topped up my half full cup of tea, and settled back down to fish. From the corner of my eye I glanced a mouse, with wings, hovering a few feet away. Except, obviously this wasn’t a mouse. This was the biggest hornet I have ever seen. I thought about screaming and running to the sanctuary of my car. I had visions of it, and hundreds of its friends, in pursuit of an angler, hurriedly heading for the barren fields distant horizon. The product of one too many horror films I dare say. I didn’t know too much about them at the time but the wise words of a friend have since put me right (thanks, Kev)! Turns out they are quite sedate. this one certainly was. It buzzed around for a bit, prospecting for a place to overwinter before eventually, five minutes or so later, flying off over my head and into the surrounding trees. A quite incredible insect really.


It was now well into the afternoon, and with the sun less fierce, the fishing became much busier. A number of feisty commons found the sweetcorn too tempting. As did a rogue tench and another five grass carp. Today it seemed, the slower the hookbait sank, the better the chance of getting a bite. Bread attracted a smaller stamp of fish and the few pellets I had with me, ones I found stowed in the bait cupboard, didn’t even make it onto the hook. I had a fantastic time catching up with this not so widespread of fish species and I had caught plenty of better known ones along the way. Once you get past their ‘just a little bit off’ kind of look, they’re actually quite a sleek, and attractive fish. Embossed medallions for scales and pearly golden-brown hues. A worthy Autumn adversary, thats for sure.


A quick note to finish for any perch reading; I have not forgotten about you just yet.

Thanks for reading,



9 thoughts on “Patience, panic, respect, reward (Entry 197)”

      1. So true. This is a poem that I wrote some years ago now about just such a place:


        Grandad’s legs pendulum swing;
        his feet ticking time-yards along the gravel
        crunch lane towards the splashing gate
        that clapped its politeness as we passed.
        The elder’s wetness dripped into its nettle socks;
        then we ducked between the blackthorn and the
        parsley spume, across the sleepered ditch
        to the pond’s fringe; deeper,
        more mysterious than any church.
        A vole carved its water-V as if a skein
        of geese across the sky, the wake rippled
        into nothingness at a woodpecker’s hammered thrum.
        I ate the bread jammed with the
        scrapings of a granny knotted jar
        whilst defended from the Stuka wasps
        by a flat cap.
        straddling an oak trunk bowed out
        over the deeps I saw a shoal of
        rainbow sharks perched on their water
        strings like a child’s mobile; the net’s
        cane held out in an impossible parallaxed
        confusion of depth and angle; but
        in the blood frenzy against the odds
        a stickleback prize was won
        at that moment my childhood was captured
        in a jar.
        Now the pond and all is gone;
        lost to a flood of cul de sacs and closes
        so labyrinthine that I can’t even recall it.

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