For a complete and honest picture (Entry 211)

There isn’t going to be a single fish in this weeks blog. There’s not going to be any pictures either. I’ve had a terribly lean spell over the last week or so, and whilst it might not make for riveting reading, I thinks its only fair to acknowledge. I had planned three trips out, two at the weekend, and one mid-week after work on the local canal. But that was for the future. Today was Saturday, and although I really wanted to make the journey to catch crucians, having not done the alternative last year, I decided to go to a different venue and sit it out for a big bream.

I had two days in which to find them, on the first day I found an appealing gravel area to fish, where I introduced a fair amount of bait over the area, and positioned two rods on the near side of this. One I fished with three fake casters and the other I alternated between corn and a 10mm Boilie. Both were presented on helicopter rigs and fished at around 60 yards. It was as far from intimate as you can imagine. In between regular casts I got through a good book, ‘Ghost Story’ by Peter Straub, which didn’t help the hours after dark one bit and I can only conclude it scared the bream off, too. No fish in two days, no line bites, and precious little moving anywhere on the lake.

Wednesday rolled around and after a particularly quiet day at work, I couldn’t wait to walk down the canal, loaf of bread in hand looking for roach and rare chub. I looked for signs of fish topping. There was none. I looked for Crabtree-esque swim. There were precious few now a certain organisation had been through with their loppers. So I went with past experience. Sitting at the end of a run-off about 30 yards downstream from a lock. I’ve taken chub and decent roach from here in the past, and was soon presenting a flake well over depth, and expecting to make contact with a monster. Once again though, the fish did not play ball, though at least I had one bite this time. A bite that I missed. All this in four and a half, picture perfect, hours.

So that was my story for the week. Pretty dull in terms of fish captures. Pretty dull in terms of action. I wanted to include this though as a means to promote the idea that we all go through bad streaks. I’m not saying this in an inflammatory way, that I am somehow better than anyone else, and therefore an authority. Quite the opposite in fact. Merely we all have to concede that no matter what we do, if the fish don’t read the final lines of the script, we will never get to the final curtain.

And that’s a really good job, isn’t it?

Thanks for reading,

NorthwestFisherman

 

Ide give my bottom dollar (Entry 210)

I found something to work with after half an hour. I didn’t see it, rather, I heard it. A fish striking the surface with aggressive attitude. Something along the lines of a chub eagerly gulping lumps of crust floating down a river. It was out in the open water where I glimpsed the fading ripples of whatever fish had struck the surface. I gathered my tackle and walked to the nearest peg, a peg right in the teeth of the cold easterly wind that hurtled across the venue, making the air temperature feel a few degrees colder than it actually was. Having fished the peg before, I knew it was roughly two feet deep, and it was at this depth to which I set my rig. I gave the swim fifteen minutes of free feed, casters today, before giving in and allowing myself the first cast. So in total; forty five minutes of preparation. All worthwhile when your float flies under on the first cast within seconds of it hitting the water.

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Even better when it’s your target fish that takes the hookbait. A good sized fish too, and for an ide it fought really well, like a big bream being lead in from fifty yards range, it couldn’t be rushed. As soon as the fish was in the net two more pouches of casters were fired out into the swim whilst I dealt with the fish. Something to regroup any spooked fish still out there. On the next cast, I missed a bite, so swiftly fed another few pouches of casters without making a cast. Third cast and the second fish was hooked, an even bigger example than the first, taken just as the rig fully set at dead depth. I couldn’t have been happier.

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This really was an immaculate fish, my PB too, for the ide/orfe species. Ide are a great looking fish, a blur between chub and roach, all steep shoulders and depth, and although their fight is not spectacular, they can have you on the edge of your seat. From sedation they spring into life, head shaking violently, all this happening at the surface so you know exactly what you have got to lose. In total over the next ninety minutes or so I managed to take six of these amazing fish. I had to follow them around the swim a little, vary the amount of feed and the regularity I was feeding it at, but it was enthralling and rewarding fishing.

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The last fish of the day was certainly no ide, though it was still taken on the drop, and on a single caster. Initially I thought it was a small carp so was quite surprised to see a tench pop to the surface some minutes later. It was obvious, now, that the ide had left the area. For a time I walked the banks again looking, or rather listening for, any further signs of them. This time, however, the water was silent, save for the gentle lapping of the ripples. I fished on regardless, more to soak in the atmosphere, than with expectancy of adding to my tally. It really didn’t matter one bit that the float wasn’t going to go under for a final time. This had been a day to remember.

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And can I apologise for the terrible title pun. I really couldn’t help myself.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

Early crucians (Entry 209)

The fish filled the bottom of my landing net. Bullion. A little paler than I remembered, no doubt from sitting in deep water for so long, over the cold Winter. There was numerous lice in residency, and two leeches, sure signs this fish has not long since woken from its slumber. The pull of the warmer marginal water, now sun soaked, had won over. As had the carefully presented hookbait amidst a sparse helping of free offerings. From my point of view the float barely moved. Indeed, it was not a vertical motion that had indicated a bite, but a horizontal one, as the float wandered from left to right in the tiniest way imaginable. Enough for a strike though, especially when there had been precious little movement for so long.

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I didn’t realise until in the midst of it but I had really missed this process. The careful plumbing up, the faith that the fish would turn up, that a few pellets could really pull a group of fish into the area. And the fight. That glorious thumping display, long pauses where they seem to hang and use their broadsided shape to make it as hard as possible to budge, especially on very light lines. I suppose you cant talk about a crucian fight without mentioning that moment where they just, well, give up. Funny little creatures thats for sure. Gloriously pretty, though.

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I’d taken a fair number of roach during the first few hours, some to a reasonable size, but the crucians had been absent. The night had been a cool one but now the day was warm. Really warm actually, wall to wall sunshine, with not a cloud in the sky. There really wasn’t. Apart from the strong wind that made bite detection problematic at times, the hours were passing far too quickly, especially as at the time a crucian had not graced the bank. Once one had though, I could really relax and take it all in. Usually when you can get to this state, a crucian zen if you will, more will undoubtedly follow. As proved to be the case before a rogue carp gatecrashed the party.

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Just how I had it on for so long using a 2lb hooklength is beyond me, but inevitably the double-figure bully found a way to shed the hook, leaving me amazed I lost the fish to hook pull rather than a break. I couldn’t find a way to add anymore crucians to my list, even the roach were playing much harder to get now, my two handfuls of gold was enough. With a hungry groaning starting in my belly, and with the air now feeling much more chilly, as seven o’clock drew round I decided to draw this session to a close. More than happy, of course, with the first real crucians of the year.

Thanks for reading,

NorthwestFisherman