A lesson from the past (Entry 215)

Last night I caught my first fish for three months. The longest hiatus from piscine escape that I have ever endured since first picking up a rod and reel. Apart from university, but there was plenty of beer consumed during that time, enough to make sure that particular period passed in a blur. I had taken myself to a delightful stretch of canal, just on the cusp of country, where the setting was one of open fields and stone cattle bridges more than huge stone slabs and towering mills. A glowing sun warmed the evening, though a brisk breeze reminded me still, that Summer had not yet fully sprung.

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In the hope of snaring a big, lady perch, I fished with lures, exploring various lock cuttings and bramble overhangs, with a variety of different patterns. Just for a few minutes mind, before heading off to the next equally inviting spot, a few casts closer to my goal. Or so I hoped. I couldn’t tell you how long I had been there. Put simply; I was totally immersed. The familiar whirr of the bail arm, as it re-coiled line, a soothing sound missing for so long. The brief whoosh of the rod as I cast, and the resonant plop of the lure hitting water, both punctuated and comforted. A haze of layered bird song formed the perfect foundation for my own aural additions and not once did a moorhens’ shrill shriek startle.

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When the lure was snatched, by some unseen monster, my eyes had never opened so wide. My whole body tensed. Smile, of course, unstoppable. As was the strike. A strike that had been there, nestled on the edge of a reflex, for a quarter of a year. Naturally, my heart beat faster as I reeled the fish in, a quick and powerful fighter it was too, but punching well above its weight. A perch, not much bigger than my hand, the perfect totem to welcome me back. The first fish of tens of thousands of people. Appreciated none the less because of this. It was perfect. In the late evening sun my perch’s subdued colours were made more radiant. What a proud looking fish they are.

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And there it was. Everything I had missed. Everything I had been reliving during my time away. A discarded rod atop a wet landing net. An actual living fish clutched in my hand. Everything, all at once, the focus of much admiration. And for the first time, in what seemed like an eternity, I was at ease. I was where I belong.

Until next time,

NorthwestFisherman

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Just enough time for excuses (Entry 214)

Three hours fishing. In the morning, before most people would even be thinking of venturing out, I would have already been and be on my way back home. Stolen time. I started fishing in darkness, before the birds started their dawn chorus, using a pole float I had made for just such occasions. A small isotope makes a fantastic beacon for tentative bite indication but on this particular trip, the fish made me wait until the sun had rose, before making their appearance.

It seems like this is happening a lot at the moment. To me at least. Early starts are generally not rewarded until much later in the day, mid-morning being ‘early’, whilst sometimes the float doesn’t move until early afternoon. The weather is up and down, low pressure is in control, the winds are high and the rain is cool. This angler is looking for excuses and its almost too easy.

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I fished caster today, feeding little and often, hoping to excite and attract some late summer tench or crucians from an old estate lake. The first success came in the shape of a mint conditioned, and deep bodied, little common carp. Double caster proving just too much to try and ignore. He fought sedately and never threatened any snags. Quite a lazy little thing really. My second fish, just moments later, was a beautiful three pound tench, that in comparison to the carp, fought tremendously hard. This tinca found weed bed after weed bed before diving, eventually, into my net.

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Then the lake just switched off. The small fish stopped topping; the rafts of bubbles appearing in my swim dispersed and were not replaced. Even the birds, a moment ago in full swing, seemed to now muffle their morning song. It all began to feel a little eerie. The clear sky had filled up, lost to heavy clouds, laden with that thing that clouds are famous for carrying. And it poured down. Buckets of the stuff. Rain so heavy, that at one point, my little pole float could not keep its head above the waterline. For forty minutes there was little point in doing anything else than stop fishing and take it all in. The coolness that wrapped around me and raised goosebumps; the fine mist born from rain drops shattering into a thousand fragments as they hit lush undergrowth.

It was spectacular in its own way. Though whether it beat being cosy in bed is another thing. I am glad I experienced it nonetheless.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

NorthwestFisherman