Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Angling's shameful side

This place is one of the few waters where anyone's ever actually caught Weil's disease in the locale where I fish. I wonder why.

I can't understand why so many people who love spending time in the great outdoors leave their litter everywhere behind them. If you take it out with you, it's surely not that hard to take it home afterwards. Yet as the leaves die back, you can feast your eyes on the aftermath of many a marathon session.

Beer cans slung in the bushes. Half-eaten meals, sometimes still on plates. Takeaway containers, a colourful selection of discarded under-clothing (male and female...), bottles and tins of all shapes and sizes.

After more seasons than I care to remember, punctuated by the odd decent haul or twenty, I'm close to saying adios to the place - much as it breaks my heart to say so.  If that's your bag of crap left hanging on a tree, you shame us all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spot the pike

I spotted this little chap sitting in the margins the other day. An 18ins-long bundle of trouble waiting for the next frog that hops off the pads in search of somewhere to hibernate.

I took a picture of it, but when I got home and plugged in the old hurdy gurdy to download it, I thought I'd snapped the wrong bit of lake at first. Take a closer squint and you can see it. Just.   

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A pike from the Forgotten Pit

There's a big swirl and the water boils as a good fish smashes into the lure. On a forgotten pit in the middle of nowhere, I've sunk my hook into an angry reminder of why I love this so much.

 I'd never set eyes on the place before I clocked it on Google Earth. Pits elsewhere in the valley hold pike, so this one surely must. I plotted the track that winds around the old gravel workings from the by-road, sketching it on a Post-It I could stick on the dashboard of the car to help me find it.

The first few casts revealed an underwater jumble of bars and drop-offs, weedbeds and silty shallows full of sticks and twigs. I persevered in a corner where a tiny pike barely bigger than the lure chased the Big Hammer.

Baby Pike should, in theory, mean Mummy and Daddy Pike are in here too. I dropped into a gap between two trees where the wind was off my back and I could send the shad right out towards the middle, into the pit's main bowl.

It's not much deeper, maybe five or six feet. It needs a brisk retrieve to keep the shad above the weed. A few casts later and bang - Mummy's here. The sleek low double fights hard in the clear water. From up on the bank, I can see it flare its gills and furiously shake its head.

Then it's in the net and it's mine. No monster, but a near-perfect double - apart from the rosy scrape on its flank. The new Big Hammer droops from its scissors, ripped to shreds as I grab a quick photo on the mat, flick the hook out of its gob and drop it back. As I watched it swim off, I wished I'd weighed it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Caught on the hop

I seem to be catching more than I was last time around. Plenty of small fish seem well up for sinking their teeth into one of the above selection of rubber things, or something out of the other box of rubber things I've been lugging around with me on my first half a dozen or so trips.

Despite the lack of anything half-decent, I've learned a bit about fishing the shad-type lures so many people now seem to use almost to the exclusion of anything else in the Fens. The first thing's how versatile lures I always thought were just chuck and retrieve baits can be.

When a straight cast/retrieve, cast/retrieve style of fishing them doesn't work, I've had one or two fish hopping them back along the bottom, which I'm guessing will be an even more useful technique once the weed's died back. Onwards and upwards.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Feminine intuition

This looks like a nice spot, says the wife, plonking down the picnic box. We've come to a picturesque stillwater, because the wife didn't fancy fishing one of the drains. I am laden down with deadbaiting rods, because the wife doesn't like lure fishing.

I get a few out, while the wife and dog plot up under a tree and start on the sandwiches. It certainly looks the business, with a gentle westerly rippling the surface and bait fish dimpling off the reeds.

Half an hour later, I hook into one, followed by a couple more. Nothing earth-shattering size-wise, but worth coming out for an afternoon all the same.