• Agent 99

From Drought to Monsoon

July 2019

Week 1.

Monday evening, up at the ponds. Shed 7 in his element, as we anticipate the arrival of a Cub Pack.

We have whips [ the fishing sort ] and maggots ready, a practice casting area, and a handful of volunteers. What could go wrong ?

An army of excitable kids arrive, get divided into groups, and begin their evenings fishing , all with a happy Club chaperone, and a parent helper / Cub leader. The kids are keen to catch. There is some jostling for position and a little queue jumping, but after the first lad falls in, they calm a little, but not much. It is the antithesis of fishing – running, shouting, stomping and squealing, but the fish don`t seem to mind, and once I accepted that that was how it would be, I didn`t mind either.

A few maggots were hurled at friends, a few in the pond. Groundbait was sniffed, faces were pulled. Slimy hands were wiped on others backs - just like a days fishing with Strimmer really – but once the boys and girls had fishing rod in hand they became quiet and focussed. Everyone caught, some more than others. I caught one of the flying Rudd, enthusiastically hoiked into the air by an eight year old. I missed the next one and nearly fell in myself. The kids had a good giggle, as did I.

The lure casting went well, the `target` had numerous close hits until, right at the end, one lad managed to lob the lure into the next county [ that’s why we took the hooks off ] never to be seen again.

Plentiful thanks from all the attendees as they headed home, and plentiful thanks to the usual suspects for giving up their time again – to promote the Club, and to get kids into fishing. From X-BOX to seatbox we hope.

Weds. Match. A peg I`ve never fished before. First run of the float and a fish on, and not a minnow! My `spare` rod lacks cushion and the determined Chub shook itself free. I am regretting breaking my favourite float rod. Minnows were all I could catch after that. I did get one big bite using a lobworm, lifting into a heavy fish, the hook set and the fish on, it moved a couple of yards downstream before the line parted. Close inspection revealed a clean break – bitten off!

I didn`t weigh in.

Week 2.

Match again. I fancied the peg. My first six trots produced six fish, but, as usual, it was six Minnows. I must work out how to catch silver fish in the summer. Lobworm, bomb. Obvious.

Twitch, twitch, wallop. A brief fight, and a two pound plus Perch is in the net. Great start. It might reach three pounds by four p.m. if it eats all the Minnows joining it.

And then it went dead.

Rumour reached me that Crabtree was bagging, upstream. Crabtree propaganda probably.

I tried lobbies again, in all the likely spots, but to no avail. I ran a float through on various lines, at various depths, but to no avail. All I could catch was Minnows. So, the middle four hours of the match were very frustrating, adding but a few ounces to my tally. I resorted to worms again for the final hour and managed a chublet and an Eel. Would it be enough?

In a word, No. I weighed in, and was second, Crabtree had indeed bagged up, scaling a very impressive 9 lb of fish. The last bloke weighed in and scraped an ounce more than me. No prize today. A quick sulk and a quick pint, and all was well again.

Weds. Match.

Again I struggled to catch anything other than Minnows. However, amongst the billions of hungry Minnows I did catch 3 chublets. There was a sense of deja-vu about the weigh in, I was winning with only one angler left to weigh, the same bloke as on Sunday, and this time he pipped me by half an ounce. Bridesmaid again.

Thurs. A day off work, heading to `Sunrise` with Trueman.

Three other anglers were present, but only one was on the pond we chose. A very hot day had quietened the fish, apart from the Roach, and we caught plenty of them – maggots got bites quickly, but mostly from tiddlers, corn produced better fish, but more infrequently. As the afternoon progressed the temperature dropped and a few skimmers showed up, and a few Rudd. I went for a wander, feeding bread as I went, and shortly after, the slurping started.

A Spitfire flew directly over us, its Merlin engine alarming the many Geese, and starting a frenzy of `honking`. The Carp were feeding confidently by now, but the blazing Sun had returned. Truemans legs were bright red – the forecast had predicted rain. We bagged plenty of Carp on the surface, and a few bigger Roach too, but no monster Carp came our way. As the light disappeared so did we, tired but happy, we headed home.

Fri. A quick session hoping for a Barbel. None appeared. There were several short, violent,showers which lead to the storm drain next to me erupting in a torrent of foul smelling water. I packed up, gagging on the smell. It`s great getting out into the tranquil countryside.

Sat. A day at our ponds, showcasing their treasures for the Angling Times!

It was hot, darned hot. Each pond had one angler, and we were hoping to bag up for the camera.

The Doctor had a great time on Pond 1 where the Crucians and Tench were keen to be famous. He was catching regularly, and put together a good net of our scrappy, fin perfect fish. He smiled for the photographer, and passed on his wisdom, tactics, and methodology.

The other ponds didn’t really perform, and the Baron and I finished with distinctly mediocre returns for our efforts. We did both catch a Tench and plenty of smaller fish, but nothing like the usual stamp of fish. Disappointing, but that`s fishing.

Photos finished, we all headed home. Whose ugly mug would make it into the paper?

Sun. Family Fish day at our ponds.

The usual – some new faces, some old faces, all smiling faces. They came from near and far- the farm up the road, and the wild lands of Batley. The usual set up – whip, pole float, small hook, maggots. The hours passed and the fish obliged, even the elusive Skimmers were putting in an appearance, with a dozen or so netted.

The three hour session was a roaring success [ and good fun ], everybody caught, nobody fell in, skills were improved, fish were handled, maggots were impaled upon hooks, a good range of species came out, and everyone went home reluctantly, but happy.

I went to the Town stretch for a couple of hours. I lobbed a maggot feeder in and the Chublet soon found them. The odd one hooked itself, but the bites were fast, and I missed plenty of them, but caught enough of them of varying sizes to be content. As the light dimmed I fancied a go for a Perch, so lobworm on, held in place with a size 12, micro-barbed hook. The first worm was nailed by a 10 – 12 ounce Chublet. I fed two pouches of red maggots into my chosen spot, had a quick coffee,put another worm on, cast the worm in, and as I tightened up the line, the tip hooped round and stayed hooped. A short but energetic fight culminated with a fat Perch glaring at me. As it was a reasonable size, I quickly weighed it – 2 lb 14 oz – returned it, packed up quickly, and went home to watch the final of the Cricket World Cup.

Week 3.

Tuesday evening. A bit of bankwork on the Ings, mowing and strimming, and a quick pint afterwards.

Sat evening. A couple of hours at the Ings in search of Perch. I found plenty of Ruffe and Chublet, but not the Perch I wanted. I had a [ thankfully ] short social visit from a very flatulent Boilie Baron, and shortly after that toxic attack I went home.

Sun. Following a brief visit to the ponds in the morning – The Doctor needed a target to fire balls of groundbait at, and he chose me. Thankfully he`s a terrible shot, but he found it funny nonetheless. – I nipped down to Grange Park for a couple of hours. My `excuse` was delivered on a plate today- A bloke chucking a ball in my swim for his obliging dog to retrieve. Despite numerous shouts he continued, before moving back towards Wetherby, my curses ringing in his defective ears.

I caught a fair few Chublet mid-river, but the arrival of two Goosander and four, yes four, Otters was enough for me, so I packed up.

Week 4.

Wed match. A steady procession of tiny Chublet, the odd larger one, a couple of Ruffe, and a solitary Eel earned me first place come the weigh in. A seasons target achieved already, an unexpected surprise. I bought a speedboat with the winnings.

Sat. and the chance to buy bait in Wetherby. Discount Feeds now stock worms, casters, and maggots. I got myself a big bag of lobworms.

Sun. I took my lobworms for a walk.

The river was fast, swollen, and looked somewhat like a giant Latte coffee. The worms accounted for numerous Ruffe, Chublet, and another Eel, but nothing outstanding.

Week 5.

My final fishing session of the month, and not one to brag about – 3 deluded souls turned up for the Wednesday match. Four or five pegs were deemed fishable, so we fished the still angry river. Slack water existed on the inside, but not much of it, and I only managed one fish all match, a Bullhead – a big one , but in no way, shape or form was it a matchwinner.

Lets hope the Barbel turn up in August.

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