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  • Agent 99

Hallelujah.

May.

Week 1.

We`re all still `locked down`, so, unless you`ve been naughty ( or own your own lake ) you haven`t been fishing. Rumour has it that Angling is in with a good shout if, and when, any of our current restrictions are eased, and I am quietly confident that the `return to angling` proposals could be accepted, but when ? . Boris is making an announcement on Sunday….. until then it`s work as usual.

Week 2.

Another week at work.

The streets of Leeds are getting busier.

V.E. day celebrations come and go.

Boris mumbles his way through a `clear as mud` speech. Hidden within said speech was the news we Anglers have been waiting for – we may fish again, with restrictions, from Wednesday onwards. I dare say this may trigger an avalanche of bought licences and licence dodging in equal measure, but it`s still the news we were hoping for.

A big round of applause for The Angling Trust in presenting a viable model to the Government for the safe return to fishing.

A day at Sunrise fishery.

It`s a sunny day. I get there early, and park myself at the back of the lake, hopefully out of harms way. My backside is firmly planted upon my seatbox by 9 a.m. By 9:30 the place is filling up, people are arriving in groups, and meeting up with friends. Social distancing is not happening.

I fish a waggler. Apart from one other float angler everyone else is launching a method feeder. No matter, the fish are social distancing. I switch between `dead reds` and corn, and the bites keep coming. Loads of roach, a rudd of a pound, and then more roach. The traffic continues to arrive.

Nobody seems to be catching on their method feeders, I guess it’s the sudden noise after the last few weeks of tranquility that`s made the fish wary, or maybe it`s the shouting, and cursing. The birdsong is soon drowned out by the constant chuntering of disenchanted anglers. I don`t know if they heard me muttering, but most of them do f off home. They vote with their feet, and the place empties within an hour, now there`s only me and the other float angler on the lake. Peace and harmony return.

The afternoon is slow, but it brings the first carp of the day, not a big specimen, but it puts a much bigger bend in the rod than the roach. As the afternoon wears on the fishing improves, and it’s a bite a chuck on sweetcorn.

A few more anglers have arrived and they`re all using method feeders too.

I latch into another corn tempted carp. It thinks it`s big. I stand, in an attempt to steer it away from the reeds to my right. As I said; peace and quiet had been restored, so I clearly heard the angler across the lake call me a `spawny bstrd` ( the bloke must be related to The Doctor ) and then I realise the other five anglers are staring at me. I finally net my fish, and then overhear the `c` word, and it wasn`t carp. I smile and shrug, and take great delight, despite the poker face, when potty mouth loses his feeder in the reeds a moment later.

I hate to leave when they`re biting, but, I`ve had an enjoyable return to fishing, and my stomach is rumbling.

The car park is full of grumblers. The fish didn`t read the script. The legion of blokes that chose to use only a method feeder grumble loudest, but none of them brought, or could be bothered to set up, a float rod. I thought the joy of being able to fish again would be paramount, but it would appear that bitching is deeply embedded, and anglers have short memories.

Sun.

River. Prawns. Not a touch.

The highlight of the day was a brief visit from Shed 7. He thought he had caught a poacher. I suspect he was a little disappointed when it turned out to be only me, but he hid it well .

Week 4.

Following the Nations celebration of V.E. Day, I was delighted with the Germans this week – live football courtesy of the Bundesliga. Danke Germany !

Thursday.

A day off.

I met Trueman at Tevant Fishery, a new venue for him. He is suitably impressed. The `yella fella` has got his hat on, and the sky is blue. We take the short walk to the ponds, select a peg, and set up. I start with maggots, and catch rudd and small roach, the float barely settling before sinking. It would appear that they`re hungry.

Trueman starts well; he catches a small carp, and then some decent sized bream. I tire of catching small fish and swap baits – corn time, I want some of those bream. I wait patiently, and finally bag my own. Naturally, mine are bigger than Truemans, but he is catching more regularly. The warm wind has now changed direction, so we both move. It is safe to do so as all the other anglers are on the other pond. We now have the wind in our faces, and the fish have followed it. We both get a good return of bream, but now there are more signs of carp activity. I change my shotting to allow the corn to fall through the water under its own weight. I fire a few grains at a spot near the lillies. I overcast , and pull the float into position. I needn`t have bothered, because as I moved the float there was something angry on the other end. I guessed at carp, but secretly hoped it was a tench. It kept its anonymity as it circled, staying deep, occasionaly running. I played it slowly, and gained line, but the line had gained some decoration – a lily leaf, a feather, several strands of weed, and a reed stem all took a ride on the carp express – I now knew my adversary. Several late runs at the net led to some hairy moments, but `fish of the day` finally thrashed its way into the waiting net. It wasn`t a monster, at 8 lb, but it was a good scrap, and a worthy opponent, and worth a quick photo.

Trueman moved again, in search of his own carp. He soon found one. His fish took off on a rapid tour of the pond, Trueman was powerless to stop it. It charged back towards him, and buried itself in the lillies abandoning the hook, and float, in its midst, where they remain.

He set up, again, and was soon attached to another carp. This one was a little more manageable, and soon nestled in his net. A chunky little common of about 4 pounds.

We ended our day with another run of bream each before heading home. It would be fair to say Trueman enjoyed his first visit to Tevant, lovely venue that it is.

Well done, Angling Trust – match fishing can begin again. They have championed our sport, presented a `best practice` report for `When We Fish Again`, and have been key in getting us out on the banks again. I feel suitably embarrassed for not being a member, and have resolved to join asap.

Week 5.

Bank Holiday. Our ponds. My first visit for a while. I opt for pond 1 in hope of finding some hungry tench, apparently they`ve put on some `timber`. Tench elude me, but I do catch some of our crucians and some rudd. The crucians are admired and returned, the rudd go to pond 2.

I bump into an old mate from my footballing days. He`s just taken up fishing again. We exchange pleasantries ( from a safe distance ), I talk, he catches roach. I don`t think he`ll be the only returnee to fishing, I think our numbers will swell – all those people that are getting a lockdown inspired divorce will savour the solitude !

I catch plenty of rudd, some lovely crucians and some sun, but no tench.

Its been an enjoyable day despite the lack of tench, but they`ll be there next time.

Sun.

There`s a match being held on our ponds today, it could be a gruelling contest due to our current sunny weather.

I head to the river with a tub of worms.

The match does indeed become a grueller after a promising start, but somebody has to win and it`s Mike H, on his debut. Well done.

My day is a grueller too. A constant procession of canoes scares the `Brad Pitt` out of the fish, and they do not make an appearance. Our nemesis the minnow is waiting for food, they seemed to be present in their usual numbers, and were as frustrating as ever, but, no trout turn up.

Well, we`re back fishing again, matches are permitted and therefore the use of keepnets is too.

Our club ponds are fishing well and are stuffed with fish - I hear mixed reports from other ponds, some appear to be in full spawning mode, some not, but, for me, I find it somewhat ungracious that folks are still moaning about their catches ( or lack of ) considering the Covid pandemic we`re experiencing. Cherish your time fishing, communing with nature. Enjoy being outside, whatever the weather, and enjoy seeing your fishing mates whenever they appear, but be sensible, it could all go in the blink of an eye.

Stay safe, stay sane, be kind, wash your hands.

The rivers open soon – I`m looking forward to some ` splendid isolation` through choice, that`s what I want on the river, that and a 5 lb chub.

Agent 99.

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Wetherby & District Angling Club 

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