They think its all over it is now
I took a quick peek at the river. It was quick, swollen, and angry. The wind was gusting at over 40 m.p.h., I went home and parked on the sofa.
Work head off, fishing head on. I had the day off, and The Doc and I were heading to Pool Bridge Farm. We had had an abysmal day when we were last here – we both blanked. PBF gets its second chance today, lets hope someone told the fish.
We chose Horseshoe Lake.
I opted for a `wag and mag` approach, The Doc set about constructing his pole, and was planning an all out `pellet party`. I could only see his back, but he assures me he was only pumping pellets.
Pellets ! I knew I`d forgotten something.
I had a bite, first chuck. A small roach. I caught several more before the Doc finally lowered his rig in. He pinged a few pellets around his float, added a pot of `corn soup`, and waited. I continued to catch plenty of roach, but no biggies. I coaxed another dozen or so before that line dried up. I switched to another spot that I had been feeding.
I caught a couple of small skimmers from my second line. The Doc remained biteless.
Another small skimmer for me was followed by a growl and “ about f in time” from the Doc; he was in at last – a big skimmer. Bream, like buses, travel in threes. The Docs pole was getting some long overdue action. He spent the next hour regularly shipping in, and out, bagging up on the willing bream. The initial three had been joined by their hungry mates. He caught more, he missed a few ( potty mouth ! ) and declared “ you can build a decent weight quickly with these bream, cant you”. Smug git. My reply was “ I wouldn`t know”, I`d yet to make their acquaintance.
Having neglected to bring any pellets, I tried to mimic the `dinner bell` by firing hemp and corn around my float – a float that hadn`t buried for an hour. Eventually this paid off, and I had my own run of bigger fish, the biggest was between 4 – 5 lb, but the general stamp was 2 – 3 lb. One of them even put up a fight !
His `lap of the lake` completed, The Doc sat down, shipped out, and was straight in, again.
My swim had totally died. I managed another four roach, a couple of small perch, and a solitary rudd in the next two hours. The Doc was still catching, but he was having to wait slightly longer for bites now.
We called `time`, and packed up.
I hadn`t done too badly on maggots, over 25 lb of bream, and five or 6 pounds of roach, but pellets ruled the day – they accounted for three times the amount I caught. But, you know what they say, “every Doc has its day”.
A return to running water.
Grange Park. Stick float, red maggots.
A brief session brought me 9 grayling, all under a pound, but all over half a pound. I lost three, and got busted once – I suspect the culprit was a trout. The river then rose 2 ft in 40 minutes. After numerous branches and other bits of detritus, I packed up as the third football hurtled by.
Friday ( the 13 th ).
I`m not superstitious. Maybe I should be.
My last day off for the foreseeable future. I opted to spend it on the Ings.
I tried for a perch, nothing doing. I changed to a maggot feeder and began to get little knocks. Minnows were present, and I caught a few. The bites then changed to short, sharp tugs. Some dace had turned up. They were just getting bolder when the `black death` appeared. The cormorant worked his way towards me. A ball of mud landed near it and it flew away. Then it came back. It worked its way right through my swim, and that was the last I saw of the dace.
The highlight of the day was the squirrels on the far bank and their relentless game of tig.
Last day of the river season. I had planned a perch or barbel session, but it was not to be.
I received a late, friday night text from Crabtree: “ come and catch some grayling for the EA, they`re coming to collect them tomorrow. We only need `breeders`. We need you. 9 a.m. sharp”.
There goes the lie-in.
I went to GP, Crabtree went to the Wilderness.
The EA Calverton fish farm wanted a dozen mature grayling to strip of eggs and milt, we were to catch them. No problem, on current form. The form book went out of the window.
I couldn`t tempt a grayling with a moving bait, even when it was held back, so I switched to a feeder. The change worked, and I caught two beefy gling , and a baby one, in half an hour and then nothing for the next two hours. A text update – everyone was struggling. Including my two fish, we had a grand total of two !
I moved. As I sat in my new peg my phone buzzed; we now had four.
I trotted through. On the third run the float vanished. Another breeder, and then another tiddler, and that was it for me. Crabtree had bagged a few from `the slab`, and everyone else had caught too. The EA chaps were delighted – they received 21 fish in total - 17 gling of breeding size from Wetherby, and 4 from Pool. I thought our day was tough, the Leeds lads must have had a torrid time up at Pool.
All fish were to be returned after being stripped. No damage done.
Sunrise, ( not so ) early in the morning.
The Doc and I rolled up. We couldn`t fish where we intended – the `pleasure` lakes were being used for a match, the match lake was open for pleasure fishing !
There was a small `knock up` match being held on the Match lake, so we picked pegs on the `dam wall` section. Our pegs had been newly refurbished, the sky was blue, surely a good omen ?
Following the usual prep, I made my first cast, a short lob to my right. Instant bite, and a 12 oz roach was mine. Bonanza expected, I dropped back in on the same spot. I waited fiteen minutes without a touch. I lobbed left and found a shoal of roach - this line proved to be the productive one, the one to my right produced that one, lone roach.
I stayed left and caught a shedload of roach, a hybrid, and two rudd. I managed not to catch the dividing rope that spanned the pond, and I kept the fishes interest with a `little and often` rain of maggots. The Doc was alternating between pole and method feeder, and he was catching a few F1 carp and the occasional skimmer, but not enough for his liking.
After a couple of hours I began to yearn for a bigger fish. The fella to my left was catching the odd F1 using a method feeder. I`ve got a couple of method feeders, they`re in my shed, so I used a cage feeder and a size 16 with a bunch of maggots. My feeder landed just shy of the reeds. I had a mix of groundbait, micro pellets, and maggots as the free buffet, and it worked almost immediately – the tip swung, and kept going, a 2 lb F1 that couldn`t resist a writhing ball of grubs. Every time I dropped my feeder just off the reeds I caught, and quite quickly. I caught nowt when I lobbed my feeder into the reeds – giddy at catching something bigger than a roach, I had neglected to `clip up`. The `rookie` errors are getting fewer, but they still occur.
A few more F1`s, a few `pasties`, and a handful of skimmers showed up before the pond died. I caught one more small carp as I packed up, and then we headed home.
The events of the next few days underlined how lucky we were to have done any fishing. We entered `lockdown` the next day. We enter uncertain times, who knows when we`ll get to wet a line again ? However much we miss it, we have bigger things to worry about.
Look after yourselves,
and others - don`t be the selfish bastard that takes all the loo roll. The fish gods are watching , a season of blanks await the hoarders, the mean spirited, and the ignorant. Stay safe. Stay sane.