Saturday, 31 January 2015

Southern Softie

I'm not sure in all the years on the bank, my body has been as cold as it was today.Work has kept me away from the river these past two weeks and when I looked outside this morning a mixture of sleet and snow was falling.

Nearly went back to bed, sacked it off. But time is running out the specter of the close season is casting an unwelcome shadow across the land. Now you read about the importance of a layering system to keep the cold out, well today my body would pass for the  Michelin man of old, movement was hard, no giant strides along the bank today. More of a waddle and a twaddle, quack,quack.

Sanity made me pick an area a few miles upstream from where my main Perch area is, in that it's shrouded by trees, providing solace from the wind that was cutting right through me, sleet stinging my face. Spooky old place, the trees are gnarled and bent over. No birdsong, no wildlife , just silence as if the trees are waiting, watching, daring you to do something to feel their wrath, think Fangorn without the humor. Christ the cold was addling my mind, surely we all play out little scenarios in our minds while fishing.

Small curly tail grubs today fished very slowly across the bottom was the plan. After ten minutes my hands were frozen, not fun. Talking to myself " Your mad, should have stayed at home, fuck me I'm cold".

Move along a short way and cast to the far bank under some trailing willow fronds. Gently, very slowly bring the lure back in. Then a slow pluck, then a dull thump, thump and a head shake so synonymous with Perch.

Rod bent, trying to get her head up and praying the hook holds you just know when it's a good fish.On the surface her mouth opens wide, eyes glaring and defiant. Dorsal fin erect, angry and resolute. In the net and a fat as butter Crayfish eater looks back at you. Hooked very, very lightly in the top of her mouth. Fortunate to land this one, nine times out of ten the hook would have slipped from such a slight hold.

Not the greatest photo composition in the world , just a very quick snap and back she went. Hands burning through cold, no time to faff about.

Fished on for another couple of hours, but my concentration was waning, Thoughts of a hot bath, nip or three of Glenmorangie to warm my soul were in my mind. I'm sure my northern brethren are still out fishing in shorts and a tee shirt, while this Southern Softie is home and warm.Three hours were more than enough for me today.

Already my thoughts are turning to  next season, some Trout in the Spring and a club water that I've not had a ticket for, for a few years. But's it's shallow and fast running in the upper reaches, so with that in mind a new ultra light rod was bought  in the week. Mainly to fish small crank baits for Chub and Perch.

These will be getting a work out, soft baits do catch me more fish. But crank bait fishing for me is much more fun. So roll on some sun on my bones as today was tough.

Lastly, Helen Macdonald has recently won the Costa Book prize for H is for Hawk. This book has gained immense plaudits over the months.

Like to think I was way ahead of the game with this one.

Be Lucky

Monty D

Saturday, 10 January 2015

I Command You!

Blimey where did Christmas go? One minute your ambling off to doze and get rid  of that bloated feeling, then all of a sudden it's January the fifth, the alarm is trilling away, it's 0430 and your back on the treadmill of work.

Over Christmas I did manage a few trips out, trotting produced some Dace and small Chub, lure fishing gave me some Perch and Pike, in truth who wants to spend the festive period at the keyboard, not I. To busy drinking and boy did we sink some, going football and general family stuff ensured.

Today was my first trip out of this year, made a pact with my brain. No more casting lures into bank high, foaming chocolate rivers. Fish the conditions and today only one species warranted my attention.The hallowed "River Prince", Christ it's been a while since the Prince and I have been reacquainted.

Grabbed some Hi-Nu-Val paste that has been languishing in the freezer last night, since god were a lad(calm down I did not say the prophet Mohammed), no need to burn effigies, protest or murder people all in the name of some archaic ideology!

Three hours this morning, roaming about , no brolly getting soaked and battered by falling branches in the wind . On the way down to the river, my thoughts turned to how many anglers would be about, for it's prime Barbel conditions. And you know what, none, nadda, zilch. The  weather must have frightened them off, they sure breed 'em weak in Surrey.

Twenty minutes in a swim then move, simple fishing no need to take the kitchen sink. Second swim resulted in a Chub of around three pound that came to the net like an out of breath Bream, it was really that good.

Keep moving and a nice under cut beckoned me, crease just tripping along away from the bank. Under my feet and within in a minute a good pull round on the rod, rod swept back and a slow, plodding weight moved ponderously upstream. No drama, no tears before bed time, just a slow weight. I love using cane rods for Barbel, you can really bend and bend into a fish, soft action and very few hook pulls, for me anyway.

A nice struggle, but after a few minutes she began to yield, head up and into the net first time.I thought I had better give her a number, just to make her happy you see, not I. A nice fat winter Barbel that went 11.11 on the scales. Pleased with that, who would not be so early into January. That was that for me, switched off, tried a few more areas but no more fish decided to play.

Now peering down from Yat Rock on Thursday and into internet forum land I happened across this.....

Boris God One "Anyone know what the Thames looks like?"

Boris God Two" The Lower has a good flow and with the temperature on the rise I can't wait until Friday, I'm going to command Weybridge Weir tonight"

Command, fucking command. My eyes started to melt, like a scene from Indiana Jones when they glanced upon the Ark of the Covenant (steady you religious zealots). How can you command a weir pool?

I had an image in my mind, of an angry Boris angler, dressed head to toe in real tree, bellowing at the top of his little voice.

"Ease up you bastard I can't hold in the flow with eight ounce of lead, obey me I command you" Only in Barbel land folks, only in Barbel land.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Be Lucky

Monty D