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.
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.