Artificial

 Lite

From the water’s edge

February 2014 - Mission intolerable

I hope that you find my journal interesting and entertaining. If, having read this, you think that I am talking rubbish then at least you have stopped and thought about it long enough to come to that conclusion which is something of a result in my book. If you would like to comment on this article or anything else relating to my website, please feel free to contact me using the adjacent form. Feedback is always greatly appreciated and very helpful when it comes to improving both my site and my angling. Thank you for looking.

 

We don’t mind weather. It can rain for ever as far as I am concerned, It can bake me in the summer, it can blow me about a bit if it really has to and snow, well I dream of snow. It makes all my pictures look good and people buy them at Christmas. When the weather girl said amber warning, we just assumed she meant get ready for a real bagging up day with loads of proper takes. After all, all we have had since Christmas has been weather, just how bad could it be.  

OK, it could be pretty bad. I keep seeing all my old SW London fishing haunts on the telly at the moment. I have wonderful memories of my times fishing the pits at Wraysbury for big tench. I’ve had some tremendous fun on The Thames at Penton Hook with Wadey and I lived on the banks of the Thames at Chertsey in my teens. My first Barbel took a dead bleak fished for eels one night just below the bridge there, but we have been lucky. It rains and rains and blows and rains and still we have good fishing, so what’s an amber warning between friends?

We headed off to try our ‘new’ stretch, but at the first bridge we crossed, changed our minds pretty damn quickly. The canal looked like a river of freshly-poured concrete. Chicken legs on then and off to another of our over-fished favourites instead. What’s the point of visiting a promising stretch when the whole jet stream is against you. A cold, dead-eyed blank on a terminally ill day is at best a waste of valuable life (you do start to look at this way at my age), at worst it saps your will to try it again in better conditions. I always like everything in my favour - its those chicken legs again.

They are sure to want it nailed down this week, so on goes the crayfish. Half an hour’s anti-climactic twitching and twerking through the mud and its worse than I feared. Prise the 1” yellow kopyto away from the crusty debris in the corner of the lure box and dibble for England. I’m already staring down the barrel of a self-generated blank here. An hour goes by and the drizzle is misting my glasses, but that is all that is happening. It’s not that bad, quite bright really. Weather girl looks like being as wrong as ever, but the water is a swamp of liquid mud, debris from the recent ‘volunteer’ hedge -tidying and semi-suspended black, sodden leaves that have just been in there long enough to stop floating on the top. But there it is, that heart-warming tickle on the end of your rod that says, “its not hopeless, one tiny perch lives here and is happy to make your acquaintance - RSVP” Gratefully I oblige.

Welcome as my tiny visitor is, we have to try something else. There is no point walking to the right, we already know that it is a crock of shitty water, and a quick dibble two hundred yards away in another small-perch (not-so) hotspot suggests we need to go to another banker area, but it has to be one with zander in it. I overheard somebody calling me and Pete a couple of bankers recently so we need a banker’s spot you see.

Start big - on goes the 3.25” yum craw, out it goes, splash the line drops and one turn later it flicks back up again to the tune of a small but very welcome zander. I shield the camera from the steady rain and kneel in the slime looking for a new angle on yet another schoolie. I hope you realise what a pain taking all these photos is, especially when the rain is bouncing a foot off your hood. I can’t get another. What happened last week, Eric?? I know, I’ll try shads up in the water. After all, although we are barely a mile from our last spot, here the water is positively gin-like, well cloudy lemonade-like anyway. It does look good here , which is more than you can say for the weather.

Bump, fish; bump, fish; bump, fish. I can’t believe this, I am catching more and more, the fish are getting smaller and smaller. Pete chips in with a really nice one well over two pounds, just to rub some salt in.

The rain is getting harder and harder and the wind is getting stronger and stronger and colder and colder. I reckon it has dropped 5 degrees in the last ten minutes. So does the rain, it turns to hail that stings the backs of hands, and then to snow. That’s it, we’ve had enough. Couldn’t care less if a million one pound zander want to shake hands. Pete’s rod hoops over and stays over. That looks a bit better, it has to be a pike but no it looks very zander -like as it flashes away deep down, but then true to form as it nears the surface the spines disappear, and a big toothy grin points itself in the general direction of his fingers. Bad luck Pete, its pretty but not pretty enough, especially as we now have a howling gale, a blizzard and saturated clothing dragging the spirit out of us. It so early the pub isn’t even open yet. Its never happened before , but we flee to the nearest garden centre for a coffee while we wait for the fit barmaid with the red hair to open up. I’m just twenty two she says in passing. Shit - so was I thirty five years ago. Its not just the weather that has ruined my day. Since we started lure fishing together over ten years ago, we’ve never abandoned a trip because of the weather before. Now I know what an amber warning means. It means the weather is so foul that you pack up while they are still feeding their heads off so that the barmaid can let the air out of your mojo.

 

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