May 06, 2016

The Blanks Have Ended

My diary has an index, just 'Date' and 'Catch' columns so that I can quickly look up a particular day from the fish caught. Not the most accurate or detailed record list but usually enough for me. Before today there were six dates recorded in 2016 and apart from a few fish taken from the River Tone in February all of the others have just said "Blank".

I know that a bad run can befall any of us and heaven knows I have always been inconsistent in most things. I've gone for longer periods with a dry net and it has, at times, got under my skin but I have rarely had periods of such miserable luck. Not just fishing luck, oh no, the kind of misfortune that keeps you awake at night along with that which makes serious dents in your bank balance. It's been a pretty dire year thus far.

Then the sun comes out and suddenly the trees have taken on a mantle of green, the swifts are screeching overhead once more butterflies emerge to brighten the hedgerows and fields and everything feels just that little bit more bearable. It is time for a trip to the lake to see if the late Spring has stirred the fish.

One other angler was set up on the southern bank, doubtless casting across to the tangle of fallen trees where the fish like to bask. That seems somehow impolite, to disturb the fish in their home, I much prefer to intercept cruising fish. I parked on the north bank and walked, searching for signs of fish and movement. I had reached the top end shallow without so much as a glimpse and faced the prospect of a return trek to a plan B swim where I would hopefully find something on the fin. But wait! In the bay, quite barren a few minutes ago, a dark shape hovered, drifting slowly over the far side. That's all I needed.

I quickly sorted myself out and put a pva bag of broken boilies out with a few more scattered around it. It was just after midday, a late start but I was full of hope. Twenty minutes later the bobbin lifted and a slow but determined run developed - and I missed it. Not long after the same happened again. Bream were doubtless working the bay and that always makes life difficult. I have enjoyed many a day's bream fishing in my time and, unlike some so-called 'specialist' anglers, I do not unhook them with my foot. But they can be a pain in the proverbial - and were today.

It soon went quiet but there were no signs of carp either. Neil texted me and suggested 3.15 pm was a good time for a bite there. He's always banging on about '3.15' but I've never found it particularly good, indeed I couldn't remember action of any sort at that time. I put another bait out and sat back enjoying the wildlife and the warmth. Cane, my dog, steadily built a bonfire around me as he tried to induce play in between seeing off pheasants. I took out my latest book Rivers Run by Kevin Parr and enjoyed the first few chapters until a shout from the Delkim had me leaping over a dog, at last prone, and reaching for my old Hardy rod. It was 3.12pm and I was in!

I was fishing through little more than a gap in the trees and, to get control over the running fish, I had to go for a paddle. The water was cold and the dead leaves and silt pungent but, standing in water surrounded on three sides by trees and reeds, I am never happier. Getting down to water level to play a fish is so much more personal that standing aloft on a high bank, this was almost eye to eye battle and every turn and run of the fish felt electric.

With my prize finally netted I stumbled up the bank and rested the fish in a more accessible spot whilst sorting out the scales and camera. A pretty linear fish just one ounce over that magic 20lb mark. A suitable reward and, with wet, stinking feet and an empty flask I trudged back the car and the long drive home. Today the diary index will have a different entry. Happy days.


  1. That's a plump slab of a carp, well done fella. Didn't they used to burn people like Neil at the stake? ;-)

  2. Ha! Its not like he gets it right very often :o)

  3. Blimey Dave that is a little fatty. Keep well :-0

    1. But I'm on a diet!

      About time you cast a line mate ;o)

    2. I have been fishing, Trout and a Pike day on a six hundred acre "Any Method Trout" ressie the other week.

      I put the blog to bed in January, got bored of doing it. Only so much you can say angling wise IMO. The piss taking etc was easy, but writing about my fishing became a chore.

      Anyway more important things at present, tommrow and a move away from the "Old Girl" after a 112 years. ;-0

    3. I for one will miss your blog mate, one of the best. If you have something to say come back and say it - please.

      As for Upton Park, which is now referred to as 'The Bowling Green' despite umpteen ears of the former?!? I used to love going to the Dell which was similarly compact, the atmosphere at grounds like that have been lost forever. Sure 60000 fans will bring in the money and West Ham will just become another corporate monster like the rest of the league.

      God bless Leicester for a chink of light in an impersonal jungle and I hope your boys do the honourable thing this evening and roll over so that we can get fourth place over the City :o)

  4. Dave,

    Took my old man last weekend, predictably we lost. That's the West Ham way, never cease to disappoint, but would not change a thing. Did not get a sniff in the ballot for tonight.

    So the wife behind my back paid for the game. She signed up to Sky Sports, something that I've always avoided.

    The new ground, well not for me. We have sold 52,000 season tickets. But it will be a different club. A few years from now it will be sold possibly to an over seas Arab or the like. I'll stick to a few away games.

    Lots of memories in the last 41 years since I first went, good and bad. I reckon it will hit me when we run out for the last time to "bubbles". Time moves on, in this case not for the good. I am happy with the club we have, not what Karen Brady suggested in the press today.

    Time for a beer and get the tissues ready. ;-0

    1. Well you went out on a high, it sounded like a great scrap. Pity about those naughty boys acting like 'ammers fans before the game though.

      I genuinely feel for your club, I think you'll leave your heart in the old ground. One more money factory chasing the lucre until it all implodes. Thank God for fishing.