August 07, 2017

'Orrible August

Funny old month August. Trees full of fledgelings, flowers covered with insects, lakes and rivers looking at their finest and the fishing, well, pretty crap. I've never done very well in this last month of summer and I've never really worked out why. It's just one of those things I guess.

I haven't made it to France for a few years and am absolutely gagging to get back there. Bunny was always a member of the rabble but, now he's no longer with us, it falls to his son Phil, my lad Neil and me to continue the tradition of attempting to surmount the problems and crises that our forays provoke. Paddy, my lifelong angling buddy, wants to join our French carp bash next year and that is fine and dandy,  except for one thing. Paddy has very little carp experience. He just doesn't have the time for it as he works for a living (the poor sod) and his spare time is limited. I offered Paddy the chance of some pre deep end tuition as plonking himself on the banks of a vast foreign lake or river would be like dumping an eskimo in a desert. Plans were made.

With some creeping and a little begging, I gained permission for him to join me on a trip to the syndicate lake. He was not allowed to fish but could watch the 'expert'. All I wanted was for him to see and handle a decent fish as well as get an idea of how and why.

The Condobivvium

We set up camp, my little bivvie on a narrow ledge at water level, Paddy was to erect his on the bank behind me. Now last time I saw Paddy with a bivvy it was an ancient job picked up at a boot sale. It was the shape of a policeman's helmet and had the stability of a jelly and I was expecting to have a laugh at it today. Oh no, Paddy entered a competition in a carp magazine and won a brand new bivvy which came to be known as a condobivvyum. It's huge and would swallow three bed chairs with ease. It was also an absolute bitch to put up in a wind but, at last, we were settled and fishing.

The lake looked wonderful but no fish were showing anywhere. We did see a hobby, doubtless enroute to the aptly named Dragonfly Lake nearby and later an Osprey flew across and probably rested in a tree nearby much to the consternation of the ducks and herons that nest there. It later passed us again, twisted and turned over the lake and was lost to sight behind the full summer greenery. Probably a non-brooding adult reckoned Paddy and he does know his birds.

I hooked and lost a fish in the evening. I retrieved my rig to find the hook buried in a boilie. I later retrieved a rig with no hooklink. I'd opened a quick change swivel to put it on and, yes, well we all make mistakes. In fact, I was fishing like a complete tosser. Attempting to show Paddy how it's done I was showing him what not to do.

The next day was again quiet. A couple of members arrived for the weekend and I learned that tiger nuts had been producing. As it happens I had some defrosted in my bag. I've never had a fish on tigers but figured it was worth a go. I put them out on one rod, lay on my bed to read and fell asleep. I woke a little later and saw that the tiger rod had pulled up a bit but I'd heard nothing on the alarm. I brought it in and punched it back across with a fresh bait. About half an hour later I had a stuttering take - bloody bream I assumed.

Paddy with my fish
Paddy was also enjoying his siesta so I tightened up to the fish and began pumping it back through the weed bed. It had weight but no fight and when it rolled I was certain it was a bream, big but breamy big. Then it kicked and I woke Paddy. The closer it got and as the weed came away from it's face so the carp woke up but it still hit the net quite quickly. It then had loads of energy on the mat and again, I wasn't showing my fish handling skills at my best. It went 26.13 so I guess it was job done. A small common in the evening finished the sport, the last night being silent. No fish turning, not even a bream bite. Most strange. I think the only lesson Paddy learned was that if I can catch then anybody can.

We broke camp and headed for the Wye. An evening session and most of the next day saw Paddy land two chub whilst I didn't have so much as a nibble. Funny old month August.