I blew the dust off my gear, re-learned how to tie a hook and checked the map to see where the lake was. I was going fishing.
Today was just about being by the water rather than any numbers game, a time to reflect, to embrace the warmth of a Spring day and to enjoy just being alive. The lake looked beautiful - as ever - and I knew that there would be fish in the spot I was heading for.
I flicked a bait onto the exact spot I was aiming for - a good start. I scattered some baits around it then tightened the line that the gentle breeze had dragged into a bow but it felt like it was caught on something. I retrieved it to recast and it took four casts to get it back on the spot ho hum, up to my usual standard. A second rod went out to the right of the first and I settled back in the sunshine.
All around the birds were in full cry, nuthatch, tits, finches, woodpeckers and even an insomniac owl. I saw orange tip and peacock butterflies and an orange bellied carp come out of the water.
At about 1pm the right hand rod bent and gave a little line. Despite using cushions on my chair, on rising I found my back had seized as I tottered toward the rod muttering and cursing. I tightened into the fish and soon landed quite the most attractive fish this lake has given me to date, a stunning linear with some proper apple slice scales thrown in. I didn't weigh it, just a couple of snaps and back it went. I may have taken more pictures with my decent camera but I found that I had left the newly charged batteries at home - there's always something.
Soon after Cane, my far from obedient mutt, made a growling surge toward a tree close by. This usually indicates a squirrel is in the area but he was heading for a hole at the base of a tree. I thought "Rabbit, maybe a rat?' but wondered why something was still moving near the entrance so went for a look. It was a grass snake which was cowering in a hole with no other exit. Mrs Snake was not happy and I sat and waited for her to clam down after grabbing a quick snap.
She would not settle so I reached in to pull her clear. My intentions were honourable but, as with most females, I was met with a loud hiss and a bite. It's daft, I know they can't hurt yet that primeval instinct took over and I jumped and snatched my hand away - what a wuss. Anyway, I apologised and she shot out of the hole and, at incredible pace, headed down the bank and into the lake and away.
I sat back in my chair and the dog sat close looking very distressed and nervous for ten minutes or so. It was his first serpent .
I had a wander and found plenty of small carp basking and enjoying their share of the sun. Back around my swim all was quiet. I gave it a few hours then packed up and took a leisurely drive home.