Thursday, 30 April 2009

An early morning MAN knackers me out!

29/4/09 Napton Reservoir 09:00 - 16:30. Warm and bright (16C), brisk southerly wind.

Just for the record and in the style of Martin Kelner I'd like to say that I have 37 years of almost unblemished heterosexuality.

This Wednesday I was up well before dawn (03:15) to drop the inlaws at Manchester airport to jet off on holiday. The roads were quiet and I was back at home in Coventry by 07:00.

The most notable aspect of this errand was the dawn I saw on the southbound M6 on my way back. Wondrous. First one of the year and certainly given me a thirst for more. There was a low level mist which added to the atmosphere as the sun rose to my left. Too often I had to force myself to look forwards rather than perpendicular to my direction of travel.

As fishermen we see dawn break - other folk don't and in my opinion are missing out. There's nowhere like England at dawn. It's at it's most spectacular on a summers morning when it takes it's time, works its way through the spectrum of colours ending in grand fresh illumination. Unlike dusk a fisherman's dawn marks the start of a fishing day and not an end. The air is still at dawn revealing feeding fish. Once the sun rises above the tree line the air starts to move and the weather systems wake. It's tough to know whether to look skywards or down at the water.

Enough. I'm no Keats.

I knew I would be knackered from this early start and booked the day off work as contingency. I also compromised my preferred style of fishing in order to incorporate a bed chair and bite alarms in case I nodded off.

I turned up at Napton Reservoir at about 08:45 after Tench, Bream and possibly a 3lb Roach if I could fit one in. To my surprise it was busy. Like ten cars in the car park busy. The causeway was full of anglers. Shedding all trace of watercraft and armed with the weather forecast I opted for a peg near the canal facing onto the small reservoir. Principally as the wind was going to be from behind me, I would get some shade and my bed chair would fit the peg nicely.

I set up two rods on alarms. Light bobbins as I wanted to see the bites. I balled out ten orange sized balls of groundbait. One rod had a method feeder (first time I've used one) and one had a straight bomb, both had corn on a hair as hookbait.

I had indications from the off but no takes. The first retrieval on both rods was weedy. Caked in blanket weed. The second retrieve was the same - snot weed ahoy. Being sure I was over at best a hit and miss bottom I needed to get my hook baits off the floor. I popped both baits up using plastic corn. Helicopter style on the method and with a split shot on the hooklength of the bomb.

This move got me a Tench of a bout two pounds on the straight bomb. Noticing my method rod was getting far more interest than the straight bomb I switched the straight bomb across to a cage feeder, still with the popped up hookbait. This took a second fish around 3lbs.

The cage feeder then hooked and I lost a third fish in the weed. I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.

Revitalised, I started spraying maggots out and set up a light waggler outfit for the silver fish. I wound one leger rod in and gave the float a go for about an hour. I couldn't buy a bite on the float.

I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.

Revitalised I switched back to both leger rods and upped the rate of casting to keep the groundbait going in. I had one more Tench about 3.5lbs on the method rod.

One thing I noticed was that after casting out either rod I was getting lots of action; twitches, line jumps, tip trembles, but few hook-ups. I don't know whether this was due to the hookbait being masked in weed, or whether a bait four inches off the bottom wasn't fooling the Tench. Still, I moved my technique for medium range Tench fishing over weed on during this session so I learned something.

I then involuntarily fell asleep for about half an hour.


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