Sunday, 25 April 2010


Wednesday 21st April, 08:00 - 20:30. Brookfield with Jeff and Pete. 7>13>8C. NW 14mph.

Time is my nemesis. There's never enough of it! This was a twelve hour session but would you believe me if I said I was so busy fishing I hardly had time for anything else like; eating, drinking or taking photographs.

Because the photography took a back seat not all way points in the storyline have an accompanying photo so apologies. The few paragraphs below describe what days like these mean to me so just skip them if schmaltz is not what you're here for.
I  personally love whole days devoted to fishing. Long days, with nothing on the agenda other than fishing and where our sport truly finds the room it needs for a full length feature to unfold in front of us. Short sessions are capable of offering the same intensity but but are often only short stories by comparison. I love it when I'm so wrapped-up in the fishing that mild pangs of hunger and thirst go almost unnoticed.

Incoming text messages and phone calls are greeted as irritations and as breaks in the trance. Concentrating hard on fishing to the exclusion of all other matters. I often wonder if others find enjoyment in these long intense sessions that leave you dizzy by the end. I find if I've taken a day off work then I do my damnedest to wring as mush as I can out of time.

I find time quickens relative to fishing intensity. The harder you fish the faster time will pass. Not all trips are like this of course. Put a couple of rods out on alarms and you are at liberty to take in the surroundings without accelerating time too much.  I count predator fishing with baits as one of the best ways to prolong a fishing day.
Intense float fishing has a special ability to multiply the speed of time, when one centimeter of orange and it's accompanying meniscus poking up from beneath  becomes  the focus of your entire being.  The top time-warping method however is stalking large carp in clear water. If you can hear your own heartbeat in your ears then you're doing it right.

Whilst within immersive fishing-induced states my thought processes diverge into two distinct themes; tactical and strategic. The tactical layer deals with administering the rods, casting, baiting up etc.  These thoughts are short-sighted, focused on the job in hand and pretty much on auto pilot. Referencing skills and movements you've carried out a thousand times before. The strategic  thoughts have an eye on the water and are   monitoring other conditions. Continually asking and assessing;  "Is this the best place?", "Is this the best approach?", "Do better opportunities exist?". Other worldly cares fall by the wayside. There's simply no room for them amongst the all-encompassing  focus. Fishing like this is pure escapism.

Sustaining high levels of concentration over long periods of time is tiring. A concept the wife finds laughable when explaining fatigue after fishing.
I've heard it said that those who excel at something have a habit of making it look easy, and that this can be brought about by preparing and planning more thoroughly than the next man. I'm immediately dissociating myself from any claim of excellence here but believe that when it comes to angling success there is another key ingredient - experience.

Experience has nothing to do with preparation and little to do with practice. Gaining angling experience takes time and is hard earned. It can be taught to some extent but there really is no replacement for experience of the  trial and error type. There's no easy shortcut. Time on the bank on it's own is not sufficient to guarantee experience. Imagination to try new things and the persistence required to give any new approach a chance is also required.
Angling experience manifests itself as watercraft or reading the water. Knowing where and how to fish under  the  conditions in front of you. Like it or not the feeling you get about fishing a certain spot or in a particular way when surveying a water is no more than the assimilation of all that's gone before. If I were to put you in front of a spate salmon river with a selection of rods, lines, leaders and flies would you know which combination to choose and where best to fish in order to maximise your chances of catching? (Me neither! As I so clearly demonstrated last month). But if you'd been raised on that river the odds would be different. That's experience. Not planning or practice.
If you fish without watercraft, without reading the water or without drawing on what has gone before then you're missing the point. Having said all this the peg next to the car park will always be well-worn.

Once again, to fishing:

In light of recent trips to this fishery I had a plan in mind for the day. Plan A.

Plan A was to nail 66+lb of carp down the edge by eleven a.m. using two float rods with paste then move swiftly on to other things.

When was the last time a fishing session went exactly to plan?

It soon became clear that after the preceding cold night there were no carp in the edge first thing. My blobs of paste over pellet sat undisturbed in the edge.

I switched over to a pole and maggot and caught seven gonks on the trot within about twenty minutes. I set myself a target of ten gudgeon. They were of average size and I figured no one would argue that ten weighed less than than the 5oz target for the species. After the seventh gudge I hooked a small carp which took my hook length. It then took me about thirty minutes and no end of roach to arrive at my tenth gudgeon.

My tenth gudgeon and a point!

After this I quickly moved pools to have a go for brown goldfish but struggled, catching only roach and rudd on a small pellet on a band.

I gave it an hour on the second pool then returned to my margin swim on the first pool to see if the carp had turned up yet. Not so.

My finest hour on the goldfish pool yielded a small koi carp:

I swapped pools twice more until the carp started patrolling the edge at three o'clock in the afternoon.

I then caught on both float rods down the edge after the carp moved in. Six carp in total. They weighed 8lb 4oz, 6lb 14oz, 8lb 5oz, 4lb 1oz, 10lb, 12 oz and 9lb 5oz. Approximately 46lb worth.

I lost a few more and spooked no end when they brushed against the line.

I fished until last light but couldn't get enough carp on the bank to make the point.

Here's the scores in the challenge after today. Pete booked his tench point at Ryton the other night:


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