Cold, still, and beginning to make a nuisance of itself to most of the anglers I know.
This morning I was late to work as I was inexplicably drawn to the grand tree-lined driveway up to Coombe Abbey. The avenue of mature trees along the quarter mile straight to the twelfth century Abbey were totally white from the frozen fog which has been depositing tiny ice particles onto everything around here. Totally spectacular and well worth the diversion. It made me want to remain outdoors in the countryside all day.
Warwickshire's cold blue stillness is in total contrast to the severe domestic turbulence which has immersed me recently. Suffice to say I've had bigger fish to fry of late and have done nothing more than strap myself in for the ride. The dust is now settling and I find myself in a new reality in which despite the season, green shoots are appearing almost everywhere I turn.
I've still been fishing, but it's been the angling equivalent of a comfy chair rather than an edgy Swedish designed aspiration. A day catching carp on the tip, after bream on the Avon and more recently turning to the winter stalwart the chub on the pluff. My drive to fish out of my comfort zone towards this years challenge has been extinguished.
Twice in the last two weeks I've had to call it a day when the line has frozen in the rings preventing me from winding in.
In this cold weather I've really cut back on the amount of bait I'm putting out when fishing the upper Avon. I'm still using liquidised bread in my cage feeder but am mixing garlic granules and grated blue cheese into it in an attempt to give a strong downstream scent without it being too foody. Results are very promising.
I've also discovered the Albright knot which I now use to join my braided mainline to a three foot length of 10lb mono when feeder fishing. I'd had trouble previously with my hooklength wrapping round the braided mainline on the cast, rendering the hook bound-up and useless. The short length of stout mono upon which the feeder runs has eradicated this problem whilst still offering the sensitivity and flow cutting properties of the braid mainline when fishing a quiver tip.
Last Saturday a low double-figure number of bloggers amassed in Coventry for a get together. Unsurprisingly most of us hadn't properly met before apart from on here. The conversation just seemed to roll and roll into the night. Highly entertaining. Not least because Jeff's almost nano-celebrity status meant he had so many pints bought for him he actually stopped talking towards the end. Something I've never witnessed before. Jeff's always the last man talking.
We discussed next years 'Percentage of Record Weight Challenge' with some vigour with the outcome being that everything below a dace will be be excluded from our targets due to the difficulty in obtaining an accurate weight. Other than that, and apart from brown goldfish, the other species made the cut.
Amusingly there was an overwhelming enthusiasm for a bonus point (or rather bonus 50%), the details of which which we can only disclose at a later date.
For completeness then, here are the scores on the 2010 doors tonight.
I've still not caught a (bloody) ruffe!