|Why was I parked at Jeff's Lake again - read on...|
I had already decided that I would fish a small pond on the corner of the complex I had not fished before. Said to be heavily stocked with a good variety of fish and to be carp-free I thought this would be a good place to have a go at catching myself a decent sized perch. With a purpose in mind I tackled up a couple of my rods and got everything ready to load the van for an early start.
Alarm went off at 05:00 AM. All the, now usual, routine followed including the ritual filling of the flask. A few more clothes than normal, including my new (Really cheap) Aldi Boots, were either worn or piled into the van. I am completely sold on the idea of using the van now. I can throw a lot of stuff in the back just in case. As you will read later, it paid off on Sunday.
I left rather later than usual but still managed to get to the the fishery just before the gate opened. There was a queue. Hmmm... looks like I was not the only one who fancied a spot of fishing on this cold November morning. I paid my day ticket and made my way to the car park nearest the lake. There were a couple of bivvies pitched, on the mound that retains Major's lake, and a few vehicles parked up that were covered in frost. Either these guys are very keen or they have had a row with the missus...
|My chosen swim - I had the pond to myself|
|Frost on the ground looking over the the other 'leg' of the pond|
I tried changing my float and dotting it down with differing shot patterns - Nothing, not a sign of anything. At this point I gave up on Sargent P. and marched off back to the van to pick up a feeder rod. I made a couple of casts, All I had with me was some rather damp groundbait I had used in my 30mm ball maker for few balls to chuck in, to pre-bait the swim first thing this morning. This was not doing anything at all, and I decided to go back to the float. I was retrieving the feeder when all of a sudden it was taken by something a bit bigger than a gudgeon. The thing was nodding and thrashing about. after what seemed like ages (probably a few minutes) it calmed down and started to give up some line. I got it all the way down the pond to about six foot out. Although it had broke water at the other end of the lake, while fighting, I could not see what it was. Well, I am now a pike fisherman! I know everybody say "It was enormous" but to me it was! Just as I was contemplating what to do next (I do have forceps and stainless steel wire gloves). The pike broke or cut (?) the hook length and it was gone...
I decided to give float fishing another go. After a few casts the tip started to twitch I looked at the float as it was sitting on the lake with the surface tension of the water seamlessly merging the tip of the float. I realised the tip was quivering because my hands were shaking, along with the rest of me. I must have been sitting there, eyes transfixed on the float, letting the cold get to me. I wound the float in, cast again and the float disappeared. My was that an instant take? No the tip of the float has parted from the body... Oh bother! (well something like that anyway)
|By 11:30 AM the sun was shining on the other end of the pond - is was not shining on me!|
My mate Ian had said he would meet me here. He is not one of life's early risers but by this time I was beginning to think he had made the wise choice and stayed in bed. Time to move elsewhere. The sun had started to shine and that meant it would be shining on my favourite peg. Guess where else the sun had been shining? On the way to the pond the grass path was a bit 'crunchy' now, the only place I could have done without warming up, was a muddy track that I had negotiated to get back to the van. My best impression of Billy Elliot still did not prevent me from getting covered in mud.
Just as I was standing at the back of my van filling it with the gear and my off-road sack barrow, Ian arrived. We decided to make our way back over to Jeff's Lake. As suspected the lake was bathed in sunshine. My usual choice of peg was taken (Cheek!) so we set up on the near side of the lake and got to it. By now it was midday and although the ambient temperature was still low, the sun made it a whole lot better.
As we arrived on Jeff's, there was a shout of "Ralphy!" from the other side of the lake, I hate that name but gritted may teeth I smiled and said hello. It was Dave and Alan, along with Sid (he's a Jack Russell) running up and down. I went over and had a chat while Ian was 'winterising' and getting set up. They too had caught a big pike and, unlike me, landed it. The bailiff re-homed it to Major's Lake, where it could join its mates... Que the Jaws theme.
|A winterised Ian on his peg in a corner of the lake|
We fished and chatted until it was dark before heading off home. Although I was cold and covered in mud, I had a real good day. I learnt a lot and experienced my first pike. Okay the pike won but at least I now know what one on the hook feels like. Now, the question is will I get out again before the 12th December when I am fishing in a fun match with the guys from the Maggot Drowning forum. Let's hope the weather is kind to us.