Sunday, 10 March 2019

Really... would have been better to stay at home.

It all looks a bit bleak at this time of year
I never thought I would be saying this but in this case, it may well be true. To be, just sitting on the bank, watching the world go by is fun enough. Catching fish is a bonus. Yes, it is nicer when the sun is out, but the cold and wet has not bothered me in the past, at least not like it did on Friday.

Having got seriously delayed getting out last week, I was determined to make an early start, this time. The weather forecast was showing dry morning with light rain showers moving in later. Although the temperatures were in single figures, I thought I would be okay. I try and avoid setting up in the rain, but once I am set up and wrapped up I am usually perfectly happy to keep going in the rain.

I managed to get out and be on the road before 06:00. Sue's trusty 'recycled fridge' (Volvo) was the chosen mode of transport as my van was half full of stuff to be shipped down to our storage 'facility' in advance of our impending house move, that seems to be taking an age, but that is another story!

Okay, it does mean that I can travel faster on the arterial roads as there are no extra speed restrictions placed on the car, as there are on big vans, but I must remember that my 'intimidation' power is much reduced when it comes to asserting ones self into the traffic. It is also not as quick off the mark as the van, especially at speed. That said, I had plenty of time, and a leisurely drive got me to the fishery in just under an hour.

There was a bit of a queue at the gate, but this soon dissipated as it opened and I found myself alone in the office, buying a ticket. I assume all the others were already booked in to the specimen lakes. I bought a two-rod ticket and headed off to Maze Lake.

The lake has had a lot of work carried out on it over the past year, with some major alterations to the layout. It was also netted over the winter and restocked, recently, with a thousand F1s. The lake has not fished well for me, of late, but with all those new fish, surely I should have had a more successful day, in terms of numbers of fish caught.

The flat-calm water did not stay like that for long, once the wind and rain got up
The guys have been busy this winter on the grounds. The surrounding vegetation has been trimmed back to reveal a stark looking landscape that is a bit of a shock at first sight. It amazes me just how different this will look in a couple of months time when mother nature attempts to reclaim the lake as her own.  

My plan for later was to try feeder fishing, one rod at distance and one close in. Before that I wanted to try my luck with my trusty tele-pole and see what was hanging around the severely cropped marginal reeds. To my surprise, I was not getting a sign of anything there big or small, not even a touch.

After a couple of hours I was starting to feel the cold. I have fished in much colder conditions in the past, but this time I was really suffering. I had warm clothes on, more than usual, but I was still starting to feel uncomfortable. I added an extra layer in the form of a hoodie, over my thermal T-shirt, jumper and under my coat. I was wearing gloves and thermal socks inside my boots, yet still I was not very warm. I decided I was being a bit soft and carried on.

I was fed up with the lack of action on the tele-pole and put out a second feeder. at least this way, with the bait-runner drags at a minimum, I could put my gloved hands inside my pockets. Just as I was thinking this was going to be a blank day, the distance feeder's reel started to click and then scream as it paid-out line. A fish!

The only fish to make it to the bank
I wound into my quarry to realise, by the lack of fighting resistance, that I had not found one of the new F1s, but a decent sized bream (at least for me) that just slid into the net and I landed with no problem. Encouraged by my success I reloaded the feeder with my trusty Two Dog groundbait, secured another punch of bacon grill on the hair and recast to the same spot. Meanwhile, the other rod was doing nothing so I recast a new feeder full of the groundbait and sat back and watched the lack of action. I had a couple of takes on the distance feeder over the next couple of hours but lost both of them at the net. One a fairly decent common and another bream, this one a bit more feisty than its previous cousin.

By now I was really feeling disgruntled and cold. I had also had a call about the house sale and had to spend some time trying to sort that out. By now the wind was getting up and it took my line into the branch of a tree as it passed the end of the island. that resulted in the feeder being donated to the lake and a huge tangle of line making friends with the reel. At this point  I decided to ditch the closer of the two feeders and try again with the tele-pole in a new position.

Here, I was more successful in as much as I managed to hook a few more decent sized fish, including a ghost carp that must have gone a few pounds. I fought it for what seemed to be an eternity on the light gear, only to lose it at the net to a chorus of not so tuneful, but heart-felt expletives. Although I hook a few more fish, I landed nothing more. I was surprised that I did not catch any small fish at all, not even a small roach on the tele-pole.

By now the rain was becoming more persistent and I was not enjoying myself at all. At around 15:00 I decided that enough was enough and I started to pack up. I suddenly realised that I had not been out fishing in the cold, like this, since I have lost weight. I have lost a huge amount of weight since this time last year, so much so that I had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes, including my fishing gear! I am now convinced that the several layers of fat I have lost from around my waist (six inches of it) must have been insulating me from the cold. The strange thing is, I seem to have lost it from all over, including my head! I put my favourite fishing hat on the other day, only to find it slipped over my eyes!

I was back home by 17:30 and it took me all day yesterday to warm up again. No more sitting around stillwaters for me in the colder months, in future I will restrict my fishing on cooler, sun-less, days to roving the rivers and canals.