Saturday 28 February 2015

Brightness in the gloom

A very grey afternoon on the Bure today, variable wind and regular pulses of mizzle. River down and steady, with a tinge of colour. Rods out by 2, having re-rigged for river fishing. Joey on the downstream rod and sardine on the other. Third short twitch back down with the sardine rod and as soon as the bait runner engaged  the float jagged upstream. Contact briefly with a fish moving fast across the river before the line fell slack. The flying hook and worked down the trace and with both trebles in the tail root not surprisingly the pike hadn't been firmly hooked. Time for a cup of tea.

Away on the sardine again, and this lovely little feller graced the net, lightly hooked and soon back in the river. This fish, the day glo orange polyballs and a lighter band of clay along the ridge of the newly ploughed field the only things to lift the stygian gloom.


Thursday 19 February 2015

Water mint, windburn and over priced coffee

The Essex Scribbler decreed a civilised start time of 08.30 in a sheltered arm of an undisclosed stillwater for the first social session of 2015. He reasoned that the shelter would enable the February sun to warm our winter  chilled bones, the pike would be heading to shallower water and that it was only a hundred yards from the car. Tea and mardle were to be the order of the day. Don't often take a stove, unless leapfrogging strictly denied. Butane over Kelly Kettle every time for me.

Rods out and settle down for  the serious business of drinking tea and talking a lot of squit interspersed with the Scribbler ruthlessly tracking down a sale to continue his mid-life enlightenment. No salary, commission only . Braver than me. The Scribbler also has an anti-obsessive need to have his rods at cocky angles, rather  like  my overwhelming urge to park and also wear my hat at said cocky angles. Don't even start on folded reel handles...

The squit: Brendan Roger's vanity and diminutive stature. The perfect night out with Morrissey, Mark. E. Smith, Roy Keane and Graeme Souness. The complete lack of a culture of general knowledge in anyone under 40. Labour party apparatchiks, Teflon Tony, abolishing private education and health care. Greece and the impossibility of repayment of such huge debt, the simplicity of Texas rigs for wrasse, and the feeding habits of mullet. ad nauseum.

A very beautiful spot, and spring emerging as winter's remnants are cast off. Along with clouds of irritating fluff from the reed mace. That heady smell of crushed water mint stayed with us all day. Didn't expect to see a red double decker travelling over Orange Flat Bridge. Treated to a regular tour of the arm by an egret, a less welcome cormorant, a kingfisher and grebes as well as a host of other wildfowl only a short distance from the roar of traffic to and from the coastal hub container ports.

Unfortunately we  were untroubled by the fish, only two out of clips to me (one with a laceration to the bait) and nowt for Scribbler. I am renowned for my frugality with bait but have never fished all day with one sardine and one joey before....

I left with arm fulls of books and plans for a perching social ringing in my ears and that glorious wind burnt feeling on my face you only get after a long day on or by water. Dropped in at the Famous Farm for a small cup of nice but hideously overpriced of coffee amongst the half-term yummy mummies.

Great day, thanks Scribbler. Now, what first: Keano, Annapurna, Baker's Essex peregrines or Wyatt's Shining Levels?

Friday 13 February 2015

When the needle goes round twice.

As I negotiated the broken stile on to the flood plain 3 buzzards spiralled over the copse. The river looked in fine fettle for my first foray above the Mill this year. Settled in just below the feeder. Sardine over to the long reed run and one down the near side. Green woodpecker yaffling and egret on the bend.

When the wind  blows up the long straight rollers build up and I was not quite sure if the float dipping and holding under was a take or the effect of the wind but the bait runner began to give line. Engaged the drive and just slipped of the anti reverse in time as the fish bored up the stretch. Not explosive but inexorable. High hand hold required on the 12 footer and that lovely line noise in the wind. In the net, and struggle to get on to the mat. Huge flank, clusters of leeches. Hooks in the scissors and quickly out.

On the Waymasters and the needle clearly twice round again..24.06, take off a generous 2 lb for the wet net. What a corking great fish from a small river. Don't know what they eat up this far.

Clearly not indigenous to the Bure..what are blueys? Pike like them, quite solid and very oily

Had a further take, resulting in a very spritely jack, thought it was a brownie at first as it dashed about and pulled out of another large fish as I wound down on the last rod out. Good days work on a very cold and mostly dark and dank day. A very white barn owl hunting down down the marginal growth under the lee of the floodbank lighting up the gloom and many otter fòotprints and tarry black spraints down the margins. Car lights lighting up the road on at 4pm, a reminder that the snowdrops, crocus and daffodils don't necessarily mean spring is hear yet..

Sunday 8 February 2015

Clean sheet

Saturday and a free afternoon. Have had some cheese paste slowly festering in the fridge. Need to suss out some spots to drop the Essex Scribbler on for a five so off to the syndicate stretch. Chucked in a couple of deads as well.

Plan of attack would be to dropper liquidised bread laced with garlic salt in a few swims and repeat down to the stile and back up with deads.

First spot fishable given the flow is quite tricky as in the picture, need to cast well past the first trailing fronds and bring back into the denser cover at the foot of the swim, without the line getting hung up in the fronds.  This particular batch of cheese paste, as well as being so hummy was also robust enough to withstand being dragged back across the top into place.

3rd put in, and a clear double pull, not deserving of the feeble response from me. Back in and a whack round on the drop again missed. Given the likelihood of a five being quite high somewhat jarred off.

Next swim looks very similar but a longer, steadier glide and I had droppered the bread down the run.  Probably better trotted , certainly today not a fruitful work though on the lead. Fished a couple more spots before deciding to switch to pike.

Halved a bluey (what species are they?) and in second swim below a bush feature twitched one of the bluey halves with an immediate stuttering  response. What ever was playing with it was saved by the same branch the bait and trace must have been laying in, no teeth marks but more encouragingly not shredded by one of the signals that have invaded the stretch. Dropped the bluey tail back in and a much more staccatto pinging on the bait made me think that Ronnie or Reggie had got there first.
Fortunately not, though the little pike hanging on was hardly likely to trouble the scorer. Game little blighter though.

Saw a couple of otter spraints, and one slide but no signal claws. Deer prints too.