Friday, 16 September 2011

When the Wind Blows

Ok hands up all you who thought I was dead! Yes, it's been a while since I updated the blog but as my regular reader knows, I often leave it a while during the summer. I don't really fish much during August as Mrs Edwards is a teacher and she gets that month off - I much prefer spending time with her than spending time with the likes of you smelly fishermen. This year I had a special project which kept me off the bank. My eldest daughter Sarah was married at the end of August and preparing for the wedding took up much of my time. After that, Mrs Edwards and I needed a break so I whisked her off to Madrid for a holiday.

Back in blighty I looked forward to a couple more trips to the syndicate water before the pike season begins. I made all the usual preparations and loaded the car up for a Monday morning start but there was a little fly in the ointment which held me back for a day - hurricane Katia, or what was left of it. The lake is well south of the eye of the storm but gusts of up to fifty miles an hour were forecast and so I waited until the worst of it was over. The problem with this lake is that the main features are well out of casting range and so a boat is needed to bait up and to tow baited rigs out. We aren't allowed to use proper boats, just inflatables and an inflatable in a 50mph gust doesn't sound like my idea of fun.

I arrived at the lake late on tuesday morning and I was glad I had delayed. There were trees and branches down everywhere and in one place the access path had been completely blocked by a fallen tree. I chose a swim on the opposite side of the lake to where I usually fish. This meant that it would be a little further to tow my baits out but at least the still strong wind wouldn't be blowing into my face. I soon had everything set up and went out in the little boat to bait up. It was a little scary still but I wasn't intending to put out much bait, just a couple of pounds of pellets and around a quarter of a kilo of boilies. The stock density in this lake is very very low and I'm always worried that baiting too heavily will feed the fish up before they get to my hookbait.

Some time later I towed out the baited hooks. I was only fishing two rods - quite enough in difficult conditions and both were baited with boilies. Bait out, I got the kettle on and cooked a nice meal before settling down to listen to the radio, or what I could hear of it above the roaring of the gale in the trees about me. It soon gets dark at this time of year and tired out after all the business of setting up, I drifted off to sleep.

Shortly after midnight I was awoken by the alarm on the right hand rod and looking out I could see that the bobbin had dropped to the floor. Shoes on, I stepped out grabbed the rod and lifted but there was nothing there. It takes a few minutes to reel in 200yds of braid and when I got it all in I could see that this had indeed been a run. I was fishing helicopter style and the fish had pulled the bead up the line as it had taken the bait. This wasn't the first time I'd had an aborted run at this lake and it bothered me. I can't afford to have fish shed the hook, runs are too hard to come by here.

I retied the rig, making it much shorter and set off into the darkness with it in the little boat. The wind hadn't dropped very much and the lack of daylight only made the experience in the little boat even worse than it had been during the day but the GPS on the sounder proved invaluable and I found my marker ok. The lead went in with a plop and I hurried back to shore as quickly as I could before setting the bobbin and crawling back into the sleeping bag. I was soon asleep again and awoke just as dawn was breaking, thankful that the wind had finally abated. I lay there for a little while considering whether to switch on the radio again when for the second time, the right hand bobbin fell to the floor.

I jumped up, grabbed the rod and lifted - this time there was a solid resistance. The fish felt heavy and ponderous but occasionally it lunged, taking line against a generous clutch and my mind turned over and over, is it just another tench or is this the fish I've been after? Slowly it came and soon it began to kite round to the right - a typical bream move. The fish was in open water and I was confident that it wouldn't snag me but was the hookhold a good one? It seemed hours before I got the fish close enough to get a look at it but sure enough when I did, it was a great bronze back that cut the surface. My knees began to knock and I held my breath as I heaved the enormous bream closer and closer to the net.

All at once the fish's head was against the spreader block and I lifted- it was mine. I pulled the net in and hoisted the great fish up onto the mat. What a creature, it was absolutely huge! I found that I needn't have worried about the hookhold which was a good one firmly in the bottom lip and with the hook removed I transferred the bream to the weigh sling for the moment of truth.

17lbs exactly!


Travelling Man said...

Now that is an excellent catch and earned through hard work and dedication - well done


Paddy Pike said...

Its good to see you back Eric, And it doese seem a while since your last post,
I am looking forward to seeing some of those monster Pike that you catch in the cooler months, Great catch by the way,

Keith Dutton said...

Well done Eric, reading your earlier blog's you've earned it, cracking fish.

Keith Dutton said...

Well done Eric, you've work hard for that one, cracking fish.