With a heavy heart I headed for the garage to pick up my car. I had that feeling that reminded me of being summoned for a reprimand at school, knowing punishment was coming but not what form it would take. I entered the office and asked if the car was sorted. It was. I got my wallet out. "Twenty three pounds fifty, please." Was I dreaming? The plastic was put away and I fumbled through the notes. "I'll see if I've got the cash." "Twenty quid for cash." "I've got the cash!" I drove home with a spring in my step (if that's possible), a plan already hatching.
A perfect autumnal day wouldn't be completely wasted. It had started chilly then warmed, but with a suggestion of coolness, as the sun rose higher in the windless sky. A curry was thrown in the microwave and the tackle sorted out. I'd respooled with fresh 30lb Power Pro over the weekend because the level was getting low on the spools. More leads had been moulded and a few were put in the lead bag. The PVA tub had been topped up. I was ready to rock.
The drive across the flatlands was done with the low sun behind me, its warm rays giving the trees an even more golden hue. Fields were ploughed and harrowed, in some next year's crops were already sprouting. It's the ever changing nature of the British countryside and it's weather that's so special. We moan about the rain, or the sun, or the cold, but that's what makes the glorious days even more memorable. I'd been reading about Chris and Sue Harris decamping to Belize to live their dream on a Caribbean beach and wondered why anyone would want to move there when they'd lived in rural Norfolk. Nowt so queer as folk. Especially folk who like making money.
A big old moon was low on the horizon as I made my way to the bend. Passing the swim I ended the session in last time out I noted that it was miles away from the feature I thought I'd been fishing to! That's the trouble with moving after dark on stretches you don't know well. This was about half way to my intended swim, I'd just make it in time to rig up fresh baits and cast out before dark. With the heat gone from the now set sun the bunny suit was most welcome.
The river was up a midge's, and slightly tea-stained. Two big bags of pellets were used and the baits would be left for at least an hour before recasting. Right on cue the upstream rod commenced nodding. A good scrap ensued and an seven and a half pounder was returned. While I was rebaiting the single crab Pellet-O I heard a couple of clicks from the downstream Baitrunner. Looking round I saw the rod tip nodding. Two more clicks and I picked the rod up to lean into the fish. Except I leant into nothing. No fish. No rig. Cut off straight away. I knew there was something snaggy in that part of the swim but thought I had cast away from it. The upstream rod was cast out and I retackled.
Another hour passed. The moon had shrunk as it rose higher and it was beginning to shine through the trees lighting up patches of leaves as it did so. I was just thinking that the mist on the water would put paid to any more action when the upstream rod pulled down and the rod butt shifted on the sand. Another lively fight from a slightly smaller barbel. While rebaiting I noticed the hook had opened slightly. I swapped the rig for on that would take a five pellet snake.
There was an ever so light breeze swirling the mist which was growing thicker and lowering my confidence. The moon was high above the trees now and casting stark shadows. Then the upstream rod bounced again. This third fish was smaller still, not by much and still able to give a good account of itself in the deep pool.
The downstream rod was only indicating chub bites. One time the boilie came back chomped in half. My toes started to cool down. At half past ten I packed the gear away and walked up the bank into the field, hung with a low mist glowing in the moonlight. In the second field there was no mist and the river there had none either. I don't know why but it was interesting for future visits. Back in the car it was obvious why the tootsies were cold. The thermometer was reading a mere 6.5. Time to put my fishing thermometer in the rucksack - so I can depress myself watching the temperature falling after dark!