The track from main road to drain bank has always seemed interminable. The slow journey along it being livened up by the sight of a barn owl crossing my path at speed, possibly disturbed by the approach of my car, and a couple of hares bounding away across the open fields.
In many ways the drain looked like it had when I first fished it almost thirty years ago, but there were subtle differences. Cattle are no longer grazed on the banks, the authorities lack the funds to carry out grass and weed cutting like they used to. Nature is encroaching. Mouths of ditches that join the main drain which once were clear enough to present baits in are now all but closed over by reeds. Much of the bank is also so overgrown with stands of reed and reedmace that swims have disappeared in places. Finding somewhere where the water was accessible to net fish was quite a problem any distance from the car park. But I managed to after a walk.
With the baits out it was time for a cup of flask tea. Reed buntings could be heard, unsurprisingly, in the reed beds, and as dawn came slowly along their calls were joined by the song of a robin in the willows behind me. The pink-footed geese have been coming back for the winter for a week or so now and throughout the morning odd straggly skeins of them flew in to the mere from the marshes. Around late morning there was a passage of swallows heading south. With leaves blowing from the trees autumn felt well on the way.
|Fisherman, he wear daft hat!|
It didn't take long before the home-made bottom end slider started to bob on the lamprey rod and slowly head upstream. That was definitely a run. When I connected the fish came easily. It wasn't exactly large. If it had another good meal it might have made three pounds. My first pike by design for some time, nonetheless. It certainly wasn't worth setting the camera up for a self-take! I made do with a close up of its eye.
I'd set my departure time for noon, so that was when I started to pack everything away. Just as well really, because the flask was now empty and the barm cakes long since eaten.
In fact this session has almost got me enthused enough to do it again soon. I might just sort the drain gear out and grab a few morning sessions before winter's icy grip takes hold. I really do hope it doesn't take hold like last winter, though. One week of ice and snow is more than enough!
After being delayed in my return for lunch by the effervescent Mr. Burton - who did his best to catch one for the camera - I eventually made it home before hunger made me weak.
Unless a blank order turns up early next week I'll have a couple of days free for fishing before having to sort my stuff out for the PAC Convention at Kettering. Looking back I think I first had a stand at the then PAC Conference (at Loughborough) back in 1991 to launch D.L. Specialist Tackle. No wonder I feel old! See you there.