A day and a half of early spring sunshine and singing birds was enough to shake off my fishing lethargy. After an early lunch I was loading the roach gear in the car and enthusiastically setting off in search of maggots. No need for umbrellas, waterproofs or fleeces under bunnysuits. I'd soon be working up a sweat walking to my swim. With only two cars in the car park there was no need to scout the lake for a swim, there'd be plenty of room, so on with the rucksack and quiver, chair under on arm bait bucket in the free hand and away I go. Then I saw the lake...
There'd been another overnight frost but the sun had burned that off. The ice covering two thirds or more of the lake took me by surprise. The far side was clearest and no body fishing the swim I had hoped to fish. Only one problem. When I got round to that swim it was barely fishable. I had to fish some way to its right. Still, there was a nice level spot close to the water which would suffice. I'd been meaning to fish it at some point, so this was a good time to try it.
Rods baited in the usual fashion and cast out. Two to the markers on the line and one to the horizon. Well, to the ice edge at any rate! Flask out and settle down to flick through the Fox catalogue I'd picked up with the maggots. Half an hour went by with a few casts of the cage feeders when the ice sheet started to move. There was a light wind rippling the lake's surface and blowing in to my face from a slight angle. The ice was coming my way. Sure enough, with the whole of the clear water to blow into the ice blew straight into my swim. It looked like cat ice that I'd be able to fish through. But it wasn't. I had two options. Pack up and move round to the opposite bank - which now had a lot of free water in front of it, or take a chance by moving a few yards to my left and hope that if the rest of the ice broke up it would drift past me. I took the chance.
One good thing about the rod pod is that I was able to pick it up, rods and all, and cart the lot to my new swim. A rather awkward spot where I was high above the water. having had to fish like that on the Rat Pit I'd modified my Fox Horizon pod with Korum banksticks, which handily fit the pod as if they were designed for it. With short sticks at the front and longer ones at the back (fully extended) I was able to get the rod tips fairly close to the water. It might not look 'pukka' but it's effective.
Despite the enforced move I was not disheartened. With it being so bright I wasn't expecting any action until late on, even though there was some colour in the water. I was entertained by a thrush singing its head off in a tree behind me. I think it was a single bird doing a ventriloquist act rather than multiple birds. It was hard to pin down exactly which tree it was singing from.
As the afternoon wore on and the flask emptied it began to grow cooler. The fleece was required but it still didn't feel bitterly cold. For some reason I dug out the thermometer and saw the air temperature was 5.7°c. Like a fool I threw the sensor in the lake and discovered the water was a couple of degrees colder. That was when my confidence started to ebb.
Even so it was pleasant out be out under a bright clear sky after five. Although I had thought to fish until it was dark enough to need the head torch I began a gradual clearing up at six fifteen. No fish had topped as the light faded, although a few insects had hatched. By the time I got back to the car it was near enough dark. I felt like the weather had tricked me into thinking fish would be feeding with abandon. There might be hints of spring in the air, but it certainly hasn't arrived yet. Tentative plans to do it all again tomorrow have been shelved. I suppose I could go piking, but that's a morning thing which would mean getting up early, and I don't fancy that!