Friday, March 29, 2013

Dry nets again

Despite the continuing wintry spell if you can get out of the wind when the sun shines  you could believe spring is here. Not that there are many green shoots to make it look like spring. Still, the days are lengthening noticeably now and there's time to get a decent length session in after lunch. With that period likely to see the water at its warmest while the overnight frosts persist I planned to resume my roach fishing this week with the purchase of a opint of maggots.

There was one pole angler on the lake when I arrived, sensibly fishing with the wind off his back and the sun in his face. It felt positively balmy as I stood chatting to him. he hadn't had a bite in teh couple of hours he'd been there, but he'd put his fishfinder out (I guess a Smartcast) and reckoned there were fish in front of him, tight to the bottom and some big ones. Knowing fishfinders as I do I humoured him.

In my typical fashion I headed to the other end of the lake where the wind was blowing into me at a slight angle, and the sun was heading towards the horizon over my other shoulder. If I'd gone on the other bank I'd haev had the wind coming over my back at and angle and the warming rays of the sun in my face. D'oh! Not to worry I had a cosy swim to fish from.

It's hardly worth detailing my approach as it was almost identical to that which I've used for a number of sessions. I did make one change. To swap one of the cage feeders to a blockend. I'd also added some brown crumb to my hemp and crushed pellet feed. I have the feeling that while pellets are attractive, they might be filling. Especially the larger particles. Crumb might hold the fish longer. If they ever find the feed that is.

Although the wind was cutting it wasn't strong enough to blow the feeders off course during the cast, so accuracy was fairly easy to achieve when casting to the three far bank markers I'd picked out. There was one fly in the ointment, however. While the water was reasonably clear there was a tinge to it reminiscent of snow melt. My big mistake was throwing the thermometer in the lake. True enough it was warmer than the last time I fished the lake, a month a go. It had risen by a whole 0.3°C to a boiling 3.9°C! The air temperature was pretending to be over 8 - but that was in the sun, out of the wind. When the sun went behind clouds as dusk drew near the thermometer told the truth - 4.2°.

As far as fish go I have nothing to report. One alarm gave out a single weary bleep as the light began to fade, but my hopes had already faded completely. My intention had been to fish until dark, which is coming after seven now, but the bitter wind made me advance that to six o'clock. When the wind dropped and it felt warmer I decided to linger longer. Six thirty came and went before I began a slow pack up. At twenty to seven I wound the rods in.

Despite being a dismal failure on the fish catching front it was good to be out again. The willows are making the best effort at brightening the world up. Close to the leaves are curling out of the buds and from afar there's a gentle shading of green to their branches. Pretty much all the other leaves are still in hibernation though.

Grebes were a-courting. Well one pair was while another patrolled the lake together. A lonely fifth grebe kept me company by holding station in the wind some twenty yards out allowing me to inspect it's plumage through my binoculars. It's amazing how waterbirds can tuck their heads away as if in sleep while paddling to avoid being blown from their position by the wind. Also in evidence were two pairs of teal alternatively swimming and flying round the lake in a group. As the sun set two kestrel began calling to each other while oystercatcher arrived for the night.

The sky was bright and blue, but with fluffy white clouds (remember that annoying song?) making it quite photogenic. And the sunset was far more dramatic than I was able to make it appear with my camera. As I wasn't recasting as frequently as I do in warmer conditions and bites were non-existent I spent a few minutes taking self portraits to relieve the tedium and postpone the inevitable task of putting the dry nets away. I'll put another post about the process together to occupy my Bank Holiday weekend. I'm sure as hell not going out for a repeat of today's disaster!