Sunday, May 26, 2013

An eel

It always comes as a surprise how my urge to go and sit by water increases when the sun shines - even though it shouldn't.

Friday evening saw me back at Another Lake, in the same swim as the day before. The wind was still coming out the north west, but not quite so strongly. I'd had a take in that swim so it seemed like as good a place as any.

My approach was slightly different in that the worm rod fished a Dyson rig with a different hook link material after I'd found the worms had managed to tie the rig in a knot last time. The tight line to slack baitrunner set-up had also been switched to open bale arms and drop-offs. I still can't get my head round the way eels will swallow great big baits and set off on steaming, unmissable, runs when they take pike baits, but when you fish for the deliberately they metamorphose into the finickiest of feeders.

Toward moonrise at dusk the wind died down and some light cloud cover materialised keeping the air temperature up. I was till wearing the bunny suit though. Then, without warning one of the bobbins dropped off! Some line was taken but stopped before I managed a strike. The remains of the rudd head were removed from the hook and a tail section attached and cast out. Ten minutes later the same bobbin jiggled.

This time I pulled the line from the clip and felt the line. Nothing. Then it began to trickle from the spool. My strike was met with dubious resistance. I wasn't sure if it were fish or weed. It turned out to be small eel. It was a start.  I called it a day.

The nice thing about eel fishing is that it can be done after close of play at the test match. So that was what i did on Saturday. Washed the dishes and set out.

The wind that had been strong for days had all but died away and the lake was almost mirror calm. As I walked the bank I got distracted by a pod of carp on the shallows. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of fish they are, anglers always get distracted when there are some to be seen. No angler I know can walk across a bridge over a river without stopping to peer into the water!

Although I have no great interest in catching carp I rummaged in the meagre contents of the tackle box I use for eeling to see if I could tie up a suitable hook link to use to cast a worm to these fish. What a short briaded hooklink with two grains of plastic corn on the hair was doing in the box I can't remember. I cut off eel rig and tied on the corn rig. I could have done with a couple of handsful ofmixed seed to put the corn on top of, but I had to make do without.

A couple of carp had cruised past some marginal bistort, so I dropped the rig there. After half an hour I gave up. Two fish had swum over the bait at speed. Cruising too fast to be feeding. I recast closer to the pod of fish expecting them to spook. They didn't. But they did swim over and ignore the bait for another thirty minutes. By then it was time to get the eel baits out.

The Dyson rig was discarded and a my long tail leger used on the worm rod, the other fished the obligatory rudd head. This time the bite indication was back to that which I settled on last season. Light bobbins on a drop with the baitrunners set really slack - just in case. I sat back and watched the bird life.

There is a family of mallards on the lake. The mother and seven clockwork ducklings. This time there I counted eight fluffy balls scuttling around. Then the mother started pecking one, which scampered off pursued by the others. It was then I noticed that it was noticeably smaller than the others. I guess one that has become detached from another brood, or been abandoned. Later, as the sun was setting, I counted seven again.

As the light faded a heron loped over the lake towards the duck family which was opposite me now. On seeing the heron come close the adult began a loud quacking and flew at the heron, forcing it to turn tail squawking. While ducklings can feed themselves quite easily, unlike young starlings which seem to be particularly dim, they are small and defenceless while still downy. They need the safety of numbers and a protective parent. That lone duckling won't have much chance unless it finds some protection. But that's life in the wild. The small fry that were dimpling will be just as susceptible to predation from the eels I was hoping to encounter. Hope was all I had; apart from three single bleeps, one to the worm rod and two to the deadbait, all of which could have been either line or bat bites

While it had been warm walking back to the car on Friday, it was cooler on Saturday. The cloud cover, or lack of it, making the difference between single or double figure temperatures.

I'd told myself I'd leave the eels alone until July this year, but there's not much else worth fishing for locally at this time of year when I can't face trips away, and they offer the challenge of the unknown more than most species. Just about any water in the land which has eels in it could have a monster lurking in the depths, or the shallows!