A couple of days ago a friend, Dave, asked me to go fish a small pond with him. A pond that, as far as he knew, had never been fished before. The pond was in a walled estate, in which he works, and fishing in the pond had always been banned, even to estate workers. Whether the local kids had ever fished it on the quiet I do not know, but, as it was very clean, totally litter free, it was a possibility. Free fishing areas, legal or not, tend to accumulate signs when anglers have been there. It seems Dave had done something to greatly please the Lord of the Manor, and a day's fishing, with a friend, was to be his reward. I jumped at the chance to join him of course. Unfished water! Mystery!
On any lightly fished water there is usually little reason to do anything complex, and so I chose to float fish with bread and maggots. Size 14 hook to start. I have been using Kamasan X Strong B982's for such fishing, and as Kamasan say, these are a stronger version of the B980 specimen, which are themselves "made of carbon wire, heavily forged to strengthen the bend". The B982 is described as being identical, but made from an even stronger wire gauge. In sizes up to 10, I have had great confidence in these hooks, and as I made my first cast, I knew that they had never before failed me. The pond was not particularly pretty, and was set in a coniferous forest, but did look quite fishy, a fact confirmed by the sight of rudd rising, some of which were already being caught by Dave. Nothing moved for 30 minutes near my own float, but then it slanted away across the surface to the right, and as I picked the rod up I knew it was no rudd. After a spirited minute or so, during which the fish seemed to reach the odd clump of light weed, the float suddenly came flying back at me. I had lost the fish, which I was certain had been a very good tench. I initially thought that the line had snagged and broken, but I soon saw that I still had the hook. The B982 had straightened and was now a 90 degree bend rather than
|The Mystery of the Bent Hook.|
180, which surprised me, but a greater mystery was that it had also been twisted. The shank now had a 45 degree twist in it. I can readily understand how a hook can be rendered straight by a fish, but I cannot imagine how it might also twist the shank. Never seen this before with any hook type. I will be doing a few more tests on this hook, to see if it should have bent on a 6 pound line, under probably no more than 3 pounds of tension. But I have no idea at all why or how it also became twisted. But the pond had yet another trick to play on me though.
To my right I noticed some trails of tiny bubbles, interspersed with some large clumps of similarly small bubbles. These were not "mythical" bubbles, but had to be caused by fish, and I hoped, by tench. I moved
my gear a few yards along the bank. The bubbles continued to come up in patches all around my float, whilst damsel flies used the float as a staging post. It took me a while to hook the first fish, but they were indeed tench. But not the tench I had hoped for. I had been expecting fish of a similar calibre to that which I had
lost earlier. Poor deluded soul that I was. The first tench to take the bait was a fish of about two pounds, which shed the hook. Love-30. But the match then moved my way and over a couple of hours a dozen tench took the bait and were landed. They were all rather dark fish, with the eye being more brown than red. The largest of them was probably only about 12 ounces. The smallest, maybe eight inches long. I had hit on a large shoal of mini tench, all bubbling profusely. Game set and match, but did I win, or was it the pond which beat me?
|Tench Bubbles, a Float and a Damsel Fly.|
|A Poor Photo I Took of the Red Squirrel|
|Greys Are Far Easier to Photograph Successfully.|
I moved back to my original spot, and cast even nearer to the lilies, but as with Dave, all that then came to my bait were small rudd, in ever increasing numbers. The brighter and hotter the sun became, the more the rudd congregated around my bait, and the more annoying they became. The odd small perch broke the monotony, but the day itself had been very pleasing.
|A Dozing Badger.|
They enjoyed themselves so for over a minute before eventually disappearing into the vegetation. I think I had also seen one briefly the same morning, well before the sun came up, but was not certain of the I.D.. These two youngsters did not present a good photo opportunity, but I have added a photo I took last year of a badger I caught napping by the roadside. Only one photo, as the camera click woke and scared it before I could re-focus for a second shot. I have had a few interesting moments with badgers. When I had been married just a week, I took the wife through the Macclesfield forest, and there, in broad daylight, sun streaming down ,was a badger. The only one I had ever seen in daylight at the time. Twenty five years into my sentence now, and that remains the only badger she has seen. I will save another tale of a rather angry badger for another time.