Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Sunday Challenge, Part 2.

I have been back for a couple more of my Sunday, 45 minute challenges. One of them was  this morning, a Wednesday, because, due to the odd nature of the catholic church and its feast days, my wife "had" to attend today.   Not to worry, a ready threaded rod, a disgorger and a single slice of bread were added to the car, secretly, before we set out.
The last Sunday challenge had been a blank, didn't get my choice of swim, or rather my choice of hole in the weeds.  But it was nevertheless worth the trip, as a kingfisher soon made his presence known, by diving and catching what looked like a tiny rudd. Several species of dragonfly and damselfly darted and danced above the water surface, and a large brown dragonfly landed on a small protruding wooden post, not a yard from me.  Putting its oviposter into the water it appeared to lay an egg, or perhaps some eggs, before flying off again.  Not too much can be expected in what turns out to be no more than 30 minutes by the waterside, but this half hour certainly had its gems.
Today's  "Sunday Challenge" was more about the fishing. No one else on the pond, casting into the tiny open space in the weeds was made more difficult by the side wind. But with a pinch of flake on the hook, the float hit the spot, and almost immediately twitched and sailed slowly to the right.  A strike resulted in a two ounce rudd, wearing its full coat of red and gold, shimmering in the sunlight.  A second cast produced a similarly sized tench, which used all its strength and slipperyness to try and evade my grasp. They really are "as slippery as an eel", but at the same time very pleasant to touch.

 Another beautiful little creature.  But the best was yet to come, and the next three casts produced three very delicate bites, resulting in three small crucians, 6  - 8 inches in length, deep bodied little bundles of pure gold.   And they scrap so well on my J.W. Young travel barbel rod.   I have not used this rod for barbel yet, and it seems to be far more suitable for light float work.    Catching a barbel on it will be an experiment that will have to wait for the next river trip I think, although I have doubts as to how well it will deal with a large barbel, heading downstream at a rate of knots.
But I just love crucian carp,  fishing for them is rather like catching little teddy bears, they just seem such cuddly little fish.  They don't even need to be big: larger ones, especially from heavily fished waters often look to be old warriors, but the smaller specimens are invariably quite delightful.
So: five fish in about 30 minutes, half a dozen casts: the Sunday challenge has been very well met this Wednesday morning, and I return to pike up my wife, with an unexplained grin on my face.
A grin that remains, as I realise my Freudian mistyping of the word "pick" in the last sentence.

Sunday 5 August 2012

The Sunday Challenge

    I have never liked Sunday mornings. Well, not for the last five years at least.  Five years ago my wife was treated for cancer.  Christie's Hospital did a grand job and she now seems very healthy, with no visible signs save for the scar showing from whence the main tumour was extracted.    The subsequent chemotherapy is now long past, the hair regrown.     BUT....she now sees the need to thank God on a weekly basis for her recovery. I will continue to thank the medical staff.  But even as an atheist I cannot really deny her the Sunday morning trip to the Catholic church. Forty-five minutes the service lasts, from the moment I drop her off outside, to the moment I pick her up.  This process of course wrecks any chance of my fishing Sunday mornings, and so I have long been taking a 35 minute walk down by the river, once a week.
    But last week I decided to try and catch a fish during those 45 minutes.  A rod was prepared the night before, requiring only to have its sections joined.  A folding seat, a disgorger, scissors, spare hooks and a couple of slices of bread completed the equipment.  
    At the church, ground zero, deposit wife, whilst trying not to look to be in a hurry.    Drive to the nearest little pond, gear out of the car and sit down:  time 7 minutes, not bad.  Float hits the water on 9 minutes.  The usual 4 pound carp swims past.   On 20 minutes I miss my first bite, but five minutes later I have a 4 oz bream to hand.    A second one, slightly larger, follows  some 6 minutes later.  I am surprised to catch bream in such shallow and clear water, but they have no deeper home to go to in this 18 inch deep water, and I have found in the past that bream seem to dislike being near weed, so this open swim is the most likely place for any bream to be in.  No more bites and so, on 35 minutes I pack up, with the moorhens watching me as I rush back to the car, and I get to the church just in time.
  The wife notices the smell, her nose is the nasal equivalent of Joddrell bank, but I convince her it must just be due to being near the river, for she must not know I went fishing.  She doesn't really like me fishing, but I manage a few trips.  Fishing Sunday morning would be one more on the list, so I want to avoid that.
   So: 2 fish in 45 minutes, time that included the drive to and from the water.  Not bad at all.  I tried the same this week,   missed the only two bites I had, but the challenge gives me a reason to be by the pond and an objective to aim for.   A harder challenge might be to try and catch  fish, other than minnows, from the river.   The river is a couple of minutes further away, and much harder to fish.  Planning might need to be more meticulous.