A scorcher of a week – weather wise anyway! (eel article, entry 48)

The start of the week turned out to be a real scorcher. Listening to the weather forecast, the Central TV girl used the words ‘gorgeous’ and ‘sizzler’ a total of six times. However, it was the ‘chance of a local overnight thunderstorm’ that caught my attention more than anything else. In reality though, all it meant was that I would be prepared for any sudden downpour, by having the umbrella already up at the water’s edge. In other words, it will take more than a hint of adverse weather to keep me away from angling!

Driving to the Worcestershire pool where I have been fishing for eels, I was more than happy to engage the air conditioning in my new car. It certainly was not a feature I was after when choosing the vehicle, but it was a nice luxury. With temperatures in the mid 20’s, it was lovely and cool.

Arriving at the lake, there was just one other angler on there, fishing for carp. And as he was at the opposite end I intended to fish, I was able to drop into the peg that I wanted. It is usually a very peaceful place to fish. However on this occasion, the local farmer had set up a watering system in the adjacent crop field. An extremely noisy pump drew the water from the pool that was being sprayed over the growing vegetables.

It didn’t take long to set up and within the half-hour I was stretched out on the bed chair, with a gudgeon head and tail cast out, hopefully to entice an eel. It was such a hot and humid forecast for the night, that I was dressed in nothing more than a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was wearing thermals and layers of clothes, and of course it will only be another three or so months before I’m back in that attire once more. Enjoy the weather while you can, is the motto!

I was expecting an active night as far as the eels were concerned, even if just the bootlaces messing around with the bait. However, apart from the odd bleep on the buzzer, it was pretty quiet. I did have one run though, but failed to connect. It couldn’t really be described as quiet I suppose – the pump extracting water did its best to ensure that. I don’t know how these things work, but at 2.00 a.m. it appeared to stutter as if it was running out of petrol. After a couple of futile attempts to carry on, it suddenly died a death. Peace at last!

As the sun rose, it was time to pack away and head for home – and a few hours sleep – before starting work. I know we shouldn’t wish our lives away, but I couldn’t help but think that in a week’s time I’ll be getting ready to fish the rivers once more! I suppose that, no matter how much I enjoy my still-water angling, the real love of my life is the flowing variety.

Still, there was one more eel session left, before June 16 came round, and so it was, on Thursday evening, I made my way to the lake for the final session of my mini-campaign for eels. I am fishing wire traces, which is advisable for the species, and even more so when pike are to be found in the water, although this particular venue does not contain any.

I make the traces at home and keep them in a Fox trace wallet. This has been one of the best purchases I have made in recent years, as for a long time I searched for the perfect storage item in which to keep all my predator rigs. Since I bought this particular item of tackle, my search has ended.

For this, the last session of the campaign, I was fishing roach deadbait, and as with the gudgeon, a tail on one rod and the head on the other. It was again another scorcher of a day and I was hoping to go out on a high. I was actually having a good week – my football team (Wolves) had just made the first signing of the summer (Vio Ganea), I’d bought my new replica shirt that day, and I’d had a good week from a work perspective.

All I needed was a nice eel to round everything off nicely. Well, things never go to plan do they! Apart from one mini-run, I had the quietest night so far in the last three weeks. Still, as they say – a bad day’s fishing is still better than a good day’s work! With my eel campaign coming to an end, the best fish was still just short of 2lb. However, I’m convinced the lake in question has better fish lurking away. Maybe I’ll be back next year, I shall have to see.

Lately, because I’ve been arriving to fish as the sun has been setting, and then leaving the water at first light, my bird watching has been taking a bit of a back seat. However, in recent trips I’ve still managed to take my total species for the year, all seen while angling, to 78. The latest additions being the Yellowhammer, Sparrowhawk and Mistle Thrush. And talking of birds, I got a fresh Blackbird road kill on the way back home for my pet ferret Meisje!

She devoured it in no time at all, and while I was cleaning her hutch out, I put her in the bathroom in a temporary cage. She managed to get out though, so when I went to collect her, she was nowhere to be seen. However, I knew she couldn’t have got out of the room, and eventually I found her. She had got into the wash basket and had fallen asleep on a whole load of Wolves clothes that were ready for the washing machine!

(Originally published June 2004)

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