‘You are excited about going fishing tomorrow aren’t you?’ enquired my wife, the evening before I was due to start a two day session on the gravel pit I’m currently fishing. Well, we have been married for almost seventeen years, and we have been very close, so it is no surprise really that she should pick up on my emotional state of mind. And yes, it is true – I do feel like a kid on Christmas Eve the night before a fishing trip.
Arriving at the pit, I dropped into the peg I had fished on my previous visit. The first thing I did was to get the bivvie set up. Although the weather forecast was generally good, the odd shower was forecast and I wanted to ensure that I had protection for my gear should the heavens open. As it happened, it did rain slightly, but only once I had got everything ready.
I don’t mind it raining while I am actually fishing, but if there is one thing I am not keen on it is packing away in wet weather, particularly when there is a lot of equipment to sort out. Still, moving ahead slightly, when I did end the session it was with a clear sky and the sun shining.
Casting out the rods to begin the ‘two-nighter’, I put one rod in the margins and the other on a plateau that was about seven lengths out from the bank. Position wise, this was exactly as my previous visit, and having caught a bream on that session, I was hopeful that I would build on that. The water temperature was a little low at eight degrees, but that was to be expected due to the northerly winds that had hit the country for a few days.
Talk about lightning striking twice, the first night I was again woken by a police helicopter that had a searchlight scanning the ground for someone! Fortunately, on this occasion, the helicopter didn’t pass overhead, but remained a reasonable distance away. Still, I blanked the first night, and I was left wondering whether it had affected the fishing.
During the day I was able to do some birding and with the summer species now making their way across the country, I added House and Sand Martins to my tick list for the year, plus my first warbler – in this case the Willow warbler, which is fairly common. I had a good look at it and was able to identify it correctly. (Warblers are very difficult to identify for a novice like myself)
And whilst on the theme of birds, most lakes have the common – but dreaded – Tufted Ducks that dive over the baited area. However, a pair of Goldeneye visited me – there certainly is a better class of bird on this lake! And like their relatives, they proved just as hard to deter from the swim. I would raise the landing net and this would see them swim towards the centre of the lake, but the moment my back was turned, they were once more diving alongside the marker float.
As the second night descended, I was hopeful. However, it takes more than faith to produce a fish, and by the time morning came round, I had not even had a single bleep during the night. I had baited up both areas with particles using brown crumb as a carrier, and fished boilie over the top, but on this occasion my preferred method failed to produce. Still, there would be time, I said to myself, as I made my way back to the car to begin the long journey home.
With just one night to spare for the remainder of the week, I decided against a return to the gravel pit due to distance. Instead I opted to fish an overnighter on a fairly local pool. Arriving mid-afternoon, with the sun still shining I cast out a few times to get a picture of the bed of the venue, plus of course depth. At the point I fished it was a uniform eight feet all round the swim and the bottom was snag free.
While casting around, I noticed quite a few carp cruising just below the surface. Although I hadn’t come prepared to do any surface feeding, I quickly tied on a hook directly to the line and pinched a piece of bread crust, which I then promptly cast out. Within seconds I was doing battle with a small, but powerful carp, which unfortunately came off.
However, the next cast saw me land a mirror, whose golden colour matched the Wolves shirt that I was wearing at the time! The air temperature was a healthy fourteen degrees and even though my all-in-one suit would make an appearance when the sun had set, in the meantime I wanted to enjoy the sun’s rays.
Once I had finally set up proper and cast out, I had non-stop action right through to the next morning. I had at least four runs an hour on average, although I must say that the fish were certainly not large. I don’t really know that much about the venue, but it seems that it would be more suited to a beginner who wants to get some carp under his belt, rather than the serious specimen angler who is prepared to sit it out for a decent fish.
One thing I do know though is that the area is reported to be haunted! Still, that didn’t bother me, to be honest I am more concerned about the ghouls that are of flesh and blood and target anglers’ cars while they are fishing, than anything of the supernatural nature. However I had no worries on this occasion as the pond is literally miles from anywhere, along a track.
So my lack of sleep was not due to any concerns about ghosts or otherwise, but simply because of the continual action of the rods! However, the only carp I caught were mirrors and commons. You could say that it was a ghost-free session – in more ways than one!
(Originally published April 2004)