Gridlock on the roads, but I got there in the end (bream article, entry 203)

Although it’s not always possible, I do prefer to arrive at my fishing destination with plenty of time to spare. In life generally I always perform better when I’m not racing against the clock, and my angling is just the same. And there is also the practical side that if you begin your journey with time on your side, should the unexpected happen, then you are not caught out.

And that’s what happened on this week’s session. Driving along the main road that takes me to the vicinity of the gravel pit I suddenly hit a gridlock. The cars were bumper-to-bumper for as far as I could see into the distance. And with nothing but red lights, it was clear that the traffic wasn’t moving as drivers had their feet on the brake pad rather than the accelerator.

And the problem I faced was that the next exit road was a few hundred metres away. But literally inch by inch I eventually entangled myself from the web of vehicles and set off along the first road that I saw from the roundabout that wasn’t clogged. Fortunately I do have a good sense of direction and after doing a wide sweep of farms, villages and open countryside, I once more found myself on familiar territory and I continued my journey.

So when I was able to deposit my gear at the water’s edge, it was with a definite sense of relief. After all as I sat in the traffic a short time earlier I never thought I would even get away before dark, let alone be fishing. It felt good to cast the rods out, put them on the pod and then lie back on the bed chair awaiting some action.

The only predictable thing about angling is its unpredictability. Therefore, even though the conditions were spot-on, I had no action at all as darkness drew in. I drifted off to sleep with no movement at all. The only noise to be heard were the resident oystercatchers as they called throughout the night, which I heard every time I woke up. I don’t do deep sleeps when fishing, think more catnap than Rip Van Winkle and you get the picture.

But in the early hours – 1.00 am to be precise – my beauty sleep was definitely disturbed when a series of single bleeps were emitted from one of the bite alarms. And striking into the fish I found myself eventually netting a decent bream, just short of 9lb. Although I am on a bream campaign, they have been quite thin on the ground, but the quality tench – not to mention the carp pushing 30lb – have certainly made up for it.

But nevertheless it was still good to catch one of my target species. There is always that added sense of achievement when the angler ends up with a specific fish by design rather than accident. I weighed and photographed the bream and then released it to swim back to its friends. It must have warned them off though, as that was the only fish of the session. But at least I wasn’t a blanker. I’m not trying to tempt fate, but it has been a really long time since I didn’t catch a fish…

 (Originally published June 2007)


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