If you read my Angling Journal regularly you will know that as well as my devotion to fishing, I am also a really keen football fan. As a season ticket holder at Wolves, it sits pretty high in my life in terms of passion. So although it meant a fishing session less this week, nevertheless a trip to the Golden Palace to see Wolves demolish Chester City 5-1 was by no means a hardship!
And when I finally got round to angling, my interest in the beautiful game didn’t end there, as our bitter rivals from down the road, Sandwell Town were playing against Chelsea. So along went the radio, and as each goal got put away by the Londoners, the happier I became. My only disappointment was that they stopped at four! Still, you can’t have it all ways, and hopefully Sandwell will now tumble down the leagues and end up in the Conference where they belong!
Anyway, less of my football ramblings, and more of the fishing, is what I hear you say – unless you support Wolves of course! I was out for an eel session, in fact probably the last one of the summer. With September – and therefore autumn – just around the corner, I want to fish for some other species. The good thing about eel fishing is that you can literally turn up and cast out. There isn’t the same degree of bank-side preparation that is necessary with other species.
So although darkness was drawing in when I arrived at the edge of the woodland pool I was fishing, there was no rush. By the time I had cast both rods out, baited with gudgeon sections, there was still time to lay back on the bed chair and fill in my angling diary which accompanies me on every trip. Within minutes I had a take, which proved to be a small common carp, probably around the 1lb mark. It wasn’t a surprise though, as I’ve had lots of carp in the past when predator fishing with small dead baits.
After several single bleeps, which had me up and down on the rods like a yo-yo, there was no mistaking the screaming run at midnight. The way that it went off like an express train, I knew that it was a carp at the other end. And so, after a really good fight, I found myself netting a nice looking fish. To the right of where I was fishing was some old staging that the fish had tried its best to get into. Isn’t it amazing how hooked fish will instinctively head for even the smallest snag, they know exactly where to go.
It was nice to catch the carp, but really I wanted an eel. After all it’s always nice when you get your target species. My wish was granted, as at 2.30 am I struck into a fish that barely made the 1lb mark. Still it was an eel, and so that was something to be grateful for. The story behind the life cycle of these fish is truly amazing, and looking down at the eel in the landing net I pondered the great distances that this particular one had travelled to get where it was. And with the pool I was fishing being quite some distance from a river, it had certainly put in a marathon to get where it was.
Within the half-hour I once more found myself connected with another carp. I love those screaming runs, particularly as you hit the fish and feel the stubborn resistance of a lively lump at the other end. This one again tried to take me into the wooden staging, and I could feel the grating of the line against the boards at one stage. But thankfully I got the fish out into open water. And once there, the odds were very firmly stacked in my favour.
It was bigger than the previous carp, and if I had been targeting the species, would have been classed as a very good fish for the venue. After a few photographs the fish was returned to the water, and with a powerful surge that left me soaked, it sped off back into the pool. Feeling quite tired and having one eye on the busy day ahead, I settled down and got some sleep, hoping that if I did get woken it would be by a monster eel!
However, it was a 2lb common carp that disrupted my beauty sleep. I did have to smile at the way carp anglers finely tune rigs and bait to such a degree, yet here I was, catching fish on wire traces and pieces of gudgeon! Perhaps if I was more business-like in my approach, I could market the new carp wonder bait, guaranteed to catch. But when a bag of gudgeon turns up, I feel I may have a few people demanding their money back!
As it was now getting light I decided to call it a day anyway. With not much traffic on the roads, I was home in no time at all, and even managed to get a couple of hours ‘proper’ sleep before I was up and about with the rest of the normal people who sleep at night and live during the day!
(Originally published August 2004)