So close and yet so far
In my final Angling Journal entry for 2009, I begin not at the water’s edge but in a tackle shop. Gwen’s Tackle and Bait in Princes End, Tipton, to be precise. Although in the modern angling world you can’t get everything from your local, I am a firm believer in supporting tackle shops in your locality. Internet buying is great, as it opens up a whole new world of shopping from our armchairs, but the reality is that there will always be things we need there and then. And of course fresh bait such as maggots and mail order tackle shops don’t go together at all.
My local is the aforementioned shop, run, as the name suggests by a woman. And with Gwen having to be elsewhere on other business, I found myself running the place for a few hours, assisted by my lovely wife Debby on the till. But it’s on the bank where I really belong, and so following my stint behind the counter I found myself at home on a pool pursuing pike with Lawrence Breakspear.
It was a freezing cold day and neither of us had even so much as a tremble on the float. But it’s always nice to fish in good company and I did get Lol on the video talking through his pike rig which is very informative. Well known as a barbel angler, like many specialists, Lawrence is far more than just a single species fisherman and has many strings to his bow.
I then went solo on the middle Severn. As you will see from the video I found myself three times at the rods as a pike moved in. Twice I struck into fish, only to have everything pull after a few seconds. I knew that I had missed a window of opportunity as my next visit saw me confronted by a river four feet up and racing through. As I was there I fished anyway, but the resultant blank came as no surprise.
And with 2009 down to just hours remaining, I hit a small river where I have had success before with pike. A confidence stretch if you like. And even though the conditions – not to mention the water temperature – were atrocious I still managed to get a run. As you will see from the video, I had it on but as before, the hooks pulled. A frustrating end to the year, although I did manage to see an otter, ravens and a water rail. And I even captured the latter on film as well.
The photographs on this page are from left to right At Gwen’s Tackle and Bait, River Severn, kitted out for winter
(Originally published January 2010)