Fishing is totally unpredictable, and actually I like it that way. Imagine knowing in advance what you will catch and when. It would certainly take the anticipation and excitement out of it. And although I don’t want to get side-tracked, many devotees of the moon phase theory think exactly that way. I can remember some years back being on the banks of the lower Severn when one of the gurus of the movement arrived, chatted to me and then declared that because he had missed peak-point it wasn’t worth setting up, so he went home instead!
Whether it be the lunar theory or something more relevant and tangible such as wind, rain or other elements, the reality is that we should never ultimately allow these things to control our fishing. Because if we do, then we will be dictated to by stuff that is totally beyond our control; and if we are waiting for the perfect conditions before venturing out, we won’t be doing much angling that’s for sure. And often it’s when everything is against us that we catch.
And that’s exactly what happened this week. The conditions were absolutely atrocious, yet I had the best session to date so far this year. With a bitterly cold north-east wind blowing straight at me when I arrived, the only thing that could have made it any worse was if it rained. And rain it did during the night. At midnight I was forced to re-peg my Fox Evolution shelter, as torrential rain was having the same effect as if someone had a hosepipe on me. By reducing the entry space to minimal height, I was able to reduce the soaking I was having, with the only concern then being that the whole shelter might take off in the wind.
Fortunately though, the fish I caught all came before the storm broke. The first bream was out at dusk, so it was nice to get a fish under my belt. Not that I am worried about blanks, but it’s always good to get the first one in the net. Two hours later and a second bream put in an appearance. This was a typical bream bite – a single bleep and slight movement on the swinger. I love the experience of bream fishing when you actually get a fish take the bait. Forget screaming runs with metres of line stripped from the reel, but it’s still a thrill all the same.
Both the bream were caught on artificial corn and foam piece but the tench that completed the trio of fish, at 11.00pm, was tempted by a 10mm pop-up pineapple boilie. I take a notebook with me fishing and I made a comment that it had just started to rain. Little did I know what was to come! As the conditions worsened I even found myself not that bothered about getting another fish, such was the intensity of what the heavens were outpouring upon me.
For some years I resisted even giving artificial baits a go as they just didn’t seem right. No matter how authentic they appear or even that they can be flavoured, it was just the fact that they were bits of plastic that put me off. But it was the venue that I am fishing now that eventually saw me try them out. Fishing with real pieces of corn became impossible, as small fish would mean I was left with a shrivelled shell, plus I had to use a foam piece anyway to pop the bait up over the weed. Fishing boilie was the route that I went down but that wasn’t my first choice bait, so eventually I reluctantly gave the plastic version of corn a go.
My initial scepticism was very quickly dealt with as I started to catch fish, to the point where I couldn’t honestly say that the real stuff out-fished the artificial. But just knowing that the bait was still there made a massive difference to my confidence level. Just the slightest sound on the bite alarm and I was wondering if it was just the wind or did a 2oz roach suck the corn into a pulp. But now I don’t even give the small fish a second thought. I’ve included some shots of my rigs (which I will talk about next week) on the video that accompanies this article so those of you that are interested in that side of angling can see what I am doing.
Check out this week’s video clip by clicking here.
(Originally published April 2008)