One of the great benefits of the summer is that you can often go fishing in shorts and tee shirt, as I did on the first session of the week. However, it’s the wise angler that keeps another layer handy, and experience certainly leads you that way. And so the scorching heat of the afternoon became a much cooler evening, and I was forced to get my jacket out of the rucksack.
I was also trying out a new chair, as my previous one had finally given up the ghost. I do put my tackle through its paces, and it had certainly given me good value for money. And even more so as it had come as freebie for writing an article. I had to pay for the replacement myself though, but still stuck with Fox, this time coming away from the shop with a nice comfortable Stalker recliner chair. Settling down at the start of the session it certainly seemed a good buy, but time will surely tell one way or the other. It is slightly heavier than my old one, but the extra comfort far outweighs any disadvantage on that front.
Within the hour after casting out I was netting the first tench of the session, a fish that was just short of the 4lb mark. It was a further two hours before I connected with the next fish – and by now I was jacketed – and it instantly felt like a good one. Like many other species, it’s often the smaller ones that race off like there’s no tomorrow, whilst the better quality fish are identifiable by a long deep plod. I’ve found that with barbel on the lower Severn in particular.
I did think it could have been my first ‘6’ of the campaign, but it was light at 5-13-8. Still, it was the best fish to date, and that’s always something to be encouraged about. The next one though was back to the high 3’s. The average size of the tench in this campaign has definitely been down on the last few seasons, where 5’s were pretty much to order, and the odd ‘6’ was thrown in for good measure.
But to slightly redress the balance, the last hour yielded four fish, two high 4’s and a couple of low 5’s. In fact it got me wondering whether I should look again at my plan to end the tench campaign this week. I had caught the best fish, plus a couple of five-pounders. Maybe I should reconsider my intentions? Well, I had another trip to round off the week, and that would perhaps give me a better idea of what to do.
For the second session, although the afternoon was very pleasant, early evening saw a pretty severe storm pass over. Thunder and lightning combined with torrential rain made me very glad that I always carry an umbrella with me when fishing. It doesn’t matter what the weather forecast says, this is England, and we know differently! Nice and dry under the shelter of the brolly I wasn’t sure whether I wanted a fish at that precise moment. Watching the rain literally bounce of the surface of the lake, I was quite happy to sit there fish-less, not to mention the danger from holding a lightning conductor in my hands!
I did manage to end the trip with three fish though, the best going to just 4-11-8, so that swayed me to stick to my original plan to move on after three articles. (I find that my angling week often revolves around my Angling Journal!). The overcast sky following the storms meant that I packed away a good half-hour earlier than usual, as darkness was setting in that much more quickly. The days when it’s dark late afternoon are a distant memory, but knowing the way time flies, it won’t be long before I’m out chub fishing in dark freezing conditions at 4pm! Still, I’m not wishing my life away so I don’t want to give that impression, more a case of reflection of how the older you get the more quickly the years pass.
(Originally published July 2005)