I must apologize for the lateness of this April Blog. I had completed it and then discovered my close friend Jan Porter had sadly lost his brave and determined battle against cancer. It totally destroyed me and I held this piece back. I wanted to write about Jan but still I'm finding it hard to find the right words to say.
Strap your guitar on mate, find us some nice quiet water and if you see Brook, tell her I'll be back with you both one day.
So, here is what I wrote before I'd received the devastating news that one of the best had been taken early...
A month that started on the rivers with prototype rods that needed putting through their paces and ended up on the still waters. Both running and still water were rather kind to me yet again.
Rain pushes against the window and the trees sway in the wind whilst I sit here reflecting upon February that has just passed us by. It has been rather a mixed month to say the least and being a leap year, we gained an extra day.
Another month has passed without winter properly taking its grip. My Blog last month hinted upon how many fish I have been catching and these catches have simply continued through February, that is of course when I have actually managed to get out.
I have mostly been targeting the carp on 4 totally different waters depending upon which seemed the best choice in the given weather conditions. Having said that I have also managed to squeeze in a few bonus river trips as well after chub, barbel or grayling, again, depending upon what the conditions looked best for.
Well with 2015 passing us by I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible angling year it had been for me and no doubt largely due to the fact that for the first time since starting Quest Baits I’d not spent most of the year wasting rod hours whilst tweaking and playing around with new baits.
Finally for once I was able to fish the whole season with baits that I had already perfected in previous years, I was so happy with the range that I really couldn’t see the point in bringing another bait out for the sake of it and my catches showed that.
I even made a facebook post at the end of the year of 52 of what I considered to be my best fish of the year to represent each week of the year. I don’t think I could have done that in many other years, not without totally scraping the barrel for mediocre sized fish.
So the year ended and joined this one with big fish from 4 different waters falling to my rods within a three week period and multiple captures from 2 of those. One has a real poor track record of producing many winter fish so I was particularly proud of a catch of fish there. The old Magnum Whites with a handful of Fruity Trifle to add some bright colour to the swim encouraged the fish to drop down and have a bit of a feed as they always do. It still amazes me anglers still stick with baits that are going to be an issue for the carp to digest in colder water which then messes the fishing up for everyone else.
Well, this tale comes in two parts really with the first part starting on Wednesday 11th July 2001 back in the days when the only place I really wanted to be was the infamous Mangrove Swamp in deepest, darkest, Shropshire.
How I loved the peace and solitude found at this historic water and totally true to form I was the only person there that day. Just me, the tackle and anything that nature wanted to push my way. As it happens nature was pushing a very strong and very cold wind my way, but what did it matter? There wasn’t another place I would have rather been sat at during that part of my life other than the Lightning Tree swim on a deserted Mangrove.
I was up and about this morning far earlier than I needed or indeed, wanted to be. I had awoken in that comfortable snuggled state when you know you still have a good hour or so lounging time before the alarm clock will sound. But then my brain kicked in thinking back over this last week-end, for the gods of Sir Izaak had done so much more than smile upon me. They had rewarded me richly with a bumper crop of golden autumn barbel. I couldn’t turn my brain off so it was to be an early rise and soon the tea pot was mashing my favourite Assam/Earl Grey blend. I glanced at the pictures again and really couldn’t believe how incredibly fortunate I had been with my timing. If the truth be told it wasn’t really any sort of judged timing, it was pure fate and poor carp catching conditions mixed with a bit of idleness and lack of motivation that had me fishing for the barbel this weekend.
It is nice once in a while to be able to angle with people we haven’t or rarely get to fish with.
I guess I must have known Bob Brookes for 30 odd years now after swapping many a brown paper bag of fishing tackle for his hard earned, for many years before his retirement. I guess a lot of the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire based anglers used the tackle shop for a little lunchtime therapy after a gruelling morning at work.
I always enjoyed serving Bob, his cheerful face would brighten many a day and one of the minority you could enjoy a sensible relaxed conversation with.
Hang on a minute, time to change tract, it’s starting to sound like a obituary and after watch Bob stomp across the fields the other day with a full pack, shortly after a session in the gym, this is far from being a obituary.
Well, last night I sat down and read through the first 6 months diary entries I have made this year and it hit home once again the amount of joy and pleasure being alongside water out there in the great outdoors brings to me. So, I thought I would share a few of these moments, as we pass through the changing seasons.
I thought it an idea to start a Blog Diary in here and starting off with last month run through how I have approached my fishing through the different venues I have visited and how I adapt to differing weather conditions through the season.
It has only just occurred to me how many different tactics I have used this past month alone to keep those bobbins moving. So, hopefully there will be points of interest in here and possible little tips you may pick up on to start getting those bobbins moving on a regular basis. So, with no further ado, let us start off with my first trip in April…
Well, it was a rather mixed period for me whilst away from the office for the annual festive break. I started off fishing for the barbel in the mild conditions leading to Christmas day and was fortunate enough to net myself a couple of nice fish but these faded into insignificance by Ron Key’s 14.06 as reported in the last of the 2014 reports. It truly was a pleasure to see and photograph this fish, which fell to the Questrami.