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Diary Catch Up Time

Posted by Shaun Harrison on 25 November 2021 |

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Although I have written blogs and done some magazine work these past few months, I was reminded that I hadn’t looked back through my diary since May. So, I guess time for a catch up and the reason why I have let it slip.

Here are some links to the Blogs I have written since the last 'Diary' piece and contain a bit of my angling from then...

To be honest with you, I have not been 100% in myself since the last piece made it onto the screen. It started at the beginning of June after I had gone for my second Covid jab. I had been asked at reception if I’d experienced any side effects from the first jab and I answered that I hadn’t. So into the room I went for the second one, sat in the chair and pulled my sleeve up and OUCH, that hurt. I had hardly felt a thing on the first jab but the second one felt like a much larger needle and dose. If it was or not I guess I will never know but it certainly felt like it. Needles have never bothered me but that one I certainly knew about. I presume with reporting no side effects after the first, they gave me a larger dose for the second.

Whatever the truth was, I was glad to be back out and getting into my Land Rover that was already loaded for the weekends fishing adventure. I did a lap of my chosen venue, found some fish and returned to my motor to grab some gear. Back at the car park I really didn’t feel up to humping my gear around the lake and instead just set a couple of rods up and fished a few hours in the swim closest the car. I felt real drowsy and ended up winding in, throwing my canvas swag out at the side of my Land Rover and slept there the night with no baits in the water. 

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The day after my second jab, I awoke at the side of my Land Rover and made a meal to try and get myself going.

The next thing I knew the sun was beating down on me. I couldn’t remember moving through the night and still I felt real tired. It was lunch time Saturday before I managed to gather my gear together for another go at catching a carp. I sat there and was dozing despite having had a much longer nights sleep than I ever have. I ended up winding in and leaving on the Saturday afternoon.

I awoke at home Sunday after another very long sleep and still felt totally drained. Little did I know back then that this was to continue for several weeks. Even at work I was having to force myself to keep awake. Whatever they pumped into me on that second jab really knocked me off my feet.

My personal diary that I write daily in had no entries between 3rd and the 17th of June and my opening line on the 17th was…

“I have just tried to do a vague catch up in this diary but still very tired and struggling to focus upon anything”.

I know from the camera on my phone I had been out fishing but don’t remember a lot about it other than waking up late with the sun blistering down on me. I totally missed the first light give away shows each morning. Now bearing in mind I always try and be up looking at first light yet, it took until late September for me to be able to activate myself into doing what I have done most of my life. I even failed to wet a line on the glorious river season opening. I just couldn’t motivate myself to sorting the river tackle out. It wasn’t through lack of interest, it was sheer lethargy that I couldn’t shake off.

I was however still doing my usual hour and a half walk over the fields, through the woods and up the hill each morning.

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Brew with a view chill out break during my pre-work walk.

I enjoy my first brew of the day outdoors and always refer to it as my brew with a view. I had the odd tweak in my knee, but when one gets to a certain age, one ends up expecting the occasional ache and pain, particularly if you have lived your life thinking you are indestructible.

Then it happened, July 27th I got out of bed and found I could not bare any weight at all on my right knee. I haven’t a clue what brought it on but It was that bad I couldn’t get up and down the stairs in a conventional manner. I really didn’t know what I had done and simply struggled on for a week, unable to walk more than  few metres. After seven days of it I eventually consulted the doctors who sent me straight to the sport Physiotherapist. All I could explain the pain was like was that of toothache deep inside my knee. The type of pain you can’t hold, support or comfort with your hands. It was a pain deep within which occasionally ran down the back of my leg too. The Physiotherapist bent my leg and twisted it more than I thought possible and amazingly there was zero pain, it was just the baring weight on it that was painful. The conclusion was that something had dislodged again from bad cartilage damage I’d suffered several years back after a day’s filming with Sky TV which ended with me falling on my knees from several feet up in a bit of a freak accident. I was told that there was little that could be done without causing more damage until everything calmed back down. I was given an appointment for another check up in six weeks time. At least I had my red wine pain killer to get me through those boring evenings being unable to do much more than sit with my leg up.

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I couldn't spend my week-ends indoors..

There was no way I was going to do that over the weekend period as well, so chose venues to fish where I could get my Land Rover to my swim and with trees that enabled me to string my hammock up. Not ideal, but at least I managed to get out angling. The hammock I found was much easier to step out of than trying to get up off my bed chair.

So, July I remember little about and August dawned with me still incredibly tired and now not being able to walk either. My telephone shows me pictures of carp I caught on the Rock Pool Rahja combined with MicroFeed which is always a great post spawning method.

Back in April near my birthday, Nigel ‘Fennel’ Hudson had told me he had booked a Bushcraft weekend for us both with his friends from the Wilderness Pioneers. The date had been set for 28th August and earlier that week 3 of us shared a conference call to ascertain whether my leg would be up to it. I was feeling stronger with it, but had still not dared to walk anywhere further than the top of my garden. I was now managing to walk up the stairs in the conventional manner but still struggling to walk down them.  We discussed what we would be doing during the weekend and it seemed that there wouldn’t be too much walking involved so we planned to move forward as already booked, rather than change dates.

Two days before I was due to leave, my living room ceiling fell on me. Well, they say bad things come in three’s!

I dusted myself down, put the idiot box on and sat staring into the television watching things on You Tube, surrounded by bits from my ceiling. I really wasn’t up for sorting it out and I so desperately wanted to keep my leg unstrained.

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This is the start of the fire we kept going for the duration. Sat with instructor Mark as he explained different fire stacks.

The weekend was great and if you want to go and learn new outdoor skills then I thoroughly recommend contacting Wilderness Pioneers. After a lifetime spent outdoors as much as I have possibly been able to, I was at a loss when Fennel asked me to come up with a list of things I wanted to try or learn about. Anyone who. Follows my social media will know my fondness of outdoor cooking over real fire. One thing I had hardly done any of though was baking outdoors and I had never used a Dutch Oven either, so, that was something I was keen to pick up some tips about.

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Baking bread and cakes in the Dutch Ovens

We had put a little agenda together to ensure the right instructors dropped by and by the time Monday afternoon drive home came, I felt 2 sizes heavier after all the food we had cooked and eaten. But more importantly, I had picked up some great tips and even managed to show the instructors a new (to them) knot.

Back home, I still had no ceiling, but was finally starting to feel as though I was getting my mind and body back to a more normal sort of way. I’d not been myself for 3 months. A quarter of a year of not being able to do what I have always done. That after the long lock downs we have had has probably added to grinding me down as well.

Did I say bad things come in three’s?

My Land Rover started playing up driving home from Oxfordshire. I thought it was the clutch on its way out. I rang my mechanic only to find he had just come down with Covid, he sounded awful. The MOT was due in 3 weeks and selfishly for my own sake I really hoped he could shrug Covid off.

You know what it is like when you find a tradesman you trust to sort things out? I was loathe to go elsewhere. I was in a dilemma, my motor was still drive able, but my mechanic was 25 mile away, so I didn’t want to be putting extra wear on anything in case I ended up unable to get it to him. So, I parked it up for the week and come the weekend chose a venue very close to home and limped my Land Rover there, treating it with kid gloves. I didn’t want to push things with the knee, so chose a swim near the car park rather than use the barrow.

The next two weeks I did the same leaving my motor parked up throughout the week and just taking it a few miles on the Friday.

The venue was not fishing well at all, but it has to be said it was kind to me after a couple of weekends struggling to get in tune with things. Once I had my brain back in gear for this venue, rather than fishing it like I had been fishing Paradise Pit, everything turned good. I went in on there with Magnum White and Rock Pool Rahja, baiting with both and alternating with different hook baits. It seemed to be what they wanted. One gamble I did take was to not set up where the bulk of the fish were showing. Many were complaining they were only catching the smaller carp and from my observations, most of the shows were the smaller fish.

We were at the weekend of the Harvest Moon, a moon phase which has been so kind to me big fish wise over the years. The big full moon is actually an awful time to try and catch carp, but the older ones still seem to have a munch. The actual full moon was the Monday and because I had not landed one of the special ones by Sunday evening, I made the decision to stay another night and fish into the proper full moon.

That was a decision I am so pleased I made as first light Monday morning I was playing one of the special ones. It really did fight hard and it was a great relief when a big black common finally folded into the net.

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The special one on a full 'Harvest Moon'.

A very special fish on a pleasing method. Catapulted 10 mm’s and halved 15 mm’s in no mans land. I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago about what I refer to as ‘no mans land’.

The following weekend I didn’t manage to get fishing until the Saturday afternoon so hardly had a choice of swim on the venue I had turned my attention to, but slotted in anyway and once again adopted the catapult approach. I was up the other end of the pit to where I had been fishing and was to be semi beaten up by a massive wind and torrential rain on the Monday. I do like to fish 2 nights so stayed on for the Sunday night again. Well, this trip produced fish on all 3 rods, so I was managing to get something right on a water that everyone was telling me wasn’t fishing very well. What is more, I was also avoiding the smaller fish that many were complaining about.

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The next session produced carp on all 3 rods.

Magnum White and Rock Pool Rahja were all I was feeding and the only tweak I was giving them was a pre-soak in their own ‘Overcoat’ liquid, which I had diluted down with water.

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My only tweak was a pre-soak in diluted Liquid Overcoat.

Well, this little catch up brings us up to October so it seems a logical place to end this blog. After what had been a really frustrating summer for me health wise, I was finally getting back into a more normal ( for me) way of life and once again managing to get into the minds of the carp and catch myself a few special prizes.


Best wishes as always

Shaun Harrison

About the Author: Shaun Harrison

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Quest Baits boss Shaun Harrison has put over 40 years of experience into developing his range of carp baits ” This bait range is the culmination of the bait knowledge I’ve gained throughout my carp fishing career, a journey which started in the 1970’s. It has truly been a long and winding road – frustrating at times, fascinating and rewarding at others….. Our range you’ll only find proven baits, the ones I use myself 

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