I remain as close to nature as I can and love to observe the daily change that those who spend a lot of time in nature will appreciate.
So many natural signals throughout the year indicate different things for me. I have been a diary keeper since the 70’s. Not just one line entries each day, most days there will be several lines and often several pages. I like to record what I see on my work day morning walks over the fields, through the woods and up, over and around the hill before heading back to start my day’s work, after also spending a little time watching what is happening in my natural spring fed pool in the garden. I find this gives me my outdoor fix, clears my head and keeps me in proper contact with what the weather is doing, rather than simply viewing the world through a glass screen and relying on the weatherman miles away.
This is important to me as it has a bearing as to how much bait I will be using on my next trip. Such an important subject, but one I don’t see many paying a lot of attention too. From my observations, most appear to have a set way of fishing and a set amount of bait to go in, regardless of the weather, moon phase, atmospheric pressure etc being particularly good for a heavy feed or not.
One interesting thing in observing my spring fed garden pool on a daily basis is that with it being of a natural bottom (no liner) the water clarity varies enormously. During the winter when the fish are not digging away at the silt quite so much, the clarity can be like tap water for a few days and then suddenly it’s filthy and the fish have fed hard for no apparent reason, no change in the weather. This has been a great aid for me over the years as it has so often coincided with not only the carp but also the barbel appearing to have a good feast as well on many of the venues I fish. These windows of opportunity can at times be very small and no sooner has my pool clouded up then it is once again clearing.
My diary entries of more than 40 years have shown quite a few little quirky trends and one from this week has yet again come up trumps. I have written in the past about the connection between frogs and carp. Some waters as we all know are much better winter venues than others and will produce at a steady rate all winter long., whereas others (mostly those that contain a lot of weed in my experience) can be a much more difficult proposition to tempt a chance. One thing I have seen time and time again though is that when the frogs once again move back to my pool in numbers, then the trickier winter venues are always worth a try.
This last Sunday after spotting my first few frogs of the year I decided to pop over to a venue where I’d not yet heard of a fish being landed from so far this year. I started in an area close to my vehicle as I was really hungry and had decided to cook myself a breakfast at the lake whilst watching the water with a view to loading all the cooking gear back into the motor after eating and then spend a semi mobile day hunting them down.
The venison sausages went down well and soon with a fresh flask made from the Kelly Kettle I was winding in, offloading the kit I didn't’ need to catch a carp and went for a walk with a couple of rods and bare minimum. I covered a few acre of water without seeing any obvious signs. The birds were behaving totally naturally, so no clues there, but finally I thought I had spotted a slight boil on the surface of the water. Close and careful watching indicated that there were carp there and this was proven when a momentary flick of a dorsal fin on the surface with a slight bulge in the water as well left me in no doubt that I’d stumbled across one or more fish.
Kit off my back and ultra-stealth mode was the order of the day. I crumbed up some Spicy Spirulina and an underarm throw deposited a few tiny bits close to where I imagined the fish would pass by. I repeated this with a few more bits then a gentle underarm swing and the 1.1 oz bomb was slowed and patted onto the surface as quietly as possible.
I didn’t have to wait long, the activity came closer and suddenly a bulge of water and a mass of bubbles hitting the surface at the same time as I felt life on the end of the line.
Not a monster but a very welcome common none the less. Once again the frogs had been right those fish in the tricky venues close by are once again up for it.
Keep watching, keep observing, keep taking notes and above all, keep enjoying doing what you do.