In the week just passed, the itch in my mind caused by my walk round the lake has turned into a rash that is now red raw from mental scratching. It got to the point where I had to remind myself of my patient and simple outlook towards this endeavour in order to stop myself over complicating things when I did finally arrive.
Soon enough though I found myself atop the grassy hill looking down towards the lake in the early hours of the morning on a cloudy and dull day. As I retraced my tracks back down to the lake the grass did not fold softly beneath my floating feet as before, for this time I was slung heavy with tackle, like some beast of burden; a few weeks free from lugging this around had given my body time to forget how heavy my fishing tackle can feel.
As we anglers often do, I had conceived visions of where I would make my first casts. This was not due to some mouth watering feature such as an island, because the lake beyond the bank is quite simply as featureless as a plain piece of paper. Instead my choice of spots was more governed by the simple attractiveness of what would be to my left or to my right. But as always with preconceived ideas they never work out, and upon rounding the bending approach to my spot, a dew covered bivvie was sighted.
Further down the track through an arch formed between two old oaks I had seen an quint little glade with short mown grass, which days before had caught my eye and now carried all hopes for my morning ahead.
Quiet and uninhabited upon arrival my second choice seemed the perfect place to begin this journey. I paused for a moment before passing down under the trees into the bank side glade. I like to think this was to take in the beauty of this place, but in actual fact it was more to do with me figuring where to place my feet on the bare earth leading down to the waters edge so as not to start the day on my bottom.
The first thing that hit me as I ventured out of the trees was that this was not in fact one little spot but the gateway to a sub bank which boasted four neat swims amongst one continuous reed bed. The second thing was what looked like a small chicken wire cage half way down the path about the size of a loaf of bread.
What animal would be so fierce that it should need it's own cage to protect passing anglers, I wondered. Maybe an out of control cricket or a shrew with an attitude problem was contained within. I had to investigate! Upon closer inspection no savage miniature animal raged within the wire. Rather it was seemingly filled with grass. Not until my nose was within inches of the wire did I spot the tiniest of pink and white flowers poking from within. The cage was not to protect me but to protect it from mine and others clumsy great size twelve feet, or possibly from the millions of rabbits which inhabit the area.
The imprisoned tiny flower was an orchid no bigger than the top section of my finger. Call me a pansy but it seems a shame to me that something so rare and beautiful and wild should need to spend the rest of it's life behind bars. I actually decided to fish next to the little caged beauty and all through the day I pondered it in its little cage as my rods fished silently away close by.
My intention for my first trip had always been to attack from the off and although my initial intent for a twenty four hour session had been sidelined for the sake of my still niggling back, I stuck with my plan firing some twenty five cricket ball sized balls of mixed munga loosely around a marker float some sixty yards out by way of invite to the lakes illusive populations.
I would love to say that my ingenious ploy heralded an instant response but that would be no more than a common lie. Instead I sat snugly tucked under a convenient ash and watched as the wind built up through the morning and the ripple turned into waves, white caps and all.
Four hours in I was thinking I had over cooked it with my Dunkirk style approach, until the briefest of bites indicated the presence of something of the scaled variety. Thirty minutes later another dithering bite turned into a slow and steady run. Lolling round on the surface right over the baited spot out in the lake this had to be a bream and it was! sixty yards out fighting like a wet sack full of silt. A mighty fight it was not. But a mighty fish it will be one day.
Deep, long and young, this was great start to a new campaign. 8.3lb was more than I expected when I dragged myself out of bed this morning. If this is an average sized fish then I may not of been as mad as I thought I was when I handed over the money for my ticket.
Covered in a liberal layer of slime I sat smiling at what can only in this lakes terms be deemed a successful session. I have taken so so many blanks on this lake that a bite alone can be considered success. But that was not the end of it! A second dithering bite was struck too early before I again hooked a second bream. Although smaller by a third this fish was that oddity that seems only to exist in the world of abramis brama.
The poor and rushed picture gives enough of the bizarre phenomenon of the two tone bream. I have never fully understood why every so often one bream amongst a shoal of most likely siblings should be half light and half dark.
They were definately getting onto the feed towards noon but I had a date with a red head so was unable to reap the the benefit of what I had sown. However two fish and a few bites in a five hour toe dipping on this frugal old lake is certainly a good way to start, and bodes very well for up and coming longer sessions. And as for the poor little caged flower, I will stop by whenever I pass by just to have a look and watch it blossom.