Thursday, 29 August 2013

Thinking outside of my box.

Canals have always occupied an important position in my angling, largely because it was there that I cut my fishing teeth. Even as I've grown older and have looked to fish different types of waters I still find myself attracted to them. For most part it was the allure of zander and carp fishing on these untapped waters, but more recently the copious amounts of large perch on one particular section have drawn me back time and time again.

It was a case of checking in prior to autumn that called me back just now. I wanted to see where those fish were at after a summer of fry bashing, so as I might know what to expect when I returned in two months time. Two pound fish are almost disgustingly common on this section and the odd fish among them stands out as getting ever closer to the three pound mark. And it is those odd fish which intrigue me; just how big do they grow, or how big could they grow given the unusual dynamic of this perch sanctuary.

On this occasion though, the normally predictable sport was unusually difficult. I began just after first light in what I would normally consider to be a banker of a swim, fishing as I always do just off the inside self. Doing this in conjunction with the slow trickling of whatever feed I should desire to use, can normally bring in the fish and coax some decent bites, even on a slow day. But today the most I could seem to tempt was small sub pound billies.

After two hours my efforts had begun to seem rather futile. That these fish were not in the mood seemed to be the obvious answer, considering my normal fruitful approach wasn't working. I decided a change to a second banker swim might confirm my theory, and once in place with another hour passed it did seem I was correct in my assumption. Only the fact that the little ones were feeding stopped me walking away early. Maybe the fish were just not in their regular haunts, and by haunts, I mean where I have in a blinkered manner become accustomed to catching them.

In a last ditch attempt to unlock this quandry I discarded my finely honed under-the-rod-tip rig in favour of a more suitable rig, which would allow me to lay my bait on hard on in the slow but persistent tow. The whole idea was that maybe the bigger fish were reluctant to leave the deeper water of the main trench. So I set up with a medium crystal waggler set over depth by some twelve inches, I cast my lob worm bait into new territory and waited...

Less than five minutes later the float dipped and I proved to myself its not what you think you know, but in fact what you are prepared to try that often makes the difference!

The first perch was just under two pounds, as were the next five. Even with the odd boat ploughing straight overhead these perch were more than happy to feed; but they would not venture out of the boat track for love nor money. You know when perch are having it, as you start having to really search through the bait tub that was once crawling with worms just to find one. Having just done a quick count when a barge passed and found my fifty worms were now seven, I re-baited and dropped the float back into the small area I had been sparingly baiting. 

The next bite was different from the rest... Perch being perch generally just bury the float after a quick dip. Personally I have always thought that the dip is when they suck the worm in and the bury is as the move. But this bite lifted the float as the two small shot that I had placed to help hold bottom and then the float began gentle moving with the tow. Believing a fish was causing this I struck and found a small roach was the culprit. This was quite unusual as I have literally in hundreds of hour fishing this stretch, never caught one other roach and that was at least a pound bigger than this one.

Wondering if there might be more, I dropped the bait exactly were the last one had come from and straight away there was interest. An identical bite as before was hit, and I was expecting another little silver thing to come splashing in, but no, this fish bent the rod well over and began flying around the swim. One single flash of silver and my heart was pounding. The second flash and I was begging out loud for it not to come off... And then it was in the net.

Looking down at the fish resting in the net I truly and honestly thought I had a two pound fish. Just seeing the length of it as it lay on the soft grass I was convinced it was a two. Over twelve inches long and as perfect of a roach as I have ever seen in my life. This one looked like it had never been caught ever before.

My second big roach from this amazing little bit of canal and it was only three ounces shy of two pounds. If one pound thirteen ounces is summer condition, surely that can only mean that this fish will be two pounds once its stored up the necessary supplies of fat for winter. Even though I intend to go back to try and break that special weight later in the year, it was truly a high point of my angling life to have been lucky enough to catch such a wonderfully perfect roach as this, and I thank old Isaac that I changed from my normal tactics as I don't think I would have caught this otherwise.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Not quite as easy as one, two, three.

I have often thought myself and Barbus barbus are like two positively charged ions, we seem to repel one another! After a few fruitless forays and a shove by a good friend in the right direction I think I might be becoming a bit more of a negative in this dynamic, and in doing so me and my old adversary might actually seem to be a little more attracted to each other. Not that I was never attracted to them, more that anything that could go wrong, would go wrong when I tried to catch one. 

My first session on this venue was disaster, my second was somewhat less so; on that second session I did at least come in contact with a barbel if only briefly... In an awkward swim where the best place to cast was just out of reach I persevered fishing a small mat formed around a trailing willow branch, and after numerous chub-like rattles on the rod tip I got the now sacred three foot twitch. After hitting and holding, the fish swung quickly out into the flow and then equally quickly back, ending up well and truly stuck in snag. I will go on record as saying this was the sweetest lost fish I have ever had in my life as after trying every trick I know, from slackening off, changing the angle and trying to pull through, the dull thumping on the end of my line stopped. I hate having that feeling that I have left a fish possibly tethered and would rather never catch another fish in my life than leave one caught up. With great sorrow I concluded my only option was to pull for the break and hope that my free running rig would drop off the soon to be broken line.

The one thing I did discover in this crappy situation was how good the integrity of my rig was, when the drooping willow branch soon started to move under the strain of my locked up clutch. Then low and behold, the lead appeared followed by my hook link. The joy at finding the fish had got off in the snag was what made that loss so sweet, and soon enough an ounce an half of lead flying through the air had me diving into the undergrowth.

My next session I fished a recently vacated swim down stream of the snag swim. I knew there was fish in the area as Baz had landed four from the every swim earlier in the afternoon. Knots checked, I cast out towards the opposite bank and waited. It's hard to sit on your hands when some very determined chub are plucking your pellets so hard that you're getting bites that would normally be manna in the winter. But hard as it was I waited and sure enough after a while the rod buckled over as a barbel turned off bait in mouth.

Personally I feel that in the first few moments of a barbel fight you can never know how big a barbel is, as they all go like stink on that savage first run and this one was no different. With my rod held low and maximum pressure, that first run was subdued and a sprightly spirited barbel came out into the safety of the main flow. Truthfully I could not have cared if it was three or thirteen pounds as it crossed the net because for me, getting that barbel jinx off my back is the hardest thing every year. It did turn out to only be a little one but I can truthfully say it was one of the most satisfying.

After that first one I didn't have to wait long for the next bite either, though how I turned a proper 'fish on' bite into striking into thin air I don't know. That didn't matter as my next cast again hit that sweet spot a foot off the willow leaves, and my third bite came moments later from a powerful near six pound fish which took me on a merry dance around the swim.

Whether six fish out of the same swim in one day was too much pressure or whether the fish actually came out of the snag and into open water as dark fell, I couldn't say, but weirdly the activity dropped off as the bats appeared in the night sky. I did not care at all as the monkey was well and truly off my back and I could now start enjoying my barbel fishing properly.

If I wasn't keen enough to return a few days later I nearly boiled over when a couple of decent downpours topped up the river. After watching a small spike appear on the Environment agency graph it looked like the Avon might for once be in the right condition when I arrived.

When I first saw the river in the half light I could just see the normally highly visible fronds of weed were at least half obscured by the clearing water, as I headed back to the previously highly productive area. Sadly though after an hour and a half of perseverance I had only had a few lack lustre chub nibbles. Not wanting to waste good time in a swim which I was convinced should have produced quite quickly, I upped sticks to fish another swim I had my eye on.

With my bait comfortably cast to an over hanging tree on the inside edge I thought it might take a while for a bite to emerge, so I set about knocking up a few more PVA bags of pellets. Yes and you've guessed it, the moment I began twisting that first bag ready for knotting, the rod was rammed around. I wasn't sure if it was a mad-ass chub or a barbel as the bite was so vicious, but the initial fight was not too savage. Then as the fish vibrated upstream the line fell slack. Undeterred I quickly finished making a few bags before recasting, but no others materialised.

Now I found myself in a quandary; should I stick it out in a known hot spot or take my chances upstream in the shallow but coloured water? A week prior to this I had walked all through the shallows checking out possible holes to fish, and save a few blasé chub and pike it seemed rather lifeless, but I knew some of the snags held barbel and this colour might have inclined them from there hidey holes. This might be my best opportunity to take advantage of the coloured water. So I took a chance and went off to search them out rather than wait for them to find me.

I ended up fishing a  jungle of a swim I had clocked out the previous week. The main flow of the river gets channelled into a rip right down the centre of the river by a jutting reed bed on which I was sat and a very extensive bit of cover on the opposite bank. At the start of the over hanging willow was very shallow but from what I had seen previously it deepened off under the cover and ended in a big slack behind it.

The river here is so narrow I could just about swing my rig into place and almost cushion its landing as it went in, it was that close. In a way its an awkward swim to fish with extra water in the river, as my line was cutting straight through the main flow and my bait had ended up just at the end of the cover on the crease formed by the fast water and the slack meeting. My hope was that any of the fish that I assumed normally were tight under cover might be either out in the deeper water, or may move in and out of it looking for passing food in the faster water.

There was certainly some small fish topping in the eddy behind the trees and they were even quite interested in my baits initially, but soon enough all went quiet. The rig was holding so rather than recast I held fast and waited. After about half an hour my phone rang and it turned out to be one of my little brothers calling for a chat. I automatically use my left hand to hold my phone when I am fishing and thank god I do as a few minutes into our conversation my rod jumped forward a foot as an attached barbel dived under the cover. Squealing like a little girl that I had a fish on and would call him back, I tossed my phone over my shoulder hopefully onto the ground and applied maximum pressure to try and extract the fish from under the willows.

Finally after a real tug of war, I spotted a flash of colour at the edge of the over hanging trees before I watched the vague shape of a barbel glide out into the main flow then dive back towards the cover, stripping line off my reel. This turned out to be this fishes major tactic. Three or four more times it did the same before settling deep down in the main current just holding head down. Careful patience won the day though and a big rubbery mouth soon appeared just off my waiting net.

With the fish safe and recuperating in a convenient notch in the reeds I went about looking for my abandoned phone, which I found standing straight up in the mud and still saying I was still on the line with my brother. After establishing he had long rung off I began trying to calm down and get everything in place to sort the fish out. She certainly had recovered and was a little lively to say the least. But lucky for me I had my Korum sling mat with me all wet and ready to cradle her.

I was well over the moon to catch such a lovely lump of a fish from such a tiny and intimate swim. She even acquitted her self amiably whilst I carefully did some self takes before holding her in the flow and watching her slide across the flow back under the trees into her snaggy home.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Scottish fruit

I did not have a successful weekend angling wise. Though I cannot say I did not enjoy it. Spending time on the river though fruitless, was enjoyable. So rather than bore you with a tome about me blanking I will instead spend a short time extolling the virtues of what I consider to be one of the true wonders of cuisine. The scotch egg!

The scotch egg was claimed to be invented by the department store Fortnum and Mason in 1738 as a picnic food, though most believe their less spicy version was a revamp of the Mugul dish Nargis kofta, where a boiled egg is encased in a spicy kofta meat before deep frying. As to whom invented it,  I care not. I am just glad it was invented.

I, like my good friend Baz consider myself to be rather an aficionado on the subject of scotch eggs. Having had a job which let me travel all over the country I have tasted many localised versions from a variety of suppliers, some big some small. 

One local example the loss of which I mourn regularly was the simple freshly made version made by Garners of Spon End, Coventry. On a Friday morning you could purchase them, still hot, from a metal bowl on their counter. Now sadly Garners is gone and the proprietor reportedly refused to ever share her recipe with anyone before retiring, so this shining eggsample was lost to the passage of time.

What it is that appeals so much to me about the humble scotch egg that it is meal all in one, or even better, a breakfast all in one; a boiled egg, sausage meat and bread crumbs - all the ingredients of a sausage and egg butty in one convenient transportable package. And what inspired this is the personification of my convenient breakfast vessel theory.

Whilst perusing the stalls of Warwick market I came across the Cotswold Pie and Pudding company and amongst the veritable temptations they offer I discovered the 'Black watch egg'! Named after the Scottish regiment, this edible wonder combines my all time favourite food, black pudding into the sausage meat to produce a true breakfast experience suitable for any anglers early morning sustenance.

'Get some!'

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Lake # 21 one in a million cast

I paid an unusual visit to Coombe pool one night the other week. Though me going to Coombe for an evening session is not actually that unusual, what I went to do was! You see on my last few visits there has been some different goings on afoot.

To fully explain this I must go back in time a few years. As I have said before, the lake that is Coombe pool has loomed large in my life ever since I was in my early teens and I first cast into it's difficult water. Back then it was a different place entirely. Just fishing a simple float rig in the edge twenty years ago would bring a veritable cornucopia of fish. As I grew older and found myself in my late teens and early twenty's my angling had evolved as had my tackle and around 1997 (I remember that year specifically as on the way there one day I heard on the radio that Princess Diana had died) fishing a waggler at the end of the lily beds over a good bed of ground bait you could fill a net with skimmers, bream, big perch, tench and roach that went from 'ugh' right through 'oh my god'. I don't remember when it happened for sure, but some time after this the sport seemed to just evaporate. I do remember a year when skimmers became so prevalent that the water boiled with them. From then on the things just got harder and the once great bream water of yesteryear seemed to decline away from its former glory.
On and off from then till last year I and many others dipped their toes into Coombe's water and again and again we all walked away vowing never to return. After many years of fishing away from Coombe I began to gain some perspective on how hard other waters can be and I think it was that idea that got me pondering Coombe again. Then last year by fishing 'bait and wait' tactics I realised for myself that the were still in Coombe, it's just their habits and environment had changed. Before in the wonder years Coombe always had a distinct tinge of colour, the sort of colour that has self respecting barbel anglers speeding towards rivers like tramps towards chips, whereas now most of the time it resembles more of a gravel pit style water, with gin clear water and excessive weed growth. But this might have come full circle now, as on one occasion last year the water coloured up and suddenly the fishing went mad and now this year, for the second time it seems on the same path.

The indicators of change started bleeping a few weeks ago when I fished two eel session on back-to-back weekends. On the first one I never got harassed that much, but Dave the chap fishing next to me got a lot of attention fishing maggot rigs. It was the next session that drove me insane as my worm baits got smashed up very quickly by small fish. Then again when fishing Coombe on few days later, the amount of small fish topping seemed rather excessive.

It was the intrigue to find out what was going on that drove me to go down to the bank only armed with a light feeder outfit, to try and see what sort of silver sods were harassing my bait. Oh and to have a crack at one of the most hair-brained things I have ever attempted on the lake and which I will only discuss if it ever works...

Knowing that the weed is romping up in the water I decided to fish a clearish area I know and to use dead maggots in both my ground bait and on the hook. The area was conveniently at the very limit of my light feeder rod so no clipping up or line markers were needed to hit the spot. It was just a case of firing the feeder as far as it would go.

I was very happy that my first cast resulted in a nice six ounce rudd but then I was not so happy when I cracked off my feeder second cast due to the line wrapping round the tip ring. Once set up again the next cast another rudd then that was followed by another then another then a roach. It went on like that all night and by dark I had put together a very respectable catch whilst confirming that yes the silvers were back in force or that they had never gone away. If they had always been around the current feeding frenzy must purely be down to the colour in the water as at the moment visibility is at around six inches tops.

It was towards the end of the session that the most amazing thing happened and I hit that one in a million cast. After missing a sitter of a bite I began reeling in and felt a dull resistance on my line. On several casts I had picked up some random bits of weed so that what I thought I had done. Turned out I had hooked something but not a fish or weed. I saw the three metres of line trailing from it first as it surfaced then it clicked I had picked up someones lost rig. No I couldn't be mine I hear you say. Well it was! I had managed to actually hook my own feeder off the bottom and the hook was in the feeder not on the line.

Since that session I have mulled over this upsurge in fish activity and concluded that the colour in the water correlates to the recent rains we had. Much like the rivers, Coombe colours up when extra water enters the lake via the brook in the park. As with many bits of river the fish come on the feed hard in these turbid conditions. Which is purely a confidence thing, as the fish in Coombe have more predators on their doorstep than most of the other fish in Warwickshire combined.

It was an interesting enquiry to say the least and after coming to my own conclusions I have to offer this bit of advice to anyone who might want to take advantage of this micro up turn in sport and relive the wonder years of Coombe "wait for it to hammer it down for a week then get on it!"

Thursday, 8 August 2013

I luurve gold.

I think I might be in love with a fish.... or should I say I am in love with the idea of what a specific fish should look like. You see this year I have tried to be a little more species-specific in targeting what and when. For an extreme example, carp fishing in January would be a no-no, whereas pike fishing in October would be an, ooh yes. Though these are extreme examples it gives an idea of what I have tried to do. The whole reason I am attempting to keep up with this ethos is quite simply a case of time management. Having so many species I wish to fish for throughout the year it makes sense for me to fish at the optimum times when I am more likely to catch them, rather than wasting time fishing fruitlessly for other species because want has superseded sense. It is this want that has in the past resulted in me missing my window of opportunity to fish for one species whilst fishing for other. It was one such missed opportunity, and the species involved, which inspires me now.

I nearly went to the canal the weekend just passed, but when the idea of returning to Snitterfield to fish for Crucians arose, it just seemed the right fish at the right time. I still kind of regret not fishing it last year and having done so well already there this year I had to go back again, and boy, how well it went.

To regale a story of me fishing a classical lift float would be an honour, but it would also so be a lie. As great as this method is for registering awkward bites I think in all honesty there is more sensitive methods. You see, once upon a time I harboured a real passion to become a garish clothing clad match man; I had all the gear and diligently practised the art of pole fishing, and although that phase of fishing passed for me lot of the techniques I learnt have become very useful parts of my now more specimen orientated approach.

Specifically two aspects of pole fishing have blended integrally to my crucian fishing. The first is the use of a pole pot. Quiet, accurate and reliable these ninja like devices get bait onto tiny areas with zero noise and disturbance. They even allow you to do as I did on this occasion and deposit small compacted balls of ground bait which break down on the bottom along with loose fluffy ground bait which clouds up the water dispersing scent far and wide at the same time.

The second is the use of float floats. Until anyone truly begins pole fishing a lot they have zero appreciation for the millions of types of pole floats available, or what they are used for and when. The simple fact that makes me use them time and time again is the resistance factor of zero they possess. This is where they win out for me over any other methods float fishing for crucians. The tiniest rise on even the finest float fished lift float style translated to a pole float is a sail away.

So Sunday morning I arrived a very low reservoir and began plumbing up the spot I liked with my 4 x 10 kc carpa straight ace float. The float was only one part of my attack for the session and the other main component was a fourteen foot float rod which I intended to use rather like a pole to keep my rig on a very short line. With a clear level spot located I potted quite a large quantity of my all time favourite Bait tech special G green ground bait in along with some generous amounts of 3mm halibut pellets. It is at this point that I think the  match angler in me might have been thinking 'I might be overdoing it a bit' and where the specimen angler in me would was just telling me to 'wedge it in and they will come'.

By the time I had finished setting up, the spot was bubbling like a cauldron and I was thinking I may have done for the crucians and attracted the bream, but first flick in my pellet made it to the bottom unhindered then the float dipped slightly before sliding away and my first crucian juddered off around the swim.

The first cast contacting a crucian was a good sign. Then the flood gates opened and they flowed through one after another. I was truly amazed at how much of a dominant force this new stock of crucians have become in snitterfield. I landed easily ten of them before they went off the boil and not one other species managed to get a look in. Their growth rate seem phenomenal too! I caught a few of these on my last visit only two months ago and compared to then the average size seems to have increased by a large amount. Every single one was immaculate. Deepening bodies, scale perfect and fighting fit.

After topping up the swim I switched to fishing an up-in-the-water rig over a area I had been trickling maggots onto. I am little haunted by a roach I saw caught a few years ago which was massive hence every time I have fished snitterfield since I have always spent some time fishing up in the water where these roach seem to hang out in the summer. Before even switching to this second line I had seen swirls of flashing silver shortly after each pouch of maggots went out.

First chuck I hooked a strong fish which turned out to be a roach bream hybrid of well over two pounds. Then after that it was pretty much all roach! I had five around a pound on the trot. The biggest being this long lean 1.3lb fish. In autumn condition it would easy make one and half and if it had a deeper body type it might even make that sacred weight on a good day.

Its surprising how much maggot you can use trying to keep these fish frenzied up in the water. In no time at all I was scrabbling around in the bait tub trying to scrounge the last of my two pints of maggots up for freebies. With them gone so were the fish, just like that.

Maggots gone it was straight back onto the inside line after those perfect little pixies. And they were there and waiting. Six or more brought a smile to my face before a carp turned up. I wasn't as lucky as on my last visit and the culprit smashed me up quicker than I could blink. I once watched a carp clean out a swim I had built up all morning in about two or three sucks here at snitters. So before re-rigging I once again topped up the swim.

After settling back into the swing of thing the crucians came along in small spurts. Once I caught one then three, four or five more would follow in quick succession. The only thing that put a dampener on this crock of gold was the slowly increasing rain. Thinking it would only be a shower I neglected to bother with the umbrella and as the wind was coming straight into my face it just would never of worked. Even with the crucians still obliging I could feel my self getting wetter and wetter even though the water proof top was holding off most of it, the damp still found its way into my clothes.

By the time I had had enough of the incessant rain I reckon I had landed maybe twenty five or more of these perfect little crucians and although I didn't get into any of the big old fish this session has reiterated to me of what potential this water now has.

With so many text book crucians like this one feeding  as hard as they are and seeming growing so fast Leamington angling association might well have one of the top crucian waters in the entire country on their hands in years to come, and I just love them so I can see me being a Leamington member for years to come.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Thank god that weeks over.

I think I have lost my mojo of late. It was inevitable that it was going to happen as after a high always comes a low. Three times I have fished in the past week and each time something has not been quite right in all honesty.

Chasing bubbles

We have all done at one time another and undeniably sometimes it pays off. But chasing bubbles if you think about it is quite possibly a futile pastime. I mean yes, there are times when those attractive bubbles that you see dimpling the surface of the smooth surface can mean nothing but a fish is causing them. Like when tench are hard on the feed and vast clouds of tiny bubbles break the surface all at once making an audible fizz, or when you can actually see a carp rooting round on the bottom sending large blooping bubbles up to the top. But these few examples of fish-related bubbles although specific are probably quite rare. Consider how many bubbles rise on even a tiny pond through the course of a day, never mind through a prolonged period of warmer weather and soon you realise that of what we see hit the surface, probably less than twenty percent is fish related.
The possible origination of any one bubble that defies gravity in itself is massive. Ignoring the overly romantic idea that most of us anglers have that bubbles are fish falling for our infallible rouses, the fact is that any one of hundreds of possibilities are the cause of a bubble. Most can probably be attributed to the decay of previously living matter, whether its the relatively quick breakdown of last years leaves or the long term breakdown of silt, it is more than likely this that is responsible for the majority of what we see.

It was this temptation which I fell foul of when I last visited the lake. Arriving early evening I found which I assumed to be fish feeding all over one area of the Coombe and yes, in a what I can hardly describe as a  minor moment of misjudgement, I foolishly spent an entire evening casting to what I was convinced were feeding fish. It wasn't until the sun dipped behind the wood on the far side of the lake and the shadows grew long that the bubbling petered away that it clicked; the dropping water temperatures reduced whatever was causing the gases to rise from the silt leaving the water like a mirror and me feeling kind of foolish.

Trash fish harassment

I have heard the reference 'trash fish' used colloquially by some American anglers more and more since the Internet has broadened our angling horizons, and from what I can tell the reference refers to fish that are considered to be second class or a nuisance. Although I would never agree that any fish is better than another, I could not possibly deny with any clear conscience that ocassionally I find some fish a nuisance when fishing for another. So it is through clenched teeth that I use it.

Sunday after some well needed rain I, like many others, skipped happily towards the river thinking high temperatures combined with a higher water level and coloured water would mean the Avon's Barbel population would feed with the gay abandon of a kids in a sweet shop. Frankly they probably did somewhere in the river, just not where I was fishing. But I must say at this point that even if they were there and did feed, chances were that they never got near my baits as the local bream population had become rather stimulated by my bait and antics. It hard to be ungrateful with a bend in your rod but on this occasion I did a pretty good job of it! As time and time again those snotty brown buggers hung themselves up on my rig, and even with a respectable daytime match weight to my name, I could not help but think of this a failure of a session, hence no pictures.

Not one thing right! 

We all have bad sessions when you can't do a dammed thing right, I know. But knowing that does in no way stop us from beating ourselves up when it happens. Hence on a slightly detoured trip I found myself a guest on a stretch of the Avon which has a good reputation for barbel fishing, that was in prime condition and even worse was producing multiple catches of barbel on that very night...

You all know the sort of session I had. It was one of those ones where you just can't settle. Where the next peg along looks better than yours and when you do move you find yourself thinking, was I better off back there? My tactics didn't fit and nether did my attitude considering the time constraints. 

I must have fished five swims between seven and ten and not one did I feel I fished well. Worst of all I got the distinct feeling that in at least two of the afore mentioned swims there was certainly fish. In those cases I reckon my atom bomb antics may of alerted any fish present to my presence. Every cast I made seemed to end up in the wrong spot or go in hard and my teeth were left cold time and time again from my incessant inhaling of air.

In the end and on the verge of just leaving I opted to just go up to a swim near the exit of the fishery and camp out in the simplest of swims and wait. Considering how badly I had done and how loudly I had gone about it I saw no harm in switching from lead to a feeder. Frankly it made no more noise than any of my other rigs had entering the water and after waiting half an hour until my white rod dip began to merge into the dark my tip bent round. It was no barbel that took pity on me but instead a chub of less than two pounds. That was it for me; I was very, very done.

Looking back now I could happily remove 26th of July - 3rd of August from my fishing life. But then again maybe I shouldn't! Its true that when we have these runs of bad form it makes you feel pretty crappy but conversely when it comes good after a bad spell it always feels that much better when it ends. After all, if its all good you stop appreciating what you've got when you have it all the time. So a little perspective can only be a good thing. That's the way I am looking at it anyway and roll on next week.