Wednesday, 31 October 2007

They're out to get me!

It was so nice to be back in Holland to see our friends, have a few drinks, some nice food and then get up early to go fishing! The journey across the channel was tiring, too for some reason, and I had a nasty, niggling headache as I carried the gear along the bank before first light. However, last night was pleasant, staying with Renita and having a nice meal just opposite her apartment. Unfortunately Patrick has to work all weekend, so we’ll only be seeing him in the early morning or late night.

This morning was damp, from heavy dew, although the mist was soon wafted around by the slight breeze as I set up in the same swim as last year. There was a significant difference this year, though, in that the reeds that edge the side of the river as it opens into a larger pool of probably 4 or 5 acres haven’t been cut down yet, so I placed the rod rests in the water to the right of the wooden platform.

I don’t like platforms much; I feel as if they’re just waiting to crumble beneath your feet, trip you up or send sufficient vibration into the water to scare the fish for a reasonable distance into skulking on the bottom in a non-feeding torpor. I’m probably wrong, but I do think that platforms are out to get you.

The first of the two rods was cast, without float, along the reed beds ahead of me as the river opened up. The bait was half a herring. The other rod was fitted with a float and cast as close as possible to the reeds, to the right of the other rod, into the river proper, this with smelt on. There seemed to be some flow on the river this morning, culminating in me lifting this latter rod high to lift as much line off the water as possible. At seven thirty, though, just half an hour after setting up, the herring rod was away, but after a brief sensation of head shaking weight, it was off. I cast out again, replacing the herring half with another, and on setting the rod down, the float from the second rod began its dance.

With the mist still swirling around me, I managed to quickly chin lift the 4 pound (or so) jack, quickly unhooking it and returning it, barely lifting it from the water, when the alarm from the first rod sounded again. I lifted into the fish which instantly went into overdrive, tearing line off the clutch and taking the rod into a serious curve. It was a good fish, but how good? It certainly fought well, barely giving up as it was swept into the net. I was fairly non-plussed to see that it was about 8 or 9 pounds, although on weighing it became a fat 10 and a half pounder, it was such a good fight, I was convinced it was an upper double, but the scales or the tape measure don’t lie, and neither did my eyes. Weird!

I stayed busy though. I had cast out the second rod and started on a brew, nursing my worsening headache, when the mackerel on the ledger rod was taken, the alarm emitting a series of bleeps, rather than a continuous, full throttle run. Again I lifted into the fish, and again it felt heavy, but not as hard fighting as the last. It weighed almost sixteen pounds! Just goes to show that some instincts in fishing can’t be trusted.

I then had a hiatus for an hour or so, which gave me time to arrange the photographing of the larger fish, the chance to have a complete cup of tea and the opportunity to clear up the swim, before landing the final two jacks, the largest eight pounds or so.

Soon, the sun had risen high enough in the sky to cast its full warmth upon me, making my brain boil even more, so it was time to clear up and clear off for a well deserved catch up on sleep and a quiet afternoon reading a couple of good books.