Just lately I have been pondering the possibility of a new hat. Now to most normal people this would be a simple case of adding another hat to ones wardrobe, much as you would another jumper, but for me it's turned into quite a quest.
As you see I am in no uncertain terms a one hat angler; meaning that at any one time, barring substitute hats for winter when my protruding ears are at risk of being snapped off, I only wear one hat for fishing come rain or shine. Why this should be the case I am not exactly sure, but it is and that's why at this time of change I have found myself in such a quandary.
For the near entirety of my youth I sported what I often refer to as a Happy Mondays style hat which was put aside along with fishing from the ages of fifteen to nineteen whilst I was obsessed by chancing nothing but girls.
Early in my return to angling I won the only competition I have ever won in a fishing rag whereupon I received a black baseball cap with Kamasan embroidered on the front. This freebie stuck with me for a few years and was subsequently replaced with army green jungle style hat of which loved dearly and has served me well for a very long time.. until it went mouldy after being stuffed wet into my fishing bag.
The last hat in this abbreviated history of Daniel Everitt's hats is the one most people who have ever read this blog will be familiar with. The Hill billy chic camouflage baseball cap. Which I would like to add has driven my poor Jacqueline insane for some reason ever since it graced my head. Her constant pressure to replace it and annoying habit of whacking the peak in seeming anger at it, has driven me into a corner where my only option is new head gear. So for the past two months I have browsed every hat repository for fifty miles and tried on a multitude of hats including deer stalkers, other baseball hats, trilby's and even a bowler hat (which incidentally I came very close to buying). But finally I think I have found it.
The flat cap
It's strange that I should have ignored this head wear for such along time as of all the hats available this one is what the men of my family have traditionally worn. My father occasionally dons one and both my grandfathers wore them. One of which wore one so much that up until quite an age I was convinced that this was what his hair looked like. I am sure that the flat cap goes back much further into my family history judging from the areas of the country that both sides of my family emanate from. But why have I denied my birth right for so long. Maybe it's an age thing, maybe I didn't feel old enough to pull it off. But now it's on my head it feels strangely comfortable and even a little reassuring. So I will give a go and maybe even consider getting a waxed jacket to go with and possibly a mutt. A whippet or a Jack Russell should set it off just nice.
So wearing my new hat and having a morning to spend fishing I headed off out into the beautiful English countryside so I could appreciate the resplendent wind and drizzle at my pleasure. As well as trying my new hat I also wanted to try a new method which I have until now never tried.
Long range maggot feeder fishing using helicopter rigs in winter has accounted for some very large roach in the past and as I've heard along the grapevine that one of our club waters is rumoured to hold some very respectable Roach indeed. It seemed the perfect place to have a go at it.
Even though I was hell bent on whacking feeders out through the stratosphere a niggling thought in the back of my head made me only half commit and take a float set up to fish close in. The idea being that one or the other line should locate some fish and I was right. The float line died a death after I caught a few small perch and soon after this the feeder line lit up so I swapped my float rod over to a very light feeder rig to maximise my chances.
There is no doubt sitting behind two light rods perched on indicators roach fishing is an odd sensation. As most anglers would be far more at home trotting or even ledgering for them rather than fishing what is essentially carp style with light rods.
At first the sharp tugs were impossible to hit. But as I suspected that the roach were just plucking at the three maggot baits. I pushed the hook link which was trapped between a couple of float stops right down onto the feeder to create a self hooking rig. And low and behold it worked with a roach first chuck of the modified rig.
One thing that continued to bug me as I fished was how long the fish took to get on the bait. So in-between casts I did a little experiment. After filling my larger feeder, I dropped it in the edge to see how long it took the maggots to find there way out of the feeder.
I was surprised at what I saw! From the moment the loaded feeder hit the bottom to when the grubs made this attractive spread took and gargantuan 17 minutes. It took nearly five minutes for the first one to escape then once he'd gone most followed suit. What the picture does not show is the large amount which wriggled straight under the feeder and disappeared into the sand. But after seeing this it all made sense. The bites took ages to appear after a cast and probably came about when the freebies made a decent spread on the bottom.
My decision to commit both rods to this strange technique turned out be the right one as by off setting my casts of each rod by 10 minutes meant for the final three hours it was constant action. Cast one rod out then then by the time that one was all set to go, the other one went off and after landing the fish I repeated the process.
The only disappointment was the size of the fish. Although I landed 25+ roach not one was over 10oz but saying that there was not one under 5oz.
So by those results I can happily say the method works. All I have to do now is find some bigger roach!