Bites! They are whole reason we go fishing. I know sometimes we say otherwise. Like when we roll out that old line 'It's just nice to be out in the countryside', which we all know is code for I blanked, but where I blanked sure looked nice. Given a choice I feel sure any angler if they were truly honest might admit that they would take a single bite rather than have a morning fishing in the pond located in the back right corner of the garden of Eden. The other thing we cannot deny is that when we are out enjoying the countryside we are surrounded by a plethora of fishing gear, that we probably sweated like a hog in august just to get to the bank, and if we were just out to enjoy the vistas we may just be minus all that.
Bites though when we get them are wondrous thing,s which we have given as many names as we have thought of ways of getting them. Nods, dips, runs, tugs, pulls, twitch, bangs, jerks, whatever you want to call them they are essentially the moment that establishes a link between us and our quarry and also the thing we desire most.
Now I for one believe there is no such thing as a bad bite. It is just not possible. Fair enough there are bites from things you don't really want to catch, but as they nearly always end in a wriggle they can't be bad.
For me perspective plays a large part. By this I mean where and how you got the bite. On commercial lakes stuffed to the reeds with starving carp a float that spends as much time under the water as it does above expected, but on a half frozen river in the depths on winter a single slow pull from a wild chub is an exciting surprise.
Some bites have now become cold and heartless. I myself spend so much time sitting behind electronic bite alarms that I sometimes ignore and forget old methods that have put many smiles upon my face, and whilst under the digital spell of the bite alarm it was precisely when this occurred to me.
What is my all time top five favourite bites? I thought it over for a while and here they are in reverse order.
5. The almost secret swirl of a surface feeding carp as it engulfs your bait.
4. The 2ft twitch from a barbel in a warm witching hour.
3. The hoop of a big chub on a freezing river.
2. The sliding away of a big bulbous pike float on a chilly autumn day
1. The lift float bite from a tench on a misty lake on a summer morning
Just writing all five has me yearning to do them all and as my number one is aptly convenient right now I could not resist no matter what the consequences.
So on a summer Sunday morning I walked down to the misty quiet lake with little more than a rod and chair and after gently throwing in a little bait I sat and waited for fate to come my way.
There is no better sight
Here we go
The purity of the lift bite is amazing and what makes it stand out above all other bites is the amount of time it takes to develop. From the first hint that a fish is close by, then the rings that emanate from the float as your bait gets mouthed. Then when slowly the float rises before sliding away and you strike. Every aspect of it can be enjoyed and savoured before you connect with the powerful fish.
I had no thought that I would employ this tactic on the lake, but time on the bank has taught me otherwise and I have the cold aloofness of the bite indicator to thank for that. As whilst I have waited and used my ears to keep track of them, my eyes have been free to peer into the clear water and decipher closer goings on deep within the weed only feet from the bank.
After watching and savouring that wonderful bite I landed what for me, so far, has been the capture of this folly. It was not a giant and I did not have to wait 48hrs to catch it. But the capture this tench means probably more to than any of the other fish I have caught on the lake so far and maybe ever will.