I have been on holiday for a week and when I say holiday I don't mean I was sunning myself on some Mediterranean beach. Though it could be said I was living and working like a Spaniard! With the temperatures knocking close on thirty degrees I have spent my time slaving early mornings and late evenings building a new patio, whilst in between taking siestas away from the midday sun. Somehow I have managed to avoid sun stroke and now have an beautiful new bit of stone sun deck that catches the early morning heat a treat but is perfectly shady come the evening.
Even with labouring to be done I still managed to find time to squeeze in a few fishing trips here and there. Though in all honesty they have been much of a muchness in this savage heatwave. Thrice I visited the Avon in search of a barbel. On the first two attempts I got the distinct feeling I was wasting my time. On one of those sessions the eels, of which I am seeking on another venue but not the river, were so ravenous that anything I cast into the river seemed to attract them. Meat, pellets, boilies were all devoured by them and although one of the many usurpers was a respectable two pounds plus, they inevitably ruined my session. The next time it was bream who would not leave my baits alone and no matter how big the baits were they in the end managed to engorge my bait and hang themselves up.
My best chance I think came when I paid a visit to the BAA stretch of the Avon at wasperton. After arriving and finding the pegs I fancied occupied I opted to fish a large run of willows on the opposite bank around two thirds the way up the stretch. With no one insight I fished right at the top of the trees in a slow but covered swim and was able to tuck my bait under the cover and trickle in bait without fear of having anyone else drop below me.
It was one of those nights when the conditions felt very right. With the sun gone the air was cooling, and not long before dark crept close my rod tip nodded a few times indicating possible interest. As I crouched excitedly behind my rod waiting for a bite was sure was about to come I caught a rolling thumping sound which seemed to be getting louder. They appeared fast a flash dashing down the field behind the trees and straight towards the willows I was fishing. That old saying of tread quietly meant nothing to this excited string of horses and as they thundered past my rod tip arched over bouncing back and forth as unseen fish scarped out of the swim.
All that was left after they passed was what looked like a dozy old Irish cob scratching its arse on a tree, whilst I sat agog at what had just happened. By waiting till well into dark I did scratch a couple of tiny chub which came back into my swim as the dust settled.
Though I considered other outings the only firm plan I had made was to do the night at Coombe again at the start of the weekend. Eels once again my target species I trudged my kit around to the early pegs on the Lindley bank. It's not a long way, but it ain't an easy way either! Even with a well mown path the general unevenness of the ground topples even the best stacked barrow. Hence I carried my kit in two trips.
After a fruitless previous visit on a different part of the lake, which in hindsight I think may have been a little featureless, I set up in a the more feature filled narrow section of the lake hoping it might be a little more conducive to eel fishing. Just down the bank was an excited carp angler who upon arriving had found a large group of basking carp in residence and who informed me the area was alive with fish of all species. This seemed just right to me a duly I set up slowly aiming to cast out an hour before dark.
It turned out to be another duff night of eel fishing although I have to say it was by no means quiet. Having made the decision to only fish worms I soon discovered much to my annoyance that the large numbers of fish out in front of me were all determined to eat my bait, no matter how small they were or how big my baits were. From the moment I cast out till the time they had pecked my worms to bits my bite alarms constantly bleeped. Fishing baits off the bottom made no difference and by two in the morning I had been casting repeatedly all night and all I had to show for my efforts was a single shocked bream.
With wanting to catch no more than a forty winks, I in the end gave up and left them to the worms until the buzzers fell silent. After awaking naturally around six I decided to recast and let the rods fish until I was packed up ready for home. Once again the buzzers began and disheartened I began to strike camp. But! Just as I had my head in the shelter folding up my bed my left hand rod sounded a slow but constant take. Its always the way it is just as your about to leave something takes an interest.
I don't think I could believe my eyes when the small but determined fish surfaced out past the reeds. It was another Coombe carp. Anyone who does not know this lake will think me a little mental for getting excited by such a small carp. But quite truthfully I have heard of carp anglers fishing for years and never catching one and here I was with my second albeit a tiddler.
As I travelled the short distance home the presence of all those fish kept coming back into my head. On the session I had just fish they were no more than an annoyance. But if I was to return with lighter set-ups and if they were still in residence, maybe I could make a little hay whilst the sun shone. It is not that often that you find this water coloured up and with fish willing to feed with such gay abandon in day light hours. So I decided to return to the area within twenty fours hours with a good nights sleep in between.
The day between the two sessions bought to light an uncomfortable truth I hadn't realised! Not being a massive fan of mosquito repellent I try and avoid using it where ever possible and instead rely on mosquito nets and staying well covered where possible. I had as far as I was concerned been very diligent on this occasion. Turned out I hadn't been so careful as I first thought... No less than twenty seven red lumps arose all over my body. My left hand which must have been uncovered for some time well led the way with eleven bites all in a row. Some horrid critter had even bitten me through my trousers which I didn't think was even possible. But far the worst of all was a single bite just under my left eye brow which I suspected might be troublesome and was, as you will see later.
Sunday morning I returned and luckily no one had moved into the area. Maybe the news a carp had been caught hadn't got around as normally one whiff of a carp coming out and the carp lads are running for the area. I even got back onto the exact spot and even dropped a bait onto the same clear patch I had found in the weed a day ago.
Not wanting to over do it I baited one long and one short spot lightly and plopped a method feeder on each. Initially I fished popped up corn on both rods but from the general liners and nudges on the feeder I was getting I soon switched over to bottom baits. Fish were topping all over the area and soon enough the bream turned up and I landed three well conditioned fish up to seven pounds. The last of which I did a self take of. It was after I had recast and went back to have a quick look a the photo that I realised my left eye was more than little swollen.
After seeing that picture I suddenly became aware that my eye was well on the way to closing up with the swelling and maybe I might need to seek some attention before it got much worse. That was until I had a screaming run on my inside line. That run came to nothing but that combined with a tench rolling over the fresh cast bait confirmed I would take my chances and stick it out for a little while longer.
There was certainly tench around and the were certainly driving me crazy fizzing all over my baits whilst not taking a single one. Desperately trying to garner a hook up I went through the entire choice of baits available to me until I finally switched to the last few remaining lob worms I had from my ill fated eel session just passed.
Whole or split worms got interest but never produced. It wasn't until I cut a worm into small sections and threaded it onto a hair rig that I cracked the problem. It was only skimmers that fell foul of this rouse first but just after I decided it was my last cast three different tench fizzes surfaced all at once and I held off leaving...
The bite was one of the worst I have ever had jingling the bobbin up and down a few times and when I struck it felt like a skimmer had once again got hooked up. Half way back, which wasn't far at all the fish increased power tenfold causing me to quickly loosen my drag. A big swirl on the surface changed my mind on the culprit and I then suspected a small tench. It did a pretty spectacular run at the reeds next to my swim then turned and swan straight at my already submerged net. The fight had only been seconds and suddenly it was over the net so I lifted quickly shocked at what had just eased over the cord.
"eeeh!" those were my exact words as I looked into the net. I wasn't long but it was like a breeze block across the shoulders and when I lifted the net it was satisfyingly heavy. Then on the mat it was so deep and perfect I could hardly believe my eyes or eye for that matter. There has been reports of some big tench caught at Coombe this year and I saw a few swimming around the season just passed but this looked huge. Then when the scales stopped flickering I was really pleased. A new PB tench of 8.2lb and the fact that it came from this rock hard water and it was so perfect made it so much better.
I never cast out again after that as even though the fish looked amazing in the photo my eye seemed worse. So after packing up and yomping back to the car I headed off to spend the rest of the afternoon at the walk in centre waiting to see a quack to get to treatment for my eye.