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.
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.