It seemed like we all waited so long for the rivers to come good and then finally just before the end of the season they did. But there was to be no final hurrah for me. My river season ended like a silent fart, hardly noticeable but defiantly there. I don't mind admitting either that the downfall of my finale was largely due to my attitude.
Two weeks before the whistle blew I was able but hardly inclined to fish the river. Normally from Christmas right through to March fourteenth I develop a slow romance between myself and the river which is founded on freezing days dace and chub fishing when other anglers are deterred by the cold. This year with the floods this brief relationship never came and even when the river came on-line I found myself disconnected from the rivers and feeling my river skills were... well, a bit rusty.
My actual final outing saw me head to the Warwickshire Avon in search of big dace. This session had originally been allotted for me to join a friend fishing a small yet reportedly over-productive river where the dace are nearing special proportions. But as these arrangements are susceptible to we were unable to meet up due to other commitments. So I headed to a faithful old section of the Avon instead.
This is a difficult thing to write about in reality. It's one of those times when I was not lacking for bites or action and should I have not turned up to this float fishing party with two feeder rods I feel sure I could have filled a keepnet with enough dace and roach to give Alan Scotthorne an erection. But the reality was that for all the sport available I could not magic a twelve ounce fish from the millions, and I mean millions of two ounce fish.
A couple of pike turning up did form some interesting bends in my nine foot feeder rod here and there, but disappointingly I found my self running out of bait late in the morning and not being that bothered that I had to pack up and leave. Coincidentally my running out of bait happened not a moment too soon as more and more anglers showed up late on to try their hand ending their seasons with a bang and by the time I crossed the river there were at least ten others upstream of me, which is the most I have ever seen on that bit of river in years.
Then came a lucky twist to the day...
After joining my good lady for a peramble around a spring kissed park and late lunch in a nice restaurant, I happened to hint on the way home that given it was such a lovely day it would be a fantastic evening to be out fishing. Fifteen minutes later and I was on the road debating whether to head back to the river or drop round my friends lake for a cheeky session. Not wanting to go through the mill again with the river I opted for and hour lift float fishing with my chub gear.
The hidden pool was deserted when I arrived and even the irritating Canadian geese which have turned up to breed were being quiet for once. As I tracked round the edge of the water I came across an unusual sight for early March; in the last corner of the lake to catch the warm evening sun carp were hanging just under the surface. The water was obviously quite warm here and basking in the spring sun seemed quite popular with the pools residents.
I stood there thinking 'I can't... can I!'. Well it turned out I could! Starting slowly I broke the crusts of a slice of bread before breaking them again into small bits and then flicked them onto the surface. I love watching carp sometimes, it's like you can almost see what's going on in their heads. The crust drifted closer and one by one the carp stirred out of there slumber. At first one just nosed the crust but then soon enough sucked it in. Then another did, and another, and another. Once the first big slurp of the year occurred they all woke up as if someone had rung the dinner bell.
My gentle baiting soon became aggressive and the more bait that went in the more carp seemed to rise from the depths. Soon there must have been twenty or more fish sucking and slurping and the time had come to cast out. My free lined crust lasted a very short time on the surface before a small mirror took it. It was at this point that I was reminded it that even though these carp were feeding like it was a summer day, it was still only early spring.
That first fish hardly fought at all, it was almost as if it wasn't fully awake or it didn't have the energy for it, as it just skated weirdly straight into the net. Though after that first fish and more free bread the fishes activity increased and they woke up a bit.
Seven more followed in this my earliest surface session ever and although none of them will ever break the British carp record most were in nice condition and certainly lifted my fishing spirits after a mediocre last session on the rivers that ended in a psssssst.