Two winters, two springs and a summer have passed since I last fished Coombe. Though I haven't really had time to think about it, there were odd moments when my mind drifted back to it and I pondered what was going on over there. This year though I seem to be finding a bit of time and pre June 16th I surmised that a season ticket might be a viable option, although night fishing still feels to be a little out of synch with my life. A day season ticket though would enable me to spend some time on the bank and possibly enable me to catch the fish here or there.
If I have concluded one thing about this lake that is key over all else; success hangs simply on the knowledge of where the fish are. I've wasted many a random day turning up to the lake and going where I think there might be fish, rather than where I know there is fish. Bearing this in mind I have begun my efforts this year gently, snooping round the banks clad in green peeping through polarized eyes.
The first look on the private bank one Saturday afternoon was informative yet worrying. With the sun out and from a slightly elevated bank I could see right through the shallow water all across the lake and not many fish were seen at all, bar what I suspect was a group of three tench in a bay, drifting along in the late afternoon sun. I must say at this point that my mooching is being combined with a little surface lure fishing for the resident pike, and it would seem this might have some mileage as I raised two nervous follows and one wild attack from jacks that were lurking around bank side patches of weed.
Having seen little to whet my appetite on the first visit, a second reccy was to be on the public bank. This time I hoped that the dense lily beds might hold both information and pike. It's been a good while since I did the long walk, but as I stepped through the gate I remembered how evocative the path leading to the lake along the reed bed can be. Though the sight of it also reminds me how soul destroying it can be on the return journey after a blank.
In truth the first twenty pegs seemed as barren as ever. I did not spot so much a lingering perch in the vast weed beds and even as my weed free frog lures were working perfectly in amongst the pads, I couldn't locate any pike. I did however finally see signs of life further round the lake. From about forty meters out the water was being coloured up by what had to be feeding fish. The wind and ripple was pushing the coloured water into the lily pads and after watching for a good half an hour, I began to see the pads sending out ripples as hidden fish fed amongst them.
Happy from finally seeing a few feeding fish, I continued round the bank to a more open area where I fancied I might be able to have a go with some larger surface jerk baits I had just purchased and was desperate to use. I removed the plastic frog and huge worm hook from my trace and gleefully dug out a 24 gram mirror lure He dog from my lure box. A little flick out to see what it looked like in the water and to check it floated and I was ready to fire out half way across the lake.
I remember positioning the rod over my right shoulder and them pushing hard forward loading up the rod blank against the weight of the lure, then... CRACK! I actually felt the tension on the rod give and reactively closed my eyes waiting for something hit me, but nothing did and my eyes tracked along the rod to see the top eighteen inches hanging on the line above the lure. In the blink of an eye my one piece Shimano AX player had become a two piece rod, split unevenly between a four and a half foot butt section and the now swinging eighteen inch top section.
The break was a bit perplexing in truth. I've broken a few rods over the years: first was a float rod I was using as a ledger rod as a kid, that crunched much as you would expect cheap carbon too; years later a carp buckled over a fiberglass pole I was using, making a very similar sound to the first; the last was a barbel rod which I destroyed by wrapping round a tree after pulling for a break in a snag, although I can't remember the sound that made the end result was the same, splintered rod. This one though was different though! The crack was loud, very loud and the break as you can see was almost clean.
Whatever the result was my fishing for the session was cut very short, and after checking out last area which was devoid of life I began the long yet resplendent walk back to the car with a very perplexed look on my face and broken rod in hand.
The next day I popped back to the tackle shop that had supplied me with the rod to let them have a look at it. In their opinion it looks like there may have been some kind of fault in the blank that hasn't been picked up in manufacturing and in moving up to a much heavier lure than I have used before, the pressure has just been too much for the fault to take. So the broken rod is going back to Shimano and hopefully I might get a replacement soon.