Yesterday was a magical session, and not only because of the fishing.
I had to fish during the late afternoon and into the evening,
until dusk, because of other commitments, and I was looking forward to being on the banks of The Other Pool at twilight.
I put lights on my bike and set off, to tackle the seven or so miles
to the lake, past fields of flowering oilseed rape, which were intoxicating, both with their scents and brightness of their undulating yellow fields.
I travelled quickly, and I was soon setting
up on the bank, in the corner of the dam swim, before creeping down to the pipes swim, where the farmer’s irrigation pipes take water for fruit bushes.
There was, initially, a heavy chop
on the water and, although I intended to free-line flake, I decided to put a small sight-bob on, so I wouldn’t have to concentrate so inventively on twitches in the bowing line, in blustery and poor light conditions.
Around 30 minutes later, the yellow bob shot three inches over the surface, stopped, then slid away. I struck and found myself playing an average-sized common for the pool, - but one of the best-looking commons I have ever seen; a
miracle of dark bronze, muscle and sinew, and a very strong battler too.
The was no further action in the pipes swim, and two hours on, some inner voice was calling me to the reedy bay
This was odd, because that swim has not produced a great deal this year; - in fact, on most occasions, it has been notable for the absence of fish.
But the carp were there yesterday evening, including a long common that was swimming quickly around in circles, in a youthful and aggressive manner. It was obviously a young and, I think, rather a weighty fish.
This particular carp soon vanished off the scene. Perhaps I disturbed it. But I didn’t mind too much because free offerings of crust were being taken against the reeds, about 30 yards away from my bank.
Changing my fluorocarbon line to a specialist floater line, I found I could consistently land a hunk of crust just inches from the reeds. Don’t get me wrong, on many occasions I can be a ham-fished
caster, like anyone else; but yesterday it all went right.
I missed a few confident takes, however, and I realised that my upward strikes would not do, and I couldn’t strike sideways because
of the luxuriant vegetation either side. So, the next time, I cast out as usual then walked to my right, through the bankside growth, to put a considerable angle between my rod top and the crust. I felt sure that I would not set the hook, particularly as a
breeze was straightening my line out beautifully, as the crust drifted down the reeds.
Another swirl and another take, and this time the hook found its hold. It was another average-sized carp,
but how it fought! I had to use a great deal of pumping and strong-armed tactics to defeat its runs and deviations, not least because there are many sunken wooden pilings by the reeds – the remains of an ancient platform, I suspect.
I returned the fish and, as the light began to really dim, I decided on one last cast.
This time I struck into a heavier fish, the best of the day;
but the same heavy playing tactics soon began to tell, and soon enough she was mine.
I returned her to the bay, tackled down, and began to contemplate the long bike ride home, down the winding
country lanes of Herefordshire.
Even this necessity was a pleasant one, thanks to the scents and sights of the oil-seed rape fields and the sound of a cuckoo, the first one I have heard this
year, which hailed me from a nearby wood, while I cycled by.