I didn’t plan to fish this week, because of low temperatures; but a last minute change of mind saw me on the bank of Clay Farm Pond this morning, while patches of white
still lay here and there upon the grass, as if Jack Frost had only been practicing in the night.
I had expected cat ice in the margins, but was pleasantly surprised by
its absence. I also had the weather-watching starlings to amuse me. Large numbers of the birds were roosting in the oaks behind me, and they would burst into a competitive clamour whenever the sun broke through the cloud, which was often. Once, however, the
sun was obscured by cloud, and the result was the same cacophony, except that the rooks joined in!
To my right was the bay with the little spring. I could hear its music
all day. It was a restful, reassuring sound as the immaculately yellow leaves poured down from the willows with only the slightest stirring of the air.
Suddenly, two kingfishers
flew across the tree-line, as if one were chasing the other, - sending it off. It was a most unusual spectacle and one I’d never witnessed before.
Yes, - a good day
for bird-watching; but what about for fishing? Well, as I expected, it was several long hours before the bites came. First to fall for the sight-bobbed flake was a very small common. This was followed shortly afterwards by a mirror, which gave a rather good
account of itself. It was a mirror with the relatively sparse scaling of the original stocked fish: proving its longer ancestry and showing that not every mirror succumbed during the long, cruel winter of 2010/2011.
The new mirrors are all heavily-plated and fully-scaled mirrors, and my last fish of the day came from this stock. It came in with barely a wag of its tail – making me suspect, once again, that such mirrors
are heat lovers and tend to go semi-comatose quickly when the liquid in the thermometer starts to fall.
I hooked and lost a larger fish within seconds, due to a hook pull,
and except for one small bream, my action was over for the day.
I missed a few unmissable bites at last knockings; but I strongly suspect bream or rudd were to blame, because
they have eyes much larger than their bellies and will avidly run off with the largest chunks of flake you can put on a size six.
While I packed away, and only then, I
realised how very cold I had become. I’d been seeing my own breath since 3pm but, like most anglers engrossed in the moment, I’d paid it no real attention.