This year has been the worse year to date for me. Lots of other hobbies have had to be put on the side line, until I recover from my injury. Fishing is one I can just about do (with some help), for me it’s great for de-stressing and strangely enough…healing.
Yesterday was a beautiful morning. On route to the river, my wife quickly points over to her right. A beautiful trio of Chinese water deer running across the frosty fields at full pelt towards the winter wheat fields. Definitely disturbed…. A thick mist hovering over the weir beside the old Roman bridge, making the place look more inviting each time I pass. I need to wet a line or two there.
I arrived at my location, the whippet jumps out of the truck and begins to twist and turn at full speed, leaving his footprints in the frost behind him as he goes. Head down he picks up various scents from animals that may have lurked during the night, weaving from left to right, looking up occasionally to see where I am. The cold vapours from his mouth form a cloud over his face. It sure was cold. A sharp whistle and he turns and runs back towards me. By the bank I peg the whippet down, otherwise he would be off hunting.
The 14ft acolyte rod is set up with my homemade porcupine quill, I dot the tip as low as I can get away with, just a sniff at the bait will sink that quill. As I was about to make my first cast I hear that unmistaken tap tap tapping! The chiselled beak of a woodpecker. I’ve not heard one for years. I couldn’t locate it’s whereabouts as it’s distinctive hammering was echoing through the spinney. I managed to quickly record it on my phone. It must have known I was doing this, as soon after it’s drumming had stopped. It’s tapping was probably a warning to the others that I’d been “Spotted”.
I used the left over slices of thick cut toasty white bread. Choosing a 9mm bread punch to try my luck on some bigger fish. With a nugget of black heavy groundbait thrown in every half hour. Not long after the fish arrived and were content to stay in my swim. Each silver I handled was freezing cold to touch and I could also see the groundbait stuffed in their mouths whilst unhooking them. They’re definitely stocking up before the winter arrives. The bites were constant, and on almost every chuck that quill disappeared under the water and another feisty red fin was swung in to my hand.
I lost a fish that felt decent, my rod was soaking up each hard knock the fish fired at me. My drag was releasing more line as it was fighting to get away, but it was no good. The quill shot up out of the water and into the air like a rocket whilst I ducked to not get hit! A Chub maybe…
The temperature was dropping quickly, the whippet began shaking and was giving me the eye, probably cursing me why I’d chosen him over my my longdog to come fishing. I did feel bad for him, but he works in much colder conditions than today without any complaint. My wife had sneakily put his coat in my fishing bag, I’m against dog coats and clothing such animals. But as he was not on the move so I put his coat on, he was very grateful when I did. His thin tail whipping against my knee and quickly started licking my hand to say thank you.
The last cast went on for further 45mins before I eventually gave in. I called my wife to come and collect me. Shortly I heard the distinctive diesel engine of the Land Rover coming down the track, the dogs ears pricked up and it’s tail waggling at some knots. My lift had arrived.
All aboard the defender and off home to warm up beside the log burner.