Month: <span>April 2022</span>

I have been thinking about writing a general blog on my thoughts on angling for some time and now I have the ideal opportunity. Why? I hear you ask. Well, I woke up at five thirty last Saturday morning with a sharp pain in my chest which quickly tuned into an excruciating one and I was clammy and sweaty and began to lose my vision. By this time my wife and son were getting worried and urging me to get into the car and they would take me to A&E. That was all very well but I couldn’t move! Gradually the pain started to ease and I went downstairs and got in the car and soon arrived at A & E to find it mercifully quiet. For those of you who think I should have called for an ambulance I can only think that you haven’t had to do that recently, I would still be waiting!

Anyway, they triaged me and quickly took some blood tests and did an ECG which showed that I had a problem so I was admitted and the day was spent in taking tablets, having injections and blood tests and more ECGs. I was kept in overnight and transferred to the area specialist unit where I still am. I am much better but they are keeping me under observation and are going to do an angiogram some time. All I can say is that if you are going to have a heart attack don’t have it on a Bank Holiday! The emergency system still works but many of the other staff are on holiday and when they come back to work on Tuesday there is the Bank Holiday backlog to deal with!

So that is how come I have time to write about not going fishing, because I haven’t recently!

The catalyst for this particular blog was a discussion on a Facebook forum about how nice it was to go fishing now that the weather had improved and Spring was springing and it didn’t matter too much if you blanked or not. It made me think about my angling journey and how anxious I was to catch fish when I first started. I was lucky and did catch every time I went out and surprised myself with my first carp and some lovely tench and was really happy. How easy this fishing lark is, well until the day I got my first blank. Doubts set in, what was I doing wrong? How come I wasn’t catching in the same swim where I was pulling them out only a few days before? I was depressed and full of self-doubt and seriously thinking about giving up as I was just wasting my time. I chucked my gear in the shed and got on with other stuff.

It wasn’t long before I got the urge to go fishing again so I got my tackle out of the further recesses of the shed, checked it over, found my rough treatment hadn’t harmed it and went fishing. I had a good session and caught some nice fish so normality was restored. Some weeks later I blanked again and this time I took it better, it was one of those things that happened from time to time. It was about this time that I started to read angling books on Kindle unlimited and devoured one a week, books by matchmen, specialist anglers, carpers, etc. etc. and I began to understand just how many branches of angling there were. There are also some anglers who can only be described as eccentric in the finest British tradition. They don’t fish in the close season, even where it is allowed, they only use traditional cane rods, seek out waters that no-one else knows about or look for wild carp that have not interbred with modern strains, the list is endless. They talk about their lives and their friends and being in the country more than going fishing and what they catch.

This idea is not new, Arthur Ransome wrote a weekly column on fishing for the Manchester Guardian in the nineteen twenties and he was an expert at writing a weekly column on fishing without mentioning casting a line on the water! His articles were made into a book with the title “Rod and Line” which is available secondhand cheaply. Reading it nearly a hundred years later it is rather old fashioned, middle class and quaint but overall still as relevant today as it ever was.

Another guy that writes about fishing is Fennel Hudson. He is one of the eccentrics that I mentioned  and has gone through the stages of living and working in the country, moving to the city and joining the rat race then having a breakdown and moving back to the country to find tranquility. He wrote about this in a journal and has written other books and has his own website. He is another one who writes about the pleasure of being out in the countryside and not just what he catches. In one of his stories he takes this to extreme when he and his friends stay in a lodge next to their secret carp lake and spend the whole week without wetting their lines! Needless to say beer was involved!

These guys and others have helped me come to terms with blanking and seeing the bigger picture that it is not all about catching but is about being there and enjoying the environment, the flash of a kingfisher, carp cruising on the surface, moorhens and coots calling to each other, the robin that perches nearby comes and eats your maggots when you throw him some. The list is endless and not to be found sitting at home vegging out on the settee!

So, where does this leave my blog? Well, it actually gives me more to write about and gets away from the same old story of “went fishing, caught some fish, went home” which can quickly become boring. In fact I already seem to have started by writing this one in which I don’t go fishing at al!  I just hope that you will come with me on the rest of my angling journey wherever it takes me. 


Yesterday we dragged the small lake and removed loads of silt, leaves, branches and weed. Today it was time to see how it fished. The weather was lovely for the time of year and we were in the middle of a warm spell. I hoped that the water had warmed up a bit and that the fish were biting. It didn’t take long to get there as the lake is just over the road from where I live and I was able to walk there in a few minutes. I was the only one there and decided to fish in the central swim which was the one that I always fished before because it was the only accessible swim!

I took two rods, a feeder rod to see if I could catch anything on the bottom and a float rod. As is my usual practice when fishing this combination of rods I set up the feeder rod first and cast it out into a place that we had dragged yesterday and which I was hoping was weed free. Then the time for a float rod, a small waggler dotted down so about a quarter of an inch showed and a red maggot on a size eighteen hook then it was time to sit down and take a look around. The water was looking good, the only thing that I was worried about was the sun as I couldn’t find any sun cream at home which was surprising as we usually have two or three bottles around. Over the last few years I have developed some non-malignant skin cancers which have needed to be operated on and which were caused by sun damage to my skin, probably when I was a child as we all used to go out in the sun and get burnt without really thinking about it, fifty years later it came back to bite me! 

A Tench doing the curling up thing that they do here

Anyway, I digress, I moved my chair to the shade and carried on fishing. After a few minutes the float slowly went under and I was into my first fish, a small tench. I have caught these before and I know that there are plenty of them but nothing very large so far. I waited for about ten minutes and another tench slightly bigger bit nothing to write home about! The fish kept coming about every ten minutes although it did drop off towards the middle of the day which is what other people have posted on the club’s Facebook page. Three tench then a roach, which was a much more definite bite then another tench then the float shot under and I could feel something a bit different on the line. I was easily able to see it as I brought it towards the bank, it was a goldfish! The body looked in good condition but the tail was suffering a bit from fin rot, still it made a change and I expect that it had been released into the pond by someone from the housing estate across the road when they didn’t want it any longer! Another tench then a little carp, possibly a crucian or hybrid, then a couple more tench before I decided to go home for lunch. 

Another tench showing its beautiful colours

So, a reasonable session in which I caught four species of fish although nothing very big. The tench were interesting as they have a lovely dark green colour and a habit of curling up as you try to unhook them or take their picture! I had nothing on the feeder rod, not a twitch which made me think that it is still too murky on the bottom for the fish to see the bait but I will persevere, there have to be some bigger fish in there somewhere, otherwise where did all the little ones come from? Actually I can’t make up my mind whether these are young fish or stunted adults. The lake has been neglected and weed choked for so long that I rather think that the fish have not been able to grow to full size. I have not heard of any predator fish being caught and except for the occasional heron the fish have been able to live in relative safety. One other thing that I noticed was that the traffic sound, which is very intrusive at first, fades into the background after a while and you hardly notice it, which is a blessing! Anyway I enjoyed myself and will be back as this venue is just the job when I have an hour or two to spare.

Someone found a new home in the lake for their goldfish!