Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Spiders from Mars

That's what signal crayfish look like...

And they are big buggers too, aren't they?

I'd arranged to meet Keith on The Blythe on Tuesday afternoon but decided that I would set out early and do the entire day, as the long overdue panacea for my work induced exhaustion and general unravelledness. I woke at six to find it hissing down...

Actually, it was pissing down by the time I'd knocked the grog out of myself, and coming down so hard that I wasn't going fishing anymore... unless it eased up a bit... which of course it would... after all... 'rain before seven - fine by eleven'... and all that old cobblers...

I consulted tinternets infallibly accurate and reliable weather lords, for them to inform me of my days fate, whether it would be shit or shine, on or off, and if on, when by. It was on by one o'clock, by all accounts, so I decided to go then, and avoid the worst of it. I'd take a brolly though, just in case, and that was just as well in the event of things, because they were out by a country mile. On arrival the rain was still falling hard and even by four the scudding black clouds still did not show the predicted signs of disappearing over Coleshill's usually pretty horizons.

Then Keith turned up with what appeared to be a whole angling party in tow! It was just him in fact, but another three blokes had come along at precisely the same time to take a butchers at the river. By then I had had just two very positive bites on ledgered corn but had inexplicably missed both and then the swim had died off and the crustacea had moved in. The visiting anglers stood behind me commenting upon and probably amazed by my lack of interest in, the constant tardy pulls and twitches of the rod top.

'Crayfish' said I.

'Aah' said they.

I moved down to my favourite peg on the pool and Keith went off downstream after perch on the float and spinner. Then the rain came down very hard, but under the brolly all seemed very pleasant really, especially seeing as I'd now started with lobworms and was catching some small chub and reasonable perch on a regular basis. Keith stood out in the worst of it, was mostly waterproof in the majority of places, but as he found out later, leastly waterproof in the most vulnerable - the space between jacket bottom and wader tops! But he caught some perch and even some small roach on float fished maggots, which is interesting to me as I've not seen a roach from here as yet.

About six I got what seemed a good bite only to encounter a weedy resistance that surfaced as my very first ever rod caught crayfish, and what a strange creature they are, and quite aggressive too, coming at me like it meant business! I took a few snaps and chucked it back knowing full well that doing such a thing is illegal, but I was just not in the mood for murder...

Keith had moved down to a spinney of willows to do some barbelling but had no luck there except for a couple of crayfish on his pellets. I moved and moved again, to an oak tree and in the failing light, to a really nice place in the middle of a reed bed fishing into what had become through the day fairly swift and steadily rising water, where I had one good bite that hooked onto something that got off and then the tackle locked solid in the submerged cabbages.

That was that. Not a great day for the fishing, but after all the headaching work of the past few weeks, a bit of a welcome tonic. I got home having that glorious feeling of mind, body and soul all as thoroughly knackered as each other, and at the same time.

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