Thursday, 1 April 2010

The First Oxymorons of Spring

Enough Rods...

Well, the Ides of March have come...they have come, but they are not gone...

Oh dear, it's that time of the year again. My blog entries for this time last season confirm it. It's crap diddly crap, crap. An utter waste of rod hours. And the spring weather, which was coming along very nicely, has turned horrid. I went out to fish in it on Tuesday afternoon and it was truly nasty; all low and scudding, thick and oppressive cloud and chink-in-the-armour seeking, cold, wet wind. I went out again yesterday afternoon in a chill persistent wind without my brolly and fished well into the dark for zander and the only remarkable thing to report was the length of the day, because it's now not properly dark until nine PM.

Now, I don't mind a bit of extreme weather fishing, indeed I love it very much. Give me a foot of snow, ten degrees of frost and I'm straight out the door fixing the harsh world with a beaming grin. Put me by the sea and show me the possibility of a fat spring cod and I'll happily cast into the teeth of a force eight gale and watch transfixed as thirteen feet of 30 ton high modulus carbon that I can only fully compress if I use all the power my skinny frame is capable of supplying, vibrates like a rutting buck rabbit...

But this is rubbish weather, weather that puts the fish down and me right off. Not too good, not too bad, just miserable.

I've not even got to put my new rod properly through its paces...

Yes, I've followed Keith's lead and bought myself a Shakespeare Mach 2 Wand. I saw his impressive ten foot pencil thin example at Ryton Pool (it's all in your prurient mind, I assure you...) and had to have one for myself as the rod is just the tool for not only the small stream roach work I want to do next river season but also perfect for the cut. I had a few vain casts with it after a roach on lobworm but none turned up to put a bend in it. It is light though. I was using the lightest tip of the four that it ships with because it turned out to be almost exactly the same weight as the one on my DAM winklepicker, the fabulous little 8 foot stick that I landed all my recent roach on, and a rod that it complements very well, indeed they are fine as a working pair.

I may have to buy another though. I have the nine foot version you see, but they do a ten footer too, and of course now having an eight and a nine foot rod for roach necessarily means that I do need to buy one to fill the gap between the nine foot and the eleven foot JW Avon that I press into service on the larger rivers. Makes sense to me...!

I also won the January Photo competition on Fishing Magic Forum for my picture of a roach catch from the brook and the prize was a £50 voucher to spend at Game Fishing Supplies, so I have decided to purchase a pair of ABU Cardinal 104's as dedicated workhorses for these rods. Cool huh?

After the ten footer is got, then the only thing I am short of is a good long float rod, but I have already spied one that I will get my sticky hands on before the close of the close season in three months time. This is the Shakespeare Superteam match rod that comes in various multi length options. There's a 12-15 feet, 13-17 and 14 -18 feet choice. Now I fancy having the 13 -17 foot version as I reckon the 17 feet will come in very handy for certain river swims I fish regularly and the 13 foot is standard.

Oh, I nearly forgot. I've also found a cheap fly rod on sale in The Range, the Fladen Vantage 9 travel footer in four pieces. Probably not the worlds best fishing rod but at £24 it feels very inviting and seems extremely well made for the money - ideal at entry level, which is exactly the level I will be at when I finally, after a lifetime of fishing, get to take up the art of fluff.

Big Tiddlers...
The season just gone was not a good one for the establishment of new personal bests. Of course I'd state in my own defense that the relentless and purposeful pursuit of the surpassment your own apex achievements at all costs ranks as a somewhat crass occupation and worse, smacks badly of a house sized ego and rampant ambition unbefitting a fellow of my cultured ease...

You'd of course say, that I was full of crap.

And you'd be right, I do concede, but only to a point.

I set new bests for barbel, zander, dace, ruffe and, err, I think that's it. Even then the dace was the first weighable dace that I ever caught, at half a pound, the ruffe was enormous for the species but still too small to weigh without feeling faintly ridiculous and so only estimated, at four ounces, and I only added half a pound to my barbel best and a pound and a bit to the zander and neither of either amounted to big fractions of the British records for the species.

Pathetic really, but in my defense I must say that I was really not trying very hard with any other species other than roach and even with them I was really not trying to get a two pounder (honestly) the roach target that everyone seems to want to surpass but considering that my personal best for roach has been stuck at one pound fifteen ounces since last February, it's a target that I do have to surpass soon for the betterment of my fishing soul and my sure progress up the very tall and greasy pole that is specimen roach angling.

However, I did set a new personal river best for roach at one pound ten ounces, a fish from the fabulous Itchen, had my first brace of pound plus river roach from the equally fabulous brook and my most spectacular catch of roach ever, with six for five pounds in two hours (also from the brook) so getting the 'magic two' has not concerned me overly - when it's time, it will happen.

I also had my first trout, tench and rudd in many years but I'm not sure if any surpassed those that I caught when I was a kid.

No, the previous season was a season for personal bests but last season was a season of trying very hard to do productive things. It was was a season of learning how to float fish rivers, of trying new methods, refining tactics and general improvement in every possible direction so that in the season all ready under way ...

I can smash all my personal bests to smithereens...!

PS. I have been keeping this blog for two years now and There has always been some little something wrong with it, something that has always bugged me, and, I have just noticed what it is...!

I had spelt Idler's Quest in the site header all that time, without it's essential apostrophe!

Its fixed now...


  1. I personally respect the closed season, it gives both fish and angler time to rest the mind and body and feeds the hunger for the new season. I really enjoyed our fishing trips this year Jeff - thank you for inviting me back into the wonderful world of fishing. You will find me license in hand and ready to go for the start of the next season!

    I suggest a stretch of river that runs by a power station for larger beasties, the warm water they kick out seems to breed the odd monster!

    I find a good resource for browsing rods and prices.


  2. Yeah, but it doesn't apply nowadays to still waters or canals, Kev, so you can still go fishing if you feel the need?