Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Small Stream Adventures — Satellite Tracks

The set of circumstances I'd set in motion whereby a couple of deep (enough!) pools were created by the December floods immediately downstream of a rock and brick groyne I'd made under an overhanging willow attracted fish. I saw one, thought it a roach when my dog sprang it from behind a submerged shopping trolly, and ever since I've had a burning desire to turn that fleeting glimpse into something like reality.

A recent acquisition was a Garmin GPS device that Judy discovered laying in the snow on our morning dog walk. A boy's toy, so by default, mine...

I grabbed it, worked out how to use it but needed an excuse to try it out in the field so yesterday afternoon I walked over the park, rod in left hand, bread in pocket, the bright yellow box of tricks tracking my route from home to park to pools and had a crafty cast after them. I couldn't resist it any longer!

I intended only to see if I got bites. I thought I'd be a good boy and not strike any if I did receive them and in the first pool I was true to my word — I didn't strike at a single instance, because there weren't any. I tried all kinds of lies knowing that only very few fish would be in residence if they hadn't swum back downstream by now. It was a disappointment because it really did look good enough for a bite or two...

The second pool looked as good, if not better. In went the free-lined bait cast tight to the far bank where it fluttered downstream disappeared from view and settled on a taught line just above the trolly where I'd seen the roach. Nothing doing. Once again casts were made all over the swim and to every likely looking lie but again, not a touch. It seemed my fish had long departed.

Last chance was a cast right into the trailing branches below the trolly where sooner or later I'd certainly snag and lose the hook which would be where the experiment ended as I hadn't taken spares. The bread fell out of sight, the rod tip was submerged an inch under water and fell still. Then, it moved! I checked the rod butt and I hadn't touched it so it had to be fish what caused it...

Then it plucked properly and the rod top started to move downstream. I tried my very hardest not to strike and actually left it alone so that the bite would eventually cease. Unfortunately it carried on so I had no choice but pull the bread out of water for a recast, only that didn't happen as planned because a fish was hooked!

Thought it was a roach for a second but as it came to hand it was clearly not what I'd expected. No wonder the bite had persisted because the bait had been engulfed by a greedy little chub, a fish who thinks it rude to play with food as roach do.

I slipped her back when she calmly swam back under the snags. Of course I had another cast or three and even got more tentative bites proving there were other fish present before they were put down by the returnee and then there was nothing but the inevitable snagging on a branch to look forward to which spelled the end of it anyhow.

To be honest, I felt a little guilty to have disturbed them so soon after they'd settled in, but suppose fishing is a far kinder way to establish the fact of a population's existence than electrocution, which would be the fishery scientist's shortcut to similar data.

The rest of the bread discs were crumbed and offered to the residents as payment for my intrusion and then I walked home guided by satellites who'd tracked my every move faithfully plotting my footprints through the snow. I'm racking my brains for a purpose for the new toy, but for the life of me I can't think of one apart from painting it dark green, strapping the waterproof thing to a chub, catching it later and seeing where it wandered...

Attached to today's specimen, though, I don't think it'd be moving very far at all!


  1. Jeff, we've talked about the purest branch of the sport now you have taken possession of the most honourable, the angler that seeks not to try to catch a fish. As The Lady Burton would say, 'What are you like?!'

  2. Yeah, it's a one hand clapping kind of fishing is that! The little bugger scotched my plans though...