11.14 of slabetha

I started landscaping my front garden about 2 months ago now and the plan was to try and get some more done on it this weekend.  It looks a bit of an eyesore with rubble piled up, holes dug, bag’s of hardcore strewn around and not to mention my mother nagging at me to get it finished.  Thank god she doesn’t live close by otherwise i’m sure she’d be round here everyday on my case.  So the plan was to forsake fishing this weekend to get it done.  I’m sure once I got stuck into it any thoughts of fishing would go out of my head and the satisfaction of seeing my masterpiece take effect would far outweigh catching a wet slimy fish.  That was until I checked the weather forecast a few days ago.  Oh my god if ever the weather conditions were perfect for Bream then yesterday was that day.  Overcast, slight chance of rain and a stiff south westerly breeze.  Perfectomundo!!!!

I love the early morning drive to a fishery.  The roads are quiet, dawn is breaking and a day of anticipation and expectation lay ahead.  For me this is what captures the essence of fishing as much as the fishing itself.

I fired out 20 golf sized balls of groundbait using my new catty.  The last one packed up at Weston so i’d bought two of the Drennan groundbait catapults with one acting as a spare.  The first thing I did when I got them was to strenghten them using heavy duty tie wraps.  They’re now strapped up better than a gimp in an S&M dungeon.

I only started on two rods and didn’t bother with a third rod close in.  I can get in a bit of a pickle when the Bream start to feed as hooked fish start to kite and can take out one of the other rods resulting in the tangle wasting valuable fishing time.  Rather than fish two open ended feeders I just fished the one and set the other up with an inline maggot feeder fished bolt rig style.  Out went both rods and just as I clipped the bobbin on, the maggot feeder rod tip started bouncing away.  I struck into something feisty but it was no Bream and a Perch of 2.2 came bristling to the net.  It was in good nick considering they had recently spawned.  Not a bad start I thought.  Out went the feeder again and I settled into my chair to make a brew.  Or that was the plan until I realised that i’d forgotten my matches to light my stove.  The self lighting mechanism thingy was playing up, hence the matches, but I was desperate for a cup of tea and I sat like a mad man desperately fiddling with the stove trying to get it to work.  It was no use, I was going to be consigned to drinking a bottle of water all day.

Three more Perch came to the maggot feeder including another reasonable fish of 2.4 but these were not the fish i’d come after so rather than continue with the maggot feeder I swapped it for an open ended feeder fished in conjunction with a helicopter rig.  This way I could get more groundbait out there and regular casting every fifteen minutes ensured I had a good carpet of bait in the desired area.  Time ticked on but I wasn’t too worried as most of my Bream have been caught mid-morning to mid-afternoon which is probably the time you would least expect to catch them.  I fiddled around some more with the stove desperate for my fix.  Water and a galaxy ripple just are not a good combination and it has to be eaten with a hot beverage of choice.

Right on cue the bobbin on the middle rod (Oh i’d relented by this stage and put a third rod close in hoping to get a Tench) lifted a couple of notches and the bite alarm gave a couple of blips before the bobbin dropped back to the floor.  I tightened up but the bobbin just kept dropping back.  FISH ON!!!! I thought, so struck and yes indeed there was a fish on.  It felt a good one too.  It kicked and kicked as I applied the sidestrain and I knew it was a goodun.  The Korum Neoteric’s handled the fish beautifully and as soon as it was in the net I knew it was into double figures and looked bigger than the ten pounders that i’d had in April.  On the scales it went 11.14 and I was chuffed to bits as it was a new pb by a mere three ounces.  I looked at my watch and it was just after 10am.  It’s almost as if something flicks a switch in their head at 10am that says it’s time to feed, a bit like me at work when it’s coffee and cake time, or maybe their patrol route just takes them past the area i’m fishing at that particular time.  Who knows, but whatever it is, i’m grateful for it.


I cast out and expected to get another bite pretty much straight away but I had to wait a whole twenty minutes (how inconsiderate) before another bite came to the same rod.  The fish felt very similar in it’s doggedness to the first one and as it came closer to the net I could see in the clear water that it was another double.  “Don’t mess this one up Si” I thought as I placed the tip of the third rod underwater to avoid snagging up.  This one weighed 11.6 and by now I was in dreamland and I thought about packing up.  I didn’t want to catch any smaller Bream for fear of bringing down the average size.  I know that sounds daft but I just felt catching anything smaller would be an anti climax and I couldn’t see myself topping the 11.14 I’d had earlier because that, from what I knew, was pretty much near the ceiling weight for that water.

Twenty minutes later I hit into another fish and I knew straight away this one was smaller as it came in without much fuss.  I weighed it just for the records and it weighed 7.9.  Piss, wank, I knew I should have packed in after those first two fish.  I sat down and told myself to stop being stupid as it was still a good fish and a couple of years ago I would have been made up at such a capture.  I cast out thinking that the smaller fish had moved over the bait and as I sat there having a ponderous moment the phone rang.  I didn’t recognise the number and as it was a landline number I thought it was a call centre of some description or someone trying to sell me something.  Who the f**k rings on a Saturday and particularly in the middle of a Bream session.  I was fuming as I hate cold callers at the best of times but even more so when it interferes with my fishing time.  The phone rang off and then started ringing again.  Whoever it was wasn’t going away so I decided to answer it and in my head I was going to answer it with a “WHAT??? FFS!!!!” but instead answered it was a shouty “HELLO!!!!”  “Si, it’s Rob Hales” came the reply.  Thank god I chose to answer with the more mellow of the two options.  To cut a long story Rob was calling to offer me a place on one of his syndicate waters.  This was a wonderful piece of news and I didn’t think my day could get any better.

11.7 – More rotund than the others.

Anyway, after a bit of chit chat I relaxed back into my zen like state and as I hung up the buzzer on the left hand rod sprang into life.  The fish kited to the left which was good as it meant it was away from the other rods and once again the Korum’s did a good job of cushioning the kicks and head shakes of the slab attached to the other end.  Another double in the onion bag and this one went 11.7.  This one was much more rotund though.  With a smile the size of Cheshire across my face I returned the fish singing “Thiiiiiiings, can only get better”.  I’d waited nearly an hour for that fish and I was starting to wonder whether the fish had mopped up the bait and were moving on.  It’s always a dilemma whether to risk ruining a swim by firing out more groundbait and I decided against it preferring to keep regularly recasting the feeders instead.

My cheese and onion sarnies tasted even better than normal and I decided to have one last go at trying to get my stove to light.  Clicking the clicky thing ferociously now trying to get it to light, there was a distinct smell of gas around me.  Cramp in the right hand I switched to the left, click, click, click and then boom we have lift off.  Finally I managed to get the stove to light.  God I can’t tell you how good it felt to be able to put the kettle on.  Tea bag at the ready, now where’s the cup?  I’ll tell you where the cup is, it’s on my shelf at home, that’s where it is!  Having no cup really is a game changer and finally I had to admit defeat.  It was stupid to forget the matches but forgetting a cup is just demented.

12.14 and a new PB.

Shortly after lunch the middle rod went into meltdown.  A couple of beeps, then a one toner, and as I lifted the rod up I expected a Carp or maybe a Tench to be on the other end after a bite like that but no, it felt like another good Bream.  The doubles just kept coming and maybe for some people on other waters this might be normal but not around these parts.  In the water the fish looked a similar size to the others but once it was in the net I knew this was bigger.  When I lifted the net from the water I knew I had another pb on my hands.  I lay the fish on the mat and admired it for a second before slipping it into the weigh sling.  The needle pulled round to 12.14.  What a result and words couldn’t put into context the joy I was feeling at that time.  I held the fish in the water to recover and marvelled at it’s enormity.  Holding it on it’s side in the shallow water it really did look like the proverbial bin lid and I knew it was going to take some beating from this particular water, or at least i think it is.

The time was now 12:25 and by my reckoning I could possible have another hour and a half before the fish switched off.  I sat there in anticipation of what the next bite would bring as surely fish of this size couldn’t keep coming.  Well, I actually sat there for another 7 hours without a bite which just about sums the place up.  Eventually though the bite alarm kicked into life and the next bite produced a stunning Roach though of 1.2 which was a lovely surprise as I was just thinking about packing up.  After that fish I thought i’d fish on a bit longer and about five minutes later I had another bite on the same rod and this produced another Roach weighing 1.1.  Strangely enough i’d spent all day watching and listening to the Roach spawning in the reeds next to me and wondered if every Roach in the lake had switched into spawning mode.  Both those fish were taken at the best part of sixty yards so they obviously didn’t have shagging on the brain.

No more bites followed after those two Roach though and at 9pm I decided to call it a day.  I’d been on the water since 6:30am and although I could have stayed longer I just didn’t have the confidence that that Bream would be back.  I had no real confidence that there was much bait left in the area and rather than flog a dead horse I thought i’d pop in and see the Colonel and his deep fried chickens on the way home.

It had been a real dream session for me and the four biggest Bream came to a total of just under 48 pounds in weight.  I did wonder whether I could have done more to keep the fish coming though.  I didn’t put in as much groundbait at the start of the session as I normally do and maybe that was a factor so next time I’ll double the amount I put in although i’m not sure I will top that session if i’m honest and with the Bream getting ready for spawning I don’t even think i’ll get the chance to fish for them again prior to that event.

Now i’d best get outside and get in the garden.  That patio isn’t going to lay itself.


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