19 October 2014

A short session on the long pole

Seized late in the day by an urge to fish, with no bait to hand or preparations made, and conscious that my crocked elbow would only cope with pole fishing, there was only one sensible answer - my favourite local commercial, Bishops Bowl.

I've already spent too many words debating the purity, or otherwise, of the fishing experience: wild vs stocked; free vs commercial; river vs lake (vs canal vs gravel pit etc).

The good news is that I shall try to do so no more; I have arrived at my conclusion. This - life is short, work is long, my fishing will be wherever I think will be fun.

And what fun I had at Bishops.

A big south-westerly wind called for somewhere sheltered, so having picked up a pint of maggots and a pole rig at the shop I settled down at the back of Marshes Two, one of the newer waters and absolutely perfect for what I had in mind. 

It was sheltered, it was beautiful, and it was packed full of nature. There were huge and pristine ink cap mushrooms by the side of the swim, jays squabbled bold and loud behind me, and passerines and water birds moved all around me.  

If pole fishing is to become a bigger thing for me, then I was keen to see if my carp pole could realistically be fished at its full 11m (if only to save me from the immediate cost of a new, lighter and longer pole). So rather than setting up a couple of lines I found a swim with an 11 metre reed bed projecting from the bank and targeted the tip of that.

I've never loved fishing the pole, but if I'm honest I reckon I'd have caught less than half the fish if I'd been on the waggler. With a pole pot I was able to feed with absolute accuracy, and then drop the bait right on top. The first single maggot produced a tiny roach, the second a better rudd. Another roach followed and that was three small fish brought in from 11 metres on a No.10 elastic in less than five minutes with  none lost. Things seemed to be going well.

Better still with the next few fish. First the elastic flew out, the tip of the pole arced round, and a lively 3lb tench came to the net. Then my first stillwater barbel came in; less than a pound but, in common with its river cousin, it didn't leave any fight in the water. It was followed by a further seven barbel, a couple of carp (the biggest close to 3lb), plenty more roach and, with perhaps ironically the least fight of the lot, a majestic 1lb 7oz perch.

Eventually something large and fast broke me; fishing so close to the reeds I was always at risk of something that could move faster than I could react. 

Then it was dark; I'd had fun; I went home.

Species of the day: Barbel (Barbus barbus): the king of the river turns out to be a real gem in still water too. 

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