The pursuit of 'summer fish' on stillwaters does not come naturally. In fact, apart perhaps from roach and tench, the pursuit of any fish on stillwaters does not come naturally.
The otherwise dormant inner matchman wants to burst out, grab the catapult, and feed, feed, feed.
Today it actually happened.
I had been warned. There was no excuse.
But first were the times, or the day at least, when it was a worthy approach.
In pursuit of 'those fish' the favoured method has been to fish whatever bait was the selection on the day over a bed of hemp.
This had brought forth a burst of p.b's set against the context of a canal angling background and the need for bloggers challenge points this season.
Almost all of this fishing had been with a static bait; employing feeders, alarms, rod pod, the works and prior to small fish becoming active in May. Yes, maggots have been off the agenda for a couple of weeks now.
It started with (a kiss) decent roach, rudd, tench and perch. Nothing outstanding but quality fish and solid points.
Tench over 6lbs, perch over two and roach close-on a pound and a half. The latter two could be followed-up on in autumn and winter but, unlike the 2015/16 challenge, those species that become tricky in winter needed to be dealt with now.
Leamington A A control a few stillwaters from which the majority of those fish might be taken.
Rudd, within limits of size, yes.
Silver bream? Probably not.
Common or bronze bream, yes, and to, potentially at least, a good size.
The lakes also offer interesting wildlife. Birds, invertebrates...only today there were five marbled whites to be seen and small skippers at two different venues plus a good variety of dragon and damselflies
The past two weeks and half a dozen sessions on a variety of those venues have been fruitful and while these are not commercial fisheries they are well stocked and hold some nice specimens very much of the nature this particular angler likes to target - the bigger fish in the swim, regularly and by design.
Of course the list of p.b's remains paltry, being very much canal & stream orientated until now, but the opportunities, with ever-growing knowledge, are vast and consequently it is inevitable that with an inquiring mind and experience to call on those records are going to fall regularly until the target, maybe, becomes ever bigger specimens.
In this short fortnights' spell the bronze bream best has risen to 3.13, then 4.1 and, today, to 4.6.
King carp to 9.6, 12.12 and...
Most pleasing however was to catch a net of crucians topped by two over a pound and landing three or four p.b's in the one session which now stands at 1.2.6. I had not fished for this magically beautiful and powerful little fish since early in the 1980's and then in a local overstocked shallow farm pond where the stunted fish rarely exceeded eight ounces. Regular feeding worked with these excitable fellas.
One thing is certain. These are not newsworthy catches but the most important thing in angling is enjoyment and the pleasure is immeasurable when, firstly, the careful plan works and then it feels as though one has succeeded (even if in reality it was pure fluke or coincidence, but who are we to know that).
That is until today.
I planned to go to try to catch a decent rudd and, driving toward that crock of gold, developed an urge to go elsewhere, and followed it.
Bream became the momentary magnet.
It seemed incredible. After an ounce roach first cast I had a visitor, returning to angling from a decade break, seeking advice (from me, on a lake, I ask you!). As we talked, a 2lb bream came to the net and, as he got just four pegs away, another of 4.6, quickly followed, just as he disappeared out of sight, by a tearaway fish.
Now initially it didn't give much away, holding it's fins close to it's chest. Once it knew the game was on however I feared for my 16 hook and 3.5lb fluoro link.
The clutch shrieked...and shrieked...and shrieked.
The rod bent to that familiar complete curve
1 peg away, 2 pegs away, and into the third.
This fish was going to be lost. No doubt.
The hand-me-down, and excellent, 13' power match rod, the biggest fish it had previously landed being a tench of 4.7, expressed itself in a manner I could only have dreamt of, but the fish would be victorious.
Pump by pump, it started to come back my way. Over and over again it tore off and slowly, but somewhat increasingly surely, it was drawn back. I would come off the though.
It went round my second rod but I untangled it. There was no way this fish would be landed.
It tore right, then left again. Brushed the underwater roots to my left and shot forwards into the fed swim.
It would break the line. The hook would come off. A knot would give. Something.
I had it's head out. A mirror. Another surge. The clutch squealing again.
Again it surfaced but I couldn't quite net it and once more it drove maniacally, vertically, down into the deep water. For sure this fish would not be beaten on inadequate tackle.
Up and up it came, onto its side, gulping air.
No one else was there. It was ok to scream madly.
Exhausted from a good ten minute engagement, we regarded each other. The fish and I knew.
Thirteen pounds seven ounces this beauty went.
Oh!...and a personal best too of course.
Henceforth he catapult became attached to my right hand. Feed, feed, feed.
I knew not why.
At this point I noted the jangling song of the corn bunting. Now a rare farm bird and a joy to hear after such a long period of famine extending to over a decade but today the other wildlife seemed not to be there, such was the thrall of the angle
35 to 40 roach and perch later, and not one over three ounces, this would be enough.
A few more challenge points; the head cleared for Monday and a thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable weekend.