Thursday, April 8, 2010 Filed in: lakes
I've got a new lake. It's not really my lake because I share it with a few other like minded fellow anglers, people who prefer to take things a little more slowly than most and who enjoy a beer and a chat as much as a barbel and a chub. (Well, maybe not quite as much).
At two and a half acres, it's barely a lake really, but there are some nice carp here, big perch and plenty of decent roach and rudd that not many people fish for (until now heh, heh). I've been before as a guest, but this was my first trip as a full, fee-paying member.
There was a lot of weather about as I arrived, but nothing untoward and having parked up, secured the gate and scanned the water, I fancied my chances. Croc wellies on, basket slung over the shoulder and 15' float road in hand I marched off down the hill, following the loose stones on the path going down to the lake where I could - it looked pretty slippery - before heading across the corner of the field, through the gate, left down the bank and then whoa....?!? Hmm. Why am I laying here face down on the bank with mud up my nose?
As I lie here, mud slowly permeating my frontage, let me tell you briefly about my knee. It was like most knees until November 14th, 1978 (not that I remember or anything) when it fell off some scaffolding and then rammed into a brick wall. It has spent the subsequent years in remarkably good nick considering the bone graft, the various manipulations, the arthroscopy and the fact that it still has two large Welsh screws inside it. It walks (a little haltingly) and likes cycling - though not enough to let its one not-so-careful owner stand up on the pedals. What it doesn't like is being wrenched, twisted and then fallen upon, even if that fall is broken in part by the aforementioned 15' fishing rod. Oh mother and toss.
So I stand up, pick at the mud disconsolately and flex my knee. It feels like an enormous tube of not very bendable rubber. It really doesn't want to bend. Or straighten. It certainly doesn't want to fish, but having come this far and established so far as I can that nothing's broken, I'm going to give it a try.
Amazingly apart from a slightly bent ring, the rod is in one piece (or rather four pieces, but at least it's supposed to be) so I feed the swim with some sweetcorn, tackle up with 4lb line straight through, a barbless 16 and a nice float with a bit of weight on the bottom which lets me add a single shot about two feet from the hook - the idea being that I'll attract bites on the drop as well as when I reach the bottom. I'm also aware that someone's said there could be a lot of silt on the lake floor and reckon that the terminal tackle and bait will be light enough to not disappear.
I get a bite first cast. Who'd have thought it? It's a small roach, though not so small as I normally catch. It's followed by another and another and then a fourth. After half an hour it occurs to me that this is the most frenzied fishing I've enjoyed in years (see the last entry for a more typical experience - three anglers, all afternoon, one bite, no fish). Sweetcorn obviously works and I sit looking happily at the float while down below my knee throbs grumpily at me - it's a bit like having Gimli the dwarf stuck to your leg. Another club member drops by for a stroll and to feed some bait in. We chat and he sympathises before wandering off - both his knees seem to be working just fine.
So I stand up, try and put some weight on it, wince and sit down again. I catch a tench of about a pound a half and my mood lifts. I stand again and it sinks. Then I catch this lovely, dark rudd, almost caramel coloured in the fitful sunlight. But I can't sustain it and although I'm still getting bites, the walk (hop?) back to the car is playing on my mind so I pack up and waddle slowly back to the car. It's a pretty ugly sight, really.
The drive back isn't much fun but it doesn't feel as though anything's permanently damaged. So I end the day propped on the couch with a couple of cushions under it, a glass of wine in one hand and the remote in the other, while on my swollen, sorry knee there sits a bag of frozen sweetcorn. Well, if it's good enough for the fish...
About the author
Rob Beattie is the other of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.