Lessons Learnt

The 28th of August saw me up and out by 5:30 am. It’s the last real fishing bank holiday of the year, I really am not dedicated enough to even consider taking myself away from my wife and kids over the Christmas and new year period.

I decided that I would approach this day with a seven hour session, first fishing my favourite small pond and then moving on to the larger lake close by. On arrival at the pond the water didn’t look too promising, indeed it wasn’t, three very unproductive hours passed with nothing but missed bites.

I had recently been given a good stock of bait by a major supporter of my angling career Anton Verity of AntBait and I had determined to give the bait a good try. My rig was quite simple, judging that my best shot was for the fine quality Bream that I know this pond holds, I had set up a simple in line, open ended, feeder rig with the bait on the hook.

In spite of my determination that this was the killer rig for the venue I didn’t manage to rouse the interest of any fish. Things were looking dyer and, although I didn’t know it yet, they were only going to get worse.

Frustrated, I moved to the larger lake and continued to use the same approach. Another two hours passed with still no action, plenty of bites but still no fish. Until this point I had been putting the bait straight on the hook. I knew that the bait wasn’t the problem so the only answer was that I was using the wrong rig.

I’d been fishing for five hours now. I was tired and hungry and the passing golfers were commenting on how miserable I looked! I felt it too.

I decided that I would try hair rigging the bait so I changed my hook length to a pre tied hair rig (yes, I really am that lazy!) I cast out with that feeling of despair still in my heart and no, real, expectation of catching any fish at all.

It had been a nice day in general, a little overcast and with the odd brief rain shower but, on the whole, vary bearable. Another short, sharp, rain shower had just finished when the tip of my feeder rod started twitching like a thing possessed. There was no need to strike, a small bream had hooked itself and, although it was well under a pound I was finally on my way.

The fish seemed to have turned on now, there followed a couple ‘drop back’ bites which I have always been useless at striking into so both fish were also missed. About another half an hour passed and I was just beginning to think about packing away when the tip of my rod bent over just a little bit before returning to its starting position. “I’ve lost my bait” I thought and reached down to pick up the rod when it started moving again.

This continued for a few minuets and I came to the conclusion that something was taking the bait from around my feeder which was fixed in place with a bead and, in knocking the feeder, it was indicating a bite. Earlier, to my own frustration, I had been striking to these kind of movements assuming that they were bites and, every time I did, I was obviously scaring the fish away! Hence my poor results!

This time I let it develop and, suddenly, the tip bent over and stayed there. This was a bite! There was no need to strike, as is often the case in feeder fishing, the fish had hooked itself and it felt like a lump!

It took a fair few minuets to land the fish because I had to carefully steer it away from a variety of weeds, reeds and lily pads all of which stimulated it to charge as hard as it could for cover. However, eventually I was rewarded with a nice little carp. By no means a monster (only 6 - 7lb) but a nice fish all the same.

It’s good to look at every fishing outing as a lesson, although I knew not to strike at every movement of the rod, my eagerness to catch a fish had overridden my own knowledge. My advice to anyone is to apply what you already know when fishing and try to avoid doubting yourself. Over eagerness can, and will, result in mistakes and frustration in your fishing.