To my eyes the conditions were pretty perfect. Unseasonably warm, overcast, yet little chance of rain. I knew the spot - a corner swim on a local pond that had yielded good perch in the past - and I knew the tactics - a piece of prawn ledgered near the last lilies, still clinging on, despite the lateness of the year. I loaded the car with tackle, bait, winter gear, boots and rod and quickly realised that I was going to be too hot with all that clobber on, so went back to house and swapped my padded bib and brace for a lighter version, bought in Ullapool (where they know a thing or two about weather) last year.
Pulling up to the gate, I saw the car park was empty which meant my favoured swim would definitely be free. The advantage of this place is that it's a 30 second walk from car to bank, and I was set up in a flash, loose fed prawns drifting enticingly down through the water, bait nicely plopped on top of them, still amazingly fishing in shirtsleeves. I had a lovely hour where the sun nearly peeped through the clouds and my only company was an angry magpie in the tree opposite. The perch did not make an appearance.
Then the rains came. A light dusting at first, barely worth putting the hood up for, but soon turning into a more persistent hammering - what the Scots call 'dreich' - such that every single item I had with me was soon drenched. I fished all over the swim, left and right, close in and further out, with no success. I ate a cold sausage (and no, that's not a euphemism) and debated whether to fire up the Kelly Kettle. In the end I decided it was worth a go. I'd gathered some sticks earlier and cannily stowed them under the chair so they were still usable; combined with some dry bits I'd bought from home, the kettle performed magnificently(and certainly better than I did) boiling water in about three minutes for one of the best cups of tea I've ever tasted.
By the time I'd finished, the rain had eased off but it was starting to come on dark and the temperature had dropped. Time to go. A last walk round the pond, then packing, the car, then petrol, then home.
Rob Beattie is the author of several popular fishing books. He's also a regular contributor to Waterlog magazine.