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Here we go again

It's about this time of the year that I gently re-introduce myself to fishing after the winter break. There's some fun poking about rustiness, occasionally something more esoteric where I worry over losing the fishing gene that's supplied me with so much fun and contentment over the years, before getting down to the serious business of the fishing itself. This season however, I'm going to do things differently.

More fish
I'm going to make every effort to include more photographs of actual fish this time around. A radical concept I know, but putting myself under pressur to produce pictures of fish may actually improve my catches. This isn't to say that I'm renouncing the contemplative (some would say aimless) character of my angling, rather that I'd like to catch a few more - and larger - fish this season.

More waters
I also intend to try some different waters this season. And where I can't, I'll be fishing different swims. Like any creature of habit, I've been gravitating towards the same old spots for years now and though I won't abandon them entirely, I won't be visiting them quite so often.

More tactics
I'm going to regret this, but I'm also planning to try some different techniques. Currently, my tactics can be summed up this: if it's a lake I float fish the margins, and if it's a river, I leger - quite often in the margins. Er..that's it. So, I'm going to have a go at trotting and will try some more sophisticated end 'rigs', I believe they're called.

Anyhow, back at the lake, the conditions were interesting. Warm enough for a t-shirt, but overcast, almost thundery - perfect weather for barbel. Fortunately, this isn't one of those lakes where stillwater barbel have been introduced, a wrong-headed experiment, the capture of which is only likely to lead to disappointment - a bit like Ronaldo and his three 'ladyfriends'.

Instead, it's roach, then rudd, then bream, then more roach and rudd until finally, a carp comes out of the fallen tree in front of me, snatches the bait and makes a beeline back where it came from at top speed. I hung on, the Mitchell taking the strain, giving line at just the right moment (I must have set the drag on another occasion - pure luck). The carp got tangled in the bush but I could still feel it and after a moment or two it gave a muscular wriggle and then emerged. It came up, gave a kick and then flew off again, but I could tell that the first rush had knackered it. Pretty soon it was safely in the net. About 7lbs I reckon. A beautiful golden common and well worth the trip.

Elsewhere the kettle did its stuff, the poncho got a brief workout and I got home in time for tea - chicken curry since you ask.

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