Close Season Sorting - Not Just Teeth: April
Mark Barrett has been away from the bank, getting his gear sorted, and preparing for a spring assault on the tench.
I have a bit of a confession to make: I haven’t actually been fishing very much since the river season ended.
This is, in fact, nothing out of the ordinary for me as I actually hate this time of year with a passion; the pike have spawned, or will be spawning, and I have absolutely no interest in fishing for them at this point plus, after a winter in their pursuit, I am about ready for a change too. Other species are also thinking about spawning too and although I would normally have had a bit of a dabble for perch at this time of year nowhere really grabbed my fancy and with a late burst of warm weather I fancied the perch, always one of the earliest spawners, might just have gone over a bit earlier than usual.
In reality the two most consistent feeders at this time of year are bream and carp, possibly the two species that I have the least amount of interest in, though I ought to qualify that by saying that I have no interest in stillwater carp at all these days, river carp are where it’s at as far as I am concerned. I do tend to have little commercial breaks here and there just to wet a line but even those are dependent upon better weather than we are currently experiencing.
So, with cold winds, wet days and plenty of other things to do I have given myself a break for the larger part - and am now chomping at the bit to get back at it!
However, there hasn’t been total abstinence on my part. As the season finished off with two weeks’ of warm weather I fancied my chances at a local pit for an early tench or two. Sadly the tench were reading from the calendar rather than the weather and were still a closed shop so two nights passed by with not so much as a bleep to disturb the rumbling snores of Swamp monster who was sharing the swim with me. One thing that was of interest though was the sheer number of grass snakes that we saw during our stay; obviously the warm burst brought them out of hibernation, I just hope not too soon for their own good.
Aside from that I had just one more trip out to speak of and that was to one of my favourite fisheries: Fenland fisheries in Earith, Cambs. The fishery is owned by a friend of mine, Mike Hawes, but I don’t get down there that often since Mike turned all of the lakes over to day tickets and is now booked solidly for months ahead. Indeed so popular is his main lake that if you want a weekend on there bookings are currently being taken for September!
We were, however, visiting the smaller day ticket lake which has given me some great sport in the past, but with hail, sleet and a biting wind our chances didn’t look good - and so it proved. Mike the swamp monster did provide one bit of hilarity, as only he can, when he managed to lose his only pick up of the day when the carp wrapped his line around the rope on a safety buoy!
Though I may not have been at the bankside that much it doesn’t mean I have not been busy as there are plenty of jobs that have needed doing and, with my self-imposed close season in place, there seemed no better time.
First, and biggest, of these jobs was to get the garage straight and after a winter of slinging gear in and out the place looked like a bomb had gone off and...it smelt like casualties had been left there! In this task I had two willing helpers, willing in so much as they knew that there would be some freebies they could pinch from my reserves at least! So with Jamie and the swamp monster in tow we set forth to tidy the tackle shed. Five hours later and 14 full dustbin bags to the better and we had finally beaten a path to the back and got a semblance of order restored. Jamie and Mike left with armfuls of gear, I got rid of some of the crap that I wasn’t ever going to use and I put up for sale that which I no longer wanted, all in all a good result.
Next on the list was to sort the gear into its species specific groups and sort out my food bags and night fishing gear, umbrellas nets etc. Once I had tracked down errant spreader blocks, head torches etc I soon had a workable set of gear for just about all I am likely to go for this spring and it was with great pleasure that I drew the garage door down I can tell you!
Next on the list of close season jobs will be my boat. Having not had my truck on the road last winter the boat never saw the water so I will need to have a quick look over the trailer bearings, engines, batteries etc because joy of joys in the next week or so I shall be getting my truck back and the boat will again be an option once the season opens. I can’t wait to get it back because although she is a thirsty old beast, my old Isuzu will go just about anywhere and eats up as much gear a you can throw into her, plus of course she tows the boat.
So on the whole my close season has been a fruitful one away from the water but now the cries can be heard from Bawburgh and its time to head east and do battle with big tench once again and, hopefully, perhaps a big bream too. My mate Darren Stolworthy has already managed a 17lb 10oz male and I think the bream there owe me one as there are, we think, only eight fish in there all but one of them a double and most in the 15-19lb range. There is, however, one runt of the litter that weighs a mere 8lb 4oz - guess which one I have caught?!!
By the Same Author
- The Angling Trust, an ‘Unbelievably Weak Governing Body’ - Not Just Teeth: December
- Fishing in Sickness and in Health - Not Just Teeth: November
- Jigging for Zander and Deadbaiting for Pike - Not Just Teeth: October
- Autumn perch and catfish - Not Just Teeth: September
- Catfish, Carp and Kids – Not Just Teeth: August
- Paying your Dues?
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 3
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight: Part 2
- Sounding Off
- Zander Fishing - Shadows in the Moonlight