As I managed to finally coax him away from the swings and slides the heavens opened and it looked like the fishing trip was scuppered. As we drove back I could see the clouds were passing over and it was only going to be a quick shower so I headed to the river anyway just to have a look if nothing else. The river was in fine trim when we got there and Jacob was still keen so we carried on despite the damp grass under foot. We were only trying the swim nearest the car, just a very short walk and we were ready to fish.
I started off with a new 13cm lowrider to see if I could get any takers but after a few retrieves with plenty of spins stops thrown in for good measure I was still waiting for the bang ! Like all new lures you need to give them time before you reserve judgement, they don't all work first cast. Jacob in the meantime was looking down at the lure box and asked if he could pick the next one. He liked the medium Big S in perch pattern which he liked to call the ' platypus one ' (as in Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb cartoon of course, ...I know it took me a while too !) I couldn't get the Big S to produce a hit so it was soon time for the next contender.
It was "the snakes" turn now ( 20cm real eel) and after a few runs through the eel did the job and produced this little tyke saving me the feared blank and putting a big smile on Jacobs face as I lifted it out of the net for him to see. Jacob even took the photo for me, not too bad for his first go.
|" It was this big "|
I was pleased to be able to show him the fish and even though he wasn't quite ready for a go on the rod himself yet he didn't complain or want to go home after five minutes so progress was definitely made. I was able to show him how I unhooked the fish and let him see the teeth and red gill rakers explaining how they work. It made me feel quite good to be teaching him about nature so close up in a way you could never get from books or TV.
After the fish was returned it was time to go but as I picked up the net to shake it dry I noticed a little silver glint in the bottom. Expecting it to be a little roach or chub fry I was pleasantly surprised to find it was neither but instead a perfect little stickleback fry. Amazing to see these little fish living in this once polluted river . They were which were pretty much where my love of fish began back in the stream near my house growing up where we would collect them in jars with our little nets. I've not seen many since those days so it always brings back fond memories of summers spent wading up and down the brook in Elmdon park with my little net, trying to collect more or bigger sticklebacks than anyone else. I can vividly remember that netting the bigger ones was always more pleasing than just getting loads of little ones, I guess the specimen hunter was always in me from the start! It was also nice to be able to show Jacob another fish species and one that is not often encountered by many nowadays it seems ? Not sure if that's because they are getting rarer now, or just because we don't get to wander around up to our knees in brook or stream with just a net and a pack of jam sandwiches for lunch anymore ?
This morning (Sunday), I headed out on a cool dawn to get a couple of hours in before breakfast. Not much to report in the way of fish really suffice to say I walked a mile or so along dew soaked pathways and tried lots of likely looking spots but the river seemed moody and with a tinge more colour in it today than the day before, the fish not responding to my efforts.
The only fish came at the end of the session when I heard a splashy lunge from something upstream of me. I headed up there and cast the real eel to the spot. Within two turns of the handle the fish engulfed the lure and bolted off through the ribbon weed like an exocet missile. After one of the most spirited fights I've had from a fish of this size, it was nice to at least get one on the bank to end the morning session with.
|Ah the old unintended two finger salute shot !|