Despite not actually catching anything yesterday evening, I really enjoyed the fishing. Just as I was going to kip last night I had a text from the lake to say that a fish had been caught, and asking if I’d be back in the morning. So I made up my patented custard paste bait and put it in the fridge overnight. I had this plan to get in an hour’s fishing before the rest of the stuff I had planned for the day and, as always when I have something planned I didn’t sleep well. At 4.30am I gave up trying to sleep and got up. I was at the pond for 5.15am only to find everyone fast asleep in their bivvies.
I feel a word of explanation is in order here. A “bivvy” to the uninitiated looks like a tent, seems like a tent, and to all intents and purposes is a tent. But in piscatorial circles, to suggest that an angler would sleep in a tent is fighting talk. Real men have “bivvies”. There’s a photo of a “bivvy” on yesterday’s blog entry – I think it looks like a tent.
So finding “My Boy TM ” snoring in his bivvy, I decided to set up quietly without disturbing anyone. Have you ever tried tying a hook in the dark? It’s not easy, but I managed it in less than fifteen minutes.
And then excitement – one of the bite alarms screamed. And screamed. It was apparent that the first fruit of my loin was fast asleep, so I decided I’d deal with the fish we were catching. I picked the rod up, struck, and immediately got the biggest tangle of line you ever did see. The mechanisms of fishing reels have changed since I was a lad. I thought I’d better tidy up the mess before I got told off for interfering, and despite getting more line all over the place, after ten minutes I eventually sorted out the knots I’d created. I hoped that if I reeled the rod in, re-baited and cast out again before I got caught, he’d never know what I’d done.
Whilst reeling in, the end tackle seemed a bit heavy. And then it seemed to be pulling away from me a bit. And then the rod bent double – despite my spending an age mucking about un-knotting the mess I’d made, the fish was still on. It was at this point that a voice emerged from the sleeping bag asking what I was doing up so early. “Catching a fish” I replied. The monster pictured above (photo taken at 6.15am) is a catfish. Weighing nine and a half pounds, it’s the biggest fish I’ve ever caught. And it is (so far) the only fish I’ve ever caught to have poo-ed on me. Catfish are slippery things – trying to get a grip on it was tricky to say the least. It was like trying to grab hold of a huge wriggling bar of soap. Needless to say, “himself” then caught one which was just over double the size of my one.
I gave it until 7.30am, and then came home for breakfast. A couple of rounds of toast and an hour in Internet-land before getting on with the day’s round. It would seem that today was Streatham Common’s kite festival. I can vaguely remember mention of it, but from the kite forums it would seem that everyone else had emails about the event. Perhaps I should check the kiting forums more often.
Having returned “Daddies Little Angel TM ” to where she wanted to be for the day, we then went to the Chips for a ploughman’s for lunch. Chip was having problems with a jubilee clip. I offered to mend it with a hammer, but my offer of assistance wasn’t accepted, which was a shame.
Once fed we set off to the pond shop for Koi food. I’ve bought the cheap stuff because it’s a third of the price of the stuff I bought last year. This year they seem to be scoffing so well I hoped they would take the cheap stuff.
They didn’t seem too keen on it, but they will be when they get hungry enough…