Of Apaches, paranoia, pike, perch and ruffe

      You might say the fishing was a bit of a mixed bag this week, perhaps that is an understatement, in fact I'm sure it is when I think about it. There I am in one of the local tackle shops buying a bit of unwanted gear and the inevitable query comes. 'Catching many?'
      'Some' I reply.
      This is the point in the conversation where you don't say a word or your lovely quiet places won't be quiet anymore and there's a good chance the farmer might shoot you. Or turn Bastard Barry loose at the very least and that is after having not fed him for two days.

      Out on the Fen I settle into the selected swim and the first thing I hear is the steady beat of rotor blades; at this point you begin wonder about the contacts your interrogators at the tackle shop have. The chaps in that helicopter probably know what colour underpants you're wearing and the name of your first girlfriend.
      The Apache did circle, twice, they were obviously looking for a target of opportunity but I think my reed coloured camouflage jacket fooled them.

      Anyway back to fishing. On goes a lobworm the chosen bait for perch for today and they are the sole target, the pike are for tomorrow and the first bite brings the first ruffe of the season and ten minutes later another, a red letter day by any definition. I love ruffe and gudgeon, they appear all dowdy but when you have a close look they sparkle and have the most beautiful turquoise and blue flashes in them. What a pity they don't grow up to four or five pounds they would certainly give the perch a run for their money.
      At the end of the all too short but freezing cold session two ruffe and twelve perch had been netted, all caught on lobworm. The shoal of perch must be a pretty consistent size because none of them were bigger than a pound with most of them in the ten to twelve ounce bracket but never mind they are beautiful fish. The really big perch seem to have managed to do one of their periodic disappearing acts but they will turn up again, sooner rather than later I hope.

      Saturday's session was in pursuit of pike and perch and the old, 1948 Hardy 'Ideal Roach' rod that has been restored by Andy Sliwa was going to get a rare outing to catch perch. On the first cast and after a couple of bobs down goes the float and the mother of all perch is on, apparently.
      Ironically the giant perch turned out to be a beautifully marked pike with a taste for lobworms but that fish provided a lively five minutes or so on the light line but who's complaining, certainly not me.

      On the opposite bank about thirty yards away a kingfisher was fishing from the reeds and he, or she, was rattling up a bag of small roach and rudd that any match angler would have been happy to catch. The diving, catching and eating routine went on for a good hour and when I was packing up a pair of them returned to the same vantage point and had a real fill-up on the fry. The kingfishers were having a bit of a fry-up you might say.

       Fourteen perch, one ruffe and a further two pike later and it was home for a beer. The second pike, a solid double figure fish, returned a perch that must be one of the luckiest fish in the river; the perch showed a flicker of life after the pike regurgitated it and when I returned the rather dazed perch to the river he swam away. I hope he did the lottery on Saturday night.
      The last pike, a jack of about three pounds had recently had a lucky escape too, the bite marks of a large fish were plainly visible across its tail area on both sides of his body, that must have been some predator with a mouth that wide.
      A day of lucky breaks all round really and at least one of the 'breaks' wasn't my old Hardy 'Ideal Roach' rod.


  1. Fantastic John. Yes, close up gudgeon and ruffe are really quite beautifully, rather like a boat fresh herring which again has iridescence abundant. Saving some pike for you and Scribbler for Monday.

  2. I thought I was the only one that loves gudgeon and ruffe. Beautiful fish. Yes Wak, fresh herring are incredible looking fish. Might even bring my chub rod on Monday. Maybe.


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