Saturday afternoon and as always a couple of quick hours on the drain after sergeant stripes, otherwise known as perch. As I arrived the scene was idyllic, barely a ripple anywhere and just to spoil the idyll no sign of any predators moving, it was that calm.
Out go the two pike rods one with a smelt on the riverbed and the other with a popped up roach in the margins, with the two pike rods settled I decide to fish with punched bread to catch some small silver fish to use as fresh bait for the perch. Despite moving the pike baits around all remains quiet.
After about half an hour or so I have ten or twelve beautiful fresh baits in the bucket and set up another rod for perch. There still hasn't been a flicker on the pike rods, the floats remaining becalmed on the mirror-like surface, in the doldrums you might say. I watch the kingfisher, well two kingfishers actually, doing their own impersonations of a match angler building his bag, but in their case they are piling in the protein as they smack into the water and emerge with a small fish clamped in their beaks.
Then the peace is shattered as a massive swirling take hits the perch live bait, when I reel the float in the bait has gone, ripped from the hook. On with another baitfish and half an hour passes then float disappears with a resounding plop and moves swiftly away under the water. Finally a perch is netted, not big but a morale booster if nothing else and more than welcome.
As the light fails the float quietly disappears barely ruffling the drain's calm surface and this feels like a really good fish because it stays deep jagging away and swiftly changing direction for four or five minutes.
Already, in my mind's eye I am taking a photograph of what feels like the biggest perch I've ever caught until I draw it towards the net and see a very, very large perch that is holding the roach with its head out of its jaws and I can clearly see the hook too. The perch simply has the bait in a death grip.
Oh no please don't let go, and as the perch approached the very rim of the net he did just that, and I watched my prize slip away. A cry of 'bugger' rang out across the fen.
The next session is going to be in a thoroughly perchified swim at a new venue on the drain and this picture and the anticipation it creates will relieve some of the disappointment of Saturday afternoon.
That's fishing for you.