Stage three - and where I am at today - it's no longer what I catch; it's all about the techniques and tackle that I use to catch it. Enjoyment is no longer proportional to a bare statistic, provided by a set of scales - give me a centre-pin and a floppy 1lbs 2oz T/C rod and I'll show you a contented angler!
Of course I still love catching specimen fish, and I'd be a liar if I said any different. However, big fish are no longer the be all and end all of my angling expectations; I now pursue the enjoyment obtained by how I've out-witted my quarry and the greater understanding of their habits and quirks. (What made the barbel fishing of The R.Stour so frustrating - I never got close)
I watched a Youtube video of a guy using the lift-method (a traditional float fishing technique) for catching tench - superb content and imagery. It finished with the revelation (to me) that Dick Walker had never captured a 6lbs tench!
The whole purpose of this clip was to extol the virtues of the float over modern "bolt rig type set-ups" and to help sell DVD's. From what I saw the filming was top drawer; the angler very competent and knowledgeable. As he returned a 6lbs+ fish I have to admit to a twinge of envy - how I love tench and tench fishing. Unfortunately for me, however, is the fact that my tench fishing experiences are based around a golden period on the "greatest" tench fishery in UK history - Wilstone Res, Tring. It won't matter where I now seek tench, there is no way that I will ever re find tench fishing of that calibre. Yes, it is not unreasonable to seek a new PB, but will the fishery be as steeped in angling folklore, the backdrop quite so foreboding, as the concrete lined banks of Wilstone Res? The population of specimen tench, which inhabited the depths of the reservoir, during the period 1981-93, was phenomenal. I caught more than my fair share (well over 100 individuals) of 7lb+ fish with two 8's and a 9lbs 2oz during my time at this magnificent fishery. It is quite likely that my memories are rose-tinted and the reality wasn't quite so simplistic.
|My best pike taken using a centre-pin - 23lbs 4oz (Lynch Hill, Oxfordshire)|
I fished the RMC this morning, landing two pike (best around 8/9lbs) and messing up two other chances - I bumped what might have been a very good fish at 09.50hrs - such is life! Benno, Luke and, my brother, Simon were fishing at a Sussex water. Just after I'd packed up, Benno rang with the news that Simon had landed a pike of 21lbs 14oz - a fantastic fish from a very difficult venue. Another phone call, in the early afternoon, relayed the news that Benno had also landed a pike, although a modest specimen of 10lbs 8oz. Back at the canal; I fancied my chances of another fish, but time dictated otherwise - I was on my way home by 10.30hrs. I have another chance on Thursday - I have two days' annual leave to take before 24th Dec.
My head is spinning with ideas of carp, chub, barbel, tench and perch - not a lot changes in reality? I seek a project for next season - but I seek a project that will allow me to "go my own way" and ensure that competition doesn't spoil the vibe. Between then and now, I have a pike seaason to negotiate - a 23lbs 5oz fish on the centre-pin will do it. Have I the venue, the skills, or the technique, to resolve this particular challenge?