|A much needed reality slap!|
Who am I?
- Dylan Wrathall
- An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!
Wednesday 31 January 2018
Hot August Night
It was 1987 and I was a mad-keen chaser of specimen fish. Basically I didn't have the required skill to discover and exploit venues for myself, so I chased yesterday's news like some headless chicken (with fishing rods!). Late summer/early autumn meant Zander fishing and the only fisheries available to me were the Fenland Drains of the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire borders. A Kings Lynn AC ticket was the key to access many miles of these waters and I spent many happy days exploring the various spots, all the while yearning to catch a "double". In the late 80's a ten pounder was still a very big Zander, catch one over twelve and you rubbed shoulders with angling's elite! I was close, having landed a 9 lbs 8 oz specimen, from Three Holes, in October 1985 so was now on a mission to add those extra 8 oz to my PB. It was the Bank Holiday weekend and, with three nights available, I had time on my side. I set up camp on The Cut-off Chanel, just outside Eley, and had a superb Zed of 9 lbs 2 oz on the first night - things were looking good.
I then spent the next twenty-four hours without as much as an eel bite. With just one night remaining, Sunday into Monday (the Bank Holiday) I decided a new venue was needed and, as Three Holes had provided me with a PB, my decision wasn't a difficult one. I think that I'd been to The Cherry Tree, in Welney, having lunch and a couple of light ales, then grabbing a nap in the van before, later than planned, arriving at the Middle Level and getting sorted for the coming night. No bivvy, just a bedchair under a brolly, the rods were positioned to fish my baits close to the far marginal lily pads. Traps set, there was nothing more to do than wait! I flipped the top off a French dumpy and offered a toast to the angling gods. It was 03.15 hrs when the back-biter sounded as something had just taken my small bream live bait. Picking up the rod I was convinced that this was my moment. I set the hooks and found myself attached to a very determined and powerful fish. Knowing that it was my first "big" Zander, I played it as if it were a bar of gold, frightened stiff of loosing my prize. Up and down the drain it powered, as I hung on with grim determination, this fish was going in the net however long it took. The fish began to tire and I felt that my moment was almost at hand when the fish surfaced and my world fell apart! It had a bloody pike's head on it! It was a decent fish and I stuck it in an ET Pike Tube, but felt absolutely gutted. Why me? Why a pike not a zander? Another French dumpy and I drifted off into a troubled snooze. When I awoke, the sky was clear and the sun just appearing over the adjacent flat lands. Down in the margin was the pike tube, pegged out, containing that imposter.
It was only when I saw the fish in the daylight that I realised what an utter tosser I was! An absolutely magnificent, scale and fin perfect, pike, of 17 lbs 1 oz had blessed me with its' presence and I had lost the plot. Not my first pike taken during the hours of darkness, but it was the one that produced the wake up call. One of the most important lessons of my angling journey and, now, a very fond memory.