I must admit that I was already fishing a rod, for eels, before that magical hour. To my way of thinking, and that of the EA, eels don't breed in freshwater, thus are fair game during the close season. I managed to land four nice specimens, to 2 lbs 9 oz, during the hours of darkness. The other two rods, however, were cradled in their rests awaiting the church clock to announce the off. One slight fly in the ointment? The church clock doesn't chime after 22.00 hrs, so I was forced to keep an eye on my phone to ensure the ritual was performed as planned.
Both spots had been pre-baited with a scattering of munga and the rods clipped up to present my baited hooks as accurately as possible. The moment came round, rods were cast and a can of San Miguel raised in honour of those anglers, many of whom are now long gone, who've inspired me to become a fisherman. A Water Rail flew over, calling as it passed, then a Whimbrel did the same. Every now and then a Reed Warbler would burst into song, luckily sleep wasn't much of a priority. I'd set up my kit under the stars, no brolly or bivvy but, a heavy mist descended and my outer sleeping bag got a proper drenching from the resultant dew. It was an incredible session which got even better at 02.30 hrs when a Siren R3 sounded and the clutch of a GT 4000 announced that a carp had taken my hook bait.
A very spirited battle resulted in my first ever syndicate carp being drawn over the net chord. At 17 lbs 15 oz, it was a lovely Common which, after weighing, was placed in my "recovery" sling so that I could get some photos when the dawn broke. WRONG!
It's called a "recovery" sling, not a "retention" sling, for one very simple reason. Once the carp had rested, for a couple of hours, it simply surged out of the contraption with a huge splash as it made its' escape. Not having any photos of a carp of that size is never going to cause lost sleep. But what if it'd been that thirty? I'm off to see Camo tomorrow in order to rectify the situation. Always learning, and this was a tough lesson, but one that won't need teaching twice.
I came away from the fishery well pleased with what I'd achieved, at such very short notice. The tidal Stour project gets under way tomorrow, hopefully, and is something which I'm looking forward to. I'll now revert back to short session angling, picking and choosing my visits to coincide with favourable weather or tide conditions. The syndicate carp and eels ain't going anywhere, so I've always got a plan B should it be required?
I nicked this image from the Skynews page - hope they don't mind?
I'd just like to finish by giving a huge thumbs up to Marcus Rashford and his campaign to ensure underprivileged kids continue to get free meals during this unprecedented Covid-19 period. At the age of twenty-two, all I cared about was having enough money to buy another pint! "Cometh the hour, cometh the man!" - Marcus has certainly stepped up to the challenge and proven that being a decent member of society is far more powerful than anything Boris & Co can concoct with their elitist clique mentality..