Daybreaker

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Squelching through fields and along tow-paths in wellington boots before the sun has even risen may seem like insanity to some, but it seemed perfectly sane to me yesterday morning.

I had prepped and packed my rucksack and breakfast the night before, meaning that I could venture forth quickly once my alarm awoke me. It felt good to have planned ahead and to be prepared.

IMG_0037Seeing signs of piscine activity upon my arrival at the locks made me smile. I was happy to be out of doors in the early hours, and the fact that I kept catching myself smile made me realise how much nature means to me.

I fired up my stove and got the kettle on for coffee and tucked into leftover Christmas dinner to break my fast. I also scattered some breakfast for the fish, of which they were only to happy to partake of.

IMG_0043Whilst the coffee was brewing, I set up my rods, preparing them for casting out into the murky water afore me. Buying a rig guide from Carpology has already made such a difference to my fishing, having given me greater confidence with knots, baits, leads and lines. After all, I cannot have my best friend with me all the time to show me the best set up for any angling occurrence. His family would miss him…

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The fish were very keen on the bait that I had put out, showing plenty of activity through the murk on the canal. I cast out both rods to where they seemed to be feeding, one midway across the canals span, the other in front of deep weed on the opposite bank.

They were keen to chow down on my bait, but not my hooks, no matter where I cast, my alarms staying silent. I was not unhappy however, as it was glorious to be at one with the elements. I know that there will be more occasions bankside, as the fish now have a taste for my bait. It is only a matter of time before one is in my net.

Happy days…

Mini Pocket Dump! 6/11/2015

Pocket-Dump-12-11-2015
Mini Pocket Dump 12/11/2015

1.A6 notebook (always useful); 2.KEYS!; 3. Papermate propelling pencil (why hadnt I been using these before? No sharpeners, writes anywhere; 4. Ancient wallet; 5. Reusable carrier bag (helps save the planet, and you have to pay for carrier bags in the UK now…); 6. Business card holder, containing cards for our art and design business.

Let’s go exploring… Chapter 2

Good evening… ready for chapter 2 of my walking and fishing adventures? Good. Pull up a chair, grab a brew, and I’ll begin…

Last Friday saw me head back further down the Grand Union Canal, headed for the spot I saw on Wednesday night. My bait was prepped, line, floats and weights ready, let’s go! As I was walking down towards the swim, I spotted a gap in the hedgerow next to me, and decided to investigate. There was a bloody pond through there!

I got really excited, as there was lots of activity, with bubbles and ripples coming up all over the place. I was really tempted to stay there and fish, forsaking my other swim, but wasn’t sure about permissions and so on. There weren’t any signs up saying no fishing or anything, and there was no access issues… I made a quick call to my fishing mentor, Rolf, to see what he though about the pond. He wasn’t sure either, and didn’t know whether he’d risk fishing there either, in case of hassles.  I logged the spot for further investigation, and headed to the swim I planned on fishing.

The swim was just past a set of locks and a bridge, and there was a lot of activity there too! I baited up, cast out and waited… As I was watching the water, I could hear the sounds of someone crashing through the weeds on the opposite bank, and generally being pretty noisy. The opposite bank isn’t easily accessible, so the folks must have cut through a field to get to it. Two loud, Eastern Europeans (I didn’t know what they were speaking, but it certainly sounded European) appeared through the weeds, crashing about and clinking bottles of beer, intent on fishing the opposite bank.

They proceeded to make lots more noise smashing down weeds to get access to the water. I’m happy for other folks to fish a spot, but the noise and apparent bad manners made me feel uncomfortable. I’ve heard horror stories recently from older anglers about Eastern Europeans turning up and ‘fishing out’ a spot, often cooking fish by the banks… I didn’t want to assume these two were intending on doing this, but I felt unwelcome in a public space. I managed to shake this feeling and carried on fishing for a while, getting plenty of knocks, but no bites. After a while, I decided to leave the others to it, and head back to the pond for a short while…

By the time I got back to the pond, the light was going, so I baited up near the bank, and cast short near the edges. Bingo! I got the best bite I’ve had so far, proper full on tugs, two of them! I was grinning like an idiot, happy with the action. The light was gone, so it was time to be homeward bound, but a return visit to the pond was definitely on the cards!

Second swim
Left bank of the pond
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Giant weeds – deadly?
Second swim
Second swim

Let’s go exploring… Chapter 1

It’s been a really good week for exploring the countryside and waterways around me. Not having a car for a while makes a huge difference. I like it, heck, I even rode my bike this week!

It was the last Scout meeting before our Summer break on Tuesday, which was great fin, as we set up a HUGE water slide, covered it with baby bath and water, and spent a couple of hours slipping and sliding. Much hilarity ensued. I also got my paperwork for Assistant Troop Leader sorted, and just have a short informal interview next week, then I’m official! Excited! We had chips from our fab chip shop to celebrate!

On Wednesday evening, I went exploring for new fishing spots. I had already planned getting some walking in, after finding out more about the state of the fish stocks in our stretch of the canal, so a journey further afield was required. I knew I could get to a further stretch of the Grand Union Canal by following footpaths, so set out after supper for a lovely walk through corn fields and onto the canal.

You come onto the canal at a set of locks with a bridge next to them, and there were already good signs of fish around. Just after the bridge there is a big swim, surrounded by tall reeds, with plenty of weed and features for fish to hover under, which looked really promising. I logged that swim for a later session, as I was headed for a bridge further down the canal. Walking down this stretch of canal was lovely, as I hadn’t really explored it that much, and I love walking in the countryside. Heck, I just love walking!

There was good signs all the way down the canal, and it was really nice to stop at the bridge to set up and start fishing. I’ve driven, cycled and walked over this bridge so many times in my life, that it was just so nice to be stood next to it, immersed in nature, and scanning the tree line opposite for signs of fish. I baited up with this evening’s corn mix (hot chilli, ginger, mustard seeds and sesame oil) with my ace old baiting spoon (big old kitchen spoon… we’re on a tight budget these days!), and cast out to the opposite bank…

It was pretty quiet for a while, but then the feeding began, and there were a good few knocks, with fish showing interest. Casting around a fairly small stretch of water seemed to be paying off, as there was definite activity. There was a HUGE splash at one point, sounding like a cow had jumped in the water. It was too far over for me to see anything, but there were some BIG ripples coming out from the trees… Hmmm.

I stayed there until the light started to really go, mindful I had a two mile walk back, and I didn’t fancy doing it in the dark! Happy that I’d found another good swim, I packed up and headed back up the canal for home, smiling and content. I checked out the swim near the locks on the way back, very happy to see signs of BIG fish over there. That’ll be the next session sorted then!

To be continued…

Stormy Cornfield
Stormy cornfield en route to the Grand Union Canal
locks
Locks after the bridge
A6 trees
Trees on the opposite bank
A6 towpath
Towpath heading towards Wistow
weeds swim
Weedy swim on the opposite bank
baiting spoon
Trusty baiting spoon!
PORK!
PORK! Evidence there’s definitely been fishing done here!

Wind Power…

Thanks to Thomas Dolby for the title! Linda, Fizz and I went for a walk in the woodland next to Gumley church this morning. After being stunned by the beauty of the trees (so straight and tall!), we came across a huge tree which had been knocked down (by the heavy winds last week?), and had taken out many more trees too. Incredible to see the power of nature.

Enjoy the photos!

Big fallen tree Fallen trees Tree trunk Spilt trunk Knocked down trees Curvy tree

Lovely day for a walk.

Me and Fizz (our German Shepherd) went for a walk to the canal fields in our village this morning. Partly for a change of scenery and routine, but mostly so I could check out fishing spots for the weekend.

It’s been a glorious day today, bright, sunny and warm. The trees around the canal look great in bloom, and the canal is looking good for fishing, plenty of surface activity, with bugs skating around and fish eating them. It was just lovely being out in nature, surrounded by trees and looking at the differing qualities of light. We are so lucky having such a beautiful space on our doorstep.

I checked out a few potential swims on the canal banks, under the shade of the trees, and have earmarked them for fishing, hopefully on Sunday, I just need to get some bait!

After checking swims, Fizz went for a swim! It was so nice seeing her really swimming, breathing heavy with effort, proper doggy paddling! (Mind you, Fizz won’t be coming fishing with me… I don’t think German Shepherds and fishing mix!)

tree spot
Tree at the third swim
Second Swim
Second swim
First Swim
First swim
Fizz Swimming
Fizz swimming
First Spot
Potential swim
Woodland
Woodland

A walk in the park…

Lovely morning today (Tuesday) walking and talking in one of my favourite places, Bradgate Park, in Leicestershire…

Okay, so it was an early start (up at 6:00am to start walking at 8:30am), but it was definitely worth it. It was so nice to be in the park nice and early, feeling like we had the place to ourselves. I think there was about 30 of us, and we set off in pairs, primary school style, talking about our businesses and life in general. Every five minutes, one of the organisers blew a whistle, and we moved up to the next person. Great fun, and a wonderful way to network and get to know people.

We also had one of the park wardens with us who stopped occasionally and pointed out interesting parts of the park, telling us about how Bradgate Park has become self-sustaining. There was a big ‘ahh’ moment when we saw the new herd of deer, including very little ones. The deer have the run of the park, and it’s a beautiful sight seeing large groups of deer moving around, feeding, grooming, just being deer.

It was a little squishy underfoot, given the time of year, but you were busy chatting and taking in the atmosphere that you didn’t really notice. After walking for an hour, we all headed to the cafe for coffee, tea and bacon butties! (Or croissants and jam, if bacon isn’t your thing…) There was the opportunity to network further during breakfast. I met some lovely people from all kinds of businesses, and hope to be working with them in the future! I’ll definitely be walking and talking there again.

From an exercise point of view, it was great, as the pace was good for my knees, and the softer ground meant lower impact too. I’ve been doing yoga too for the last week, as that is also really good for my body, battered as it is. It’s helping my balance and flexibility, which will pay off big time when I ride Flatland BMX this weekend, weather permitting. Low impact exercise is paying off mentally and physically, and making me really happy, and more importantly, fitter and healthier.

It's been raining...
It’s been raining…
Deer
There are lots of deer in the park, honest!