Two whole weeks off work, that used to mean one thing.....lots of fishing. This time it was different, Christmas, the first one with Jessica around. Sixteen days incorporating three weekends, without fishing would usually be enough drive me bonkers, but the run of events meant that fishing wasn’t as sorely missed as I thought it would be. I did manage to get out very briefly, and enjoyable it was too, but this festive period was all about Jessica.
|My little angel...|
Unfortunately we all fell ill over Christmas. My man-flu started the day before Christmas eve, Jessica’s cold started a week or so ago and it seemed as if Corrinna contracted my germs on or around Boxing day. Our little girl was restless all through the nights which meant we didn’t receive much sleep, just the odd hour whenever the baby slept. Having said this, Christmas was as special as it should have been with our new addition to the family. I had planned to fish on (Monday) New Year’s eve but the forecast looked horrible with rain all day long. So after a time of moaning and cursing on the morning of the Sunday, Corrinna told me to grab my things and head off for an afternoon as the sky looked fairly clear. My eyes lit up, I kissed the pair of them and told them I’d be back before dark.
I made my way to my parent’s house to collect my things. I didn’t want to venture too far away, that way I could have a few extra minutes fishing instead of travelling. Dryad was the intended venue, not the main lake but the weir that flows into the river Wallington. I heard recently that some chub were caught there and ever since I’d been hoping for a spare afternoon to try my luck there. With just a few hours to angle I really didn’t want to be laden with too much tackle so packed a creel, net, rod and reel, small tackle box and a sandwich and bottle of water. Bait was a loaf of Kingsmill and I was on my way to the river just before eleven thirty.
I parked the car near Southwick pool, the water there was pushing through quite fast, I just hoped that it wouldn’t be that turbulent the other side of the bridge where I was headed. I crossed the road, turned onto the path and made my way last the old house and towards the gold course. This was a new shortcut I’d been told about which turned out to knock a good few minutes off the walk. The old house had a plaque on its wall that read “The Priory House”, a good omen I thought.
|The Priory House...|
Two gates and one fairway later and I standing on the dam at the head of the lake. The water here flows into a small snake like section that leads over the sluice and into the weir-pool before disappearing under the road bridge and into Southwick pool and becomes a continuation of the river Wallington. It was this small weir-pool that interested me. Grassy weed beds were visible and there was a lot of water flowing into the pool from a couple of angles, but it still looked worth a few trots. I set up a 10ft Chapman 500 with an Alcocks Delmatic loaded with 5lb Maxima. The chubber float took three SSG shot and a size 6 Drennan Specialist hook finished the set up. My new Andy Bachelor Crabtree net was on only its second outing, as was my Barder flamed 6ft net pole.
With a decent sized chunk of bread moulded around the hook I made my first cast. Deciding where to make the cast was tricky as the water swirled in so many different directions. I trotted most of them, at varying depths but the only time my float dived was when the hook caught some weed or bottom debris. After half an hour it was obvious that I’d have to change spot, and with this I thought the snake section worth a try, much slower and I could sit, watch the float and enjoy some lunch.
|A lovely spot...|
I found a delightful spot just around halfway between the dam and weir under a large oak, plumbed the depth, made the cast and removed my lunch from the creel. I looked up before taking the first bite into my cheese and pickle and wondered if the grey clouds that were hurrying by might bring some rain. Another half hour went by in the blink of any eye, lunch was enjoyed, the clouds seemed to be dry ones and the float, although very pretty riding the mini waves, failed to sink. I was getting on for two pm and I thoughts of a venue change were on my mind.
The beauty of travelling so light was soon to be discovered for I was packed away, past the fairway and Priory and back in the car within ten minutes. The next venue on my mind was Lakeside, closer to home and with the chance of a carp seeing as conditions were mild and overcast. The short drive took only ten minutes and soon enough I wandering a few swims where I seemed to recall there was one with very deep margins. I found the one I was looking for, dumped my gear and set up the rod. With a plummet attached I found a depth of just over four feet right against the dry reeds. On went a lump of flake and once again I sat back to watch my float tip ride the ripples.
|The wait begins....|
My friend Rod arrived for a natter so after chewing the fat for an hour of so I decided to pack away and get home to my girls, it would be a nice surprise for them to see me return before dusk. I said farewell to Rod, loaded the car and drove back home stopping at another venue on the way back, just for a quick peek. Baffins is a small pond in the centre of the city that had issues with algae years ago and was shut for angling. Recently the club has been working to get the water back to a fishable state and as of this season it is back on the books. I parked the car beside the pond and spotted all the things I have tried to avoid recently. There were hoards of folk walking off the festive food they’d indulged upon over the past few days, around half a dozen cormorants sat in the trees on one of the islands and I don’t know how many ducks, so many varieties too. It’s great that the water is available again, it’s just not for me. I much prefer the quieter places, away from the crowds and preferable when I cast I don’t want a hundred ducks fighting over my hook-bait.
Back home I was greeted with two fabulous, heart-melting smiles. That evening after dinner Jessica had her first bubblebath, which she enjoyed immensely.
Right now I'm sat with my girls on New Year’s Eve. I have a glass of ten year old port beside me and doubt very much I’ll still be awake when the clock strikes twelve. Happy New Year everyone.....I sincerely hope next year is a special one, for all of you.