Saturday, 27 July 2013

Going fishing - a matter of life and death?

Beautiful perch
Well what an eventful day. Sometimes you have the urge, a need to go fishing and it feels like a life and death thing, the pull is so strong. At least that's how it feels to us fisherman anyway but today we were about to prove that sometimes it really is about life and death.

I've been out on the boat again with Woody for more ultra light fun in the hope of some perch. On that front it was a success with around seventy fish to the boat between us, though that figure is an estimate as we had far too much happening to keep track of fish numbers. It's nice to have an idea of fish numbers as it gives you an idea how the day went but to me and Woody it's not something we're chasing, there's no figure we're after before we start we just want a few fish and some laughs. Today we got plenty more than we'd planned.

We had the boat in the water for not long after 6am but when Woody tried to start the engine it was a struggle. He'd just had a tinker with the engine adding a new pull cord in the week and it seems something wasn't quite right, it seemed too short even though he measured it against the old one. Something to keep him busy in between the next outing but at least now he managed to get it going after a  just a few pulls. It was a cool morning considering the weather we've been having and we were both looking forward to the sun breaking through. In the mean time we picked up a few fish in a steady start to the day. Actually, I had just one perch while Woody had around ten. It just shows that lure choice can be a big factor. Neither of us think it's anything much more than the depth the lure gets down to and we reckon Woody was getting his lures deeper than I was. I either needed to change lures or hope for some shallower water. I knew the lure I had on gets to 14ft and there's plenty of water to come at that depth for me to pick up some fish, plus plenty of fishing time so I was confident I'd catch a few eventually.

Finally it was my turn and I hit a purple patch where I bagged ten fish in quick succession along a short stretch of boats. The fishing seemed good here and we had a couple of runs over it and picked up more fish. While passing a couple of boats, a couple of old chaps decided they wanted to talk down to us. What is it with some people? These chaps had large boats, obviously a bit of money and had lived a while but it doesn't mean they are superior to us insignificants. Most old chaps are spot on but sometimes you get a pair who think they own the river and that you're a nobody, an idiot and have no right to be here. "Can you troll further away from the boats?" one clever sod asked as we passed. Sensing the tone the question was delivered in I bluntly said "No". He then gave us a lecture on how if we hooked a fish it would go under his boat and get tangled in his prop. I assured him it wouldn't but he still harped on. Woody gave him a few words and we carried on what we were doing, trolling along the boats. His mate then piped up "just leave it you're wasting your time, some people just haven't got a clue". My god, some people think they're so superior to everyone else.

Woody chasing snotties
The fish were mostly perch, probably 80% of them the rest were pike all except for one fish. Woody just loves a bream on the lures. I don't know how he does it but he's always snagging one in the back. Actually I do know why, Woody is good at getting the lure down right to the bottom of the river and I think this is why he bags a bream more than anyone else. We grabbed a few pike from "like a pike but smaller" size to about probably 7lb and when you add a few of these in every now and again it adds for some good fun. I also managed to capture these couple of shots below of Tike watching as Woody plays a pike.

So we weren't doing too bad by now. It's mid morning and we're confident it'll be a fish filled day. We round a corner to an area we sometimes pull up so Tike can get out and have a drink and a pee, on a sand bank which is also a spot for people having picnics, throwing sticks for their dog and also very popular when it's sunny for people swimming. Obviously the sand bank is what draws them here. As we come round we can see a bloke/lad sat on the right bank in just his shorts. He's talking to a girl/young lady swimming in the river. She's about 30 yards from him maybe a shade more and she's 15 yards or more from the left bank. We can make out that he's asking her if she's ok and it looks as though she's treading water. I start to real in my lure, hook it on to the rod and stick it in to the holder. Woody is sensing the same thing and he gets his rod in. By now we can see the young lady is treading water but she's not comfortable, her head is facing up, her chin is up, her arms are not relaxed. The lad sat on the bank says "I'm coming" but he would be way too late. As if we've done this before, I turn and make my way to the front of the boat as Woody cranks up the speed of the boat. The young lady has a look of "what the hell?" panic and relief as we pull up by her. I reach out my hand and lift her and she grabs hold of the boat and then Woody guides us all gently to the side. She explains she's not the best swimmer and is getting some practice. "This isn't the place to practice" I say and Woody adds that the river is "28feet deep here love". The boyfriend has made it across the river now and we leave them to recover. She was a little embarrassed and relieved at the same time but we didn't hang around as there were fish to be caught. Chatting about it afterwards me and Woody couldn't believe it to be honest. I say it so many times about catching fish, but this really was right place right time. Had we been a minute earlier or later that could have been very nasty and thinking back now, I actually caught a fish 50 metres back round the corner. Had that been a big fish or a bad hook up that slowed us down or had we not even caught that fish that would have changed everything. Only this past week two girls have tragically died while swimming in a river during this hot weather.

Still shell shocked we'd only travelled fifteen metres before we had another moment to remember. The time is only 10:10am as I've checked the photo data just now. Some people spend their Saturdays morning fishing on a boat while others, well....

We reckon that this couple had been here a while, probably all night by the looks of the bottles in the sand. There is also a good chance the lass we rescued and her boyfriend were part of the group, as I did suggest to Woody before seeing this, that she might have been a bit tipsy.

Back to fishing and we continued to catch. Many of the perch were up to around the one pound mark with the odd fish a bit better. Some of the perch were stunning creatures and we couldn't help but admire them. They are a handsome fish and the bigger they get the more impressive they get. I hooked a fish which I first called a small pike but as it came close it turned in to a decent perch. I reckon it was pushing two pound though Woody wasn't being generous and only gave me a pound and three quarters. However we will never know since Woody quickly knocked it off the hooks before we could get a look, which suggests to me it was blatant sabotage on his part and indicates it was definitely a two for me! We had a couple of double hook ups including one not far from where I'd just caught that sabotaged fish. This area turned out to be a good spot and we went over it and back over it a few times adding to our perch tally. Strangely today we didn't do too well jigging for perch. We had a go on this spot, armed with the knowledge that perch were here and feeding. We just couldn't buy a bite though which was strange. We were just about to pack up the jigs and get back trolling when I got a good knock. If this was a perch it was a right lump and Woody braced himself and got ready to knock it off the hooks. It turned out to be a pike in the end but it had him worried I''ll tell ya.

We had one last scare of the day when the boat cut out and then wouldn't start. It seems that pull cord certainly does need sorting and for a while we were left slowly drifting down the river as Woody tried time and time to get it to kick in. We eventually were offered a tow by a passing boat, there are still plenty of good people about who are there to offer help. I'd just caught the rope and we had just started to be towed when Woody finally got the engine to fire up again. Saying our thank yous, we were back off under our own steam and fishing again. A few more fish were had before we were finally back at the launch and another good day afloat had finished. Today was one of those days where I was so glad to have been fishing. The fishing was good, the company and banter was too but the best thing was knowing that we had been in the right place at the right time and there wasn't another tragic news story.


  1. Same problem on the severn whilst Barbel fishing these last couple of months. loads of idiots getting drunk and jumping in the river. some even sliding down the weir! they just don't see the danger, the water is so powerful even when low. Not to mention the broken glass from all the bottles of cheap vodka.

    Great read as always :-)

    1. Sliding down a weir? Wow, that is crazy. I've seen an empty beer barrel caught in the weir near me get pushed under and then not appear for a good few minutes. I don't get how some people just don't realise the danger and it seems some don't even care for their own life.

      thanks for the comments John!

  2. nice fish, good story and a cracking arse. Good job you cant see my face in that picture!

    1. Wow, Ian, you do have a nice arse! ;) cheers bud!