You know when you go for a job interview, and they ask you that really awkward question, usually towards the end of proceedings:
"What are your weaknesses?"
What the hell are you meant to say to that?! Do you say that you have no weaknesses at all, and thus, show yourself to be a right know-it-all? Maybe you are supposed to show your modest side, and admit that you're pretty shit a time-keeping, you can't function without a fag break every twenty minutes, or maybe that you don't actually know what a "CAD package" is, despite the face that your CV states that you are conversant with all of them? It's a fine line between making yourself look like an over-confident twat, or conversely, like a fucking idiot!
In terms of angling, I'm fully aware of my weaknesses, and I've no qualms about letting everyone know what they are. One such weakness was glaringly obvious today: when it comes to striking at lift bites, I am shite. To a lesser extent, it's the same story with drop-back bites on the tip, too. I'll be sat there watching the waggler or pole float, and the damn thing will rise half an inch, and I'll be sat there doing sod all. I know full well that in all probability, a fish has taken the bait, moved up in the water, borne the weight of the last dropper shot, and thus relieved the float of some of its buoyancy duties. My eyes can clearly see what's happening, but it seems to me that one of two things are happening within my brain:
Either it cannot process the information.....
EYES: "Eyes to brain....the float has moved in an un-natural manner.....something has clearly caused the line, and thus the float, to move in this way.....I repeat, the float has moved".
BRAIN: "Message received.....just processing information now.....erm.....hang on.....I know this one.....don't tell me.....erm.....something about moving.....the.....?"
EYES: "Aaagghhh, forget it, it moved back again three seconds ago.....knobhead."
Or maybe the brain can comprehend it, but it's the next process that's at fault?.....
EYES: "Eyes to brain.....the float has moved".
BRAIN: "I'm on it, we need to strike. Arms, you need to take action.....arms.....do you read me?.....arms?.....ARMS?!.....OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!!"
ARMS: "Hello.....did someone call?"
I was in need of a splodging fix. Not an hour grabbed on the canal after work, a proper sit down session. I'd already booked the day off work to look after my youngest, since her school had chosen today as a teacher training day. She'd since had a better offer, though: bike riding, dog walking, baking and playground shenanigans with a friend, no less. I can't compete with that - we don't have a dog for starters. I could help pack her off to said friend's, chuck some tackle in the car, call in for some bait, and be down at the local pond for 10am-ish - good arrows! The weather forecast was a bit shitty: a drop in temperature compared to the last few days, and a very strong north westerly. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and besides, I know a corner of the dam which is always sheltered, whatever the weather.
As it turned out when I arrived, someone was already sat in the desired spot - bugger! The only other sheltered area was bang opposite on the north bank, so that's where I headed. I couldn't be arsed dragging the seatbox down there (it wouldn't have fitted in the car anyway - bloody saloons), so it was the 30Plus chair that happened to get all manner of brackets, rod rests and rollers attached to it.
The short pole was soon set up, and a generous helping of pellets fed at 8.5m. I was fishing for bits initially - I'm a great believer that a crowd attracts a crowd (as Stewart Bloor often says in his excellent blog) - the idea being that if you can get the small fish feeding, curious larger fish are bound to come and see what the fuss is about at some point. Using a very light setup with single reds on the hook, small roach and perch were forthcoming right from the off.
A step up in hook size and a change to meat brought a skimmer before things went quiet. I remember the local guru (there's always one!) once telling me that fish often backed off here, and that adding a pole section should soon put me in touch with them again. Sure enough, meat continued to do the business at the increased range of 10m, with a steady stream of net roach and skimmers all afternoon until I packed in at 4pm.
A bit of an odd day really, weather wise: the wind was causing all manner of problems early on (and I'm not talking about yesterday's onion bhajis!) although this died down mid-afternoon. It rained briefly, too - they didn't forecast that! And crikey, they don't call this side of the dam the Orbison Bank for nothing - good job I had the polaroids with me. Flippin' sunburn at the end of September!
All in all, a top day down at the local fishery. I'm guessing I probably had close to 10lb of fish in the five hours I was actually fishing - roach to 12oz, skimmers to 1.5lb, a few perch and a gudgeon for good measure. Now, if only I had mastered the (embarrassingly basic) skill of striking at the lift bites, I'm sure that figure would have been closer to 15lb. No matter, it was the first time I had pole fished in a while, and it certainly knocked the cobwebs off.
Predator season soon. I'm sure there must be some monster perch in here, what with all the roach and gudgeon. Hmmm, where have I heard that before?!