‘WHAT do you actually do all day, while you’re waiting for the fish to bite?’
Most of us will have been asked that question at some point by a non-fishing friend, and I’ve long thought that anyone who feels the need to ask will probably never be a fisherman.
If they can’t grasp that just being there is enough, they aren’t likely to get any of the other stuff either.
That said, I usually answer with something vague and non-committal, along the lines of ‘well, there’s always something interesting to see’.
As anglers, we have all seen things that escape the lives of most. The view, be it from the bivvy door, seat box, or waist-deep in a river, rarely disappoints.
Some are more memorable than others. I have watched two badgers scramble down the bank to drink from the shallows at first light. I have observed countless salmon hurl themselves up improbable rapids during my many visits to the Highlands. I’ve seen hares boxing on the far bank while barbel fishing on the Kennet, and enjoyed more glorious sunrises than Postman Pat.
But that’s not all. In the days when I used to fish a very public lake in Swindon, I also saw drug dealing, car-burning and overly-amorous couples enjoying drunken, moonlit encounters . . . so it hasn’t all been poetic and beautiful. But it has been interesting.
Last weekend, I was able to witness one of nature’s great spectacles. On the secret pit, the one I’ll allude to often but never name, the carp have started spawning. If you’ve never seen it happen, I urge you to do so.
The recent hot spell made this annual ritual inevitable. Three days of consistently high temperatures is usually enough to see the fish gathering in the gravelled shallows, charging through the reeds with their backs out of the water and working themselves into a frenzy which belies their usual caution.
If you want to know the size or number of carp in your lake, wander its banks during spawning. You’ll soon find out.
If you’re lucky enough to be there when it happens, you’ll doubtless be so enthralled that you’ll forget all about fishing for a while – and that’s no bad thing.
The carp of the Water Park and the lovers of Swindon are agreed on this; there are times when a discreet distance is appreciated.
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