WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.
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WHEN SCOTTHORNE GOES FOR A WALK, IT’S HARD!
AGAIN I have found myself knee deep in mud, with soaking wet Goretex and hands like a penguin’s foot… and for what?
Well, not a lot really. 17lb on one match and a couple of did-not-weighs, followed by the cardinal sin… I packed up early on a team match.
I’d had enough. I draw like a two-year-old, and I am just not sitting anywhere near any fish, so I threw my rattle well and truly out of the pram and went home on a team match.
As I trundled through six inches of mud and sleet and rain running down my face, I kind of wished that the hardy souls in my section would blank too, as it wouldn’t look so bad. Luckily for me they did, there was just no fish there.
I have drawn the area on this river twice now, and it is devoid of fish. I’m not sure why but it is, and as I walked upstream to see if the other half, Samantha Perkins was ready to pack up, I could see clearly a pocket of fish. All anglers in this section were catching, it was as if we were on two separate venues, but I suppose that’s fishing.
Saturday didn’t go any better, practising again for a forthcoming semi-final. I drew a half decent part of the lake, hit and miss, but the pegs around it had form, especially the one to my right.
I optimistically trundled through the mud and snow again to my peg. I wish I hadn’t bothered to be honest, it was again barren. And proof of that is when the legend that is Alan Scotthorne is to your right, and disappears off his box with an hour gone…. you just know it’s going to be tough!
Anyway I sat it out, as again the better half was catching on Snake Lake, so I couldn’t go home early.
Three hours and 45 minutes later I have the slightest indication on my pole float, and decided to strike at anything. Next time it made a slight movement I lifted into a small chub, and then went on to put two tiny wasp-like perch into the net to save a blank and amass a huge weight of around 13 oz.
It was enough to beat one to my left and two to my right, but again instead of enjoying it, I packed away my soaking wet stuff, covered in mud… thinking “why?”
Why Steve? Every winter for the past 30 years I have fished has been exactly the same, but I still come back for more. And come next September when I am adamant that I won’t fish another winter league, I know I will, I just don’t know why. It’s like a drug.
Apart from catching nothing, drowning in sleet, and bordering hypothermic there is another unappealing factor to winter league fishing, the cost.
Now bait isn’t that much of a problem, because the current venue that we are on, a tin of corn would last the whole month, but the fuel bills and food for some of these teams must be astronomical.
Take Barnsley Blacks for instance. A very professional outfit, but geographically this league and practice sessions must take a heavy toll. I can only salute them for it, and keeping the league and competition as exciting as it is.
And hats off to anyone who has seen this winter through, and not become a butterfly fisherman – the whole trade appreciate it in these tough times.
Sam had a reluctant return to commercials, but returned in style to lead a quality field with 97lb from peg 15 on Snake.
But that isn’t the only reason, as I would not have normally awarded it to a carp-dominated water in winter.
The fact is she fished the River Soar on Sunday and won her section, and narrowly missed out on the frame with a superb tally of 65 roach on the punch for 5 lb 3 oz.
A biased but very worthy winner and the highlight of my fishing weekend to see really good young talent shine. Samantha darling, take a bow.
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