At last! Fishing has improved. It may still be August but around here it looks like mid September and the fishing has responded accordingly. Heavy showers, including two inches in two hours have freshened things up and the fish have roused themselves from their midsummer torpor. Many rise through the day to Olives, although evening fishing is on the wane.
I missed the rain, having been on a kids free holiday with the wife. Child "A" had taken herself off to a Greek Isle, and then on to Portugal and Child "B" descended upon Cornwall with a group of friends and family. With concealed trepidation, and a big pile of books, Wife and I jetted off to the mountains and cold clear water of North West Corfu. Foolishly I forgot to pack my travel rod, but I would have been seriously under-gunned against a gang of Albanians packing spear guns and snorkels who chased the most baby of Bass from rock to rock. Next time, because there will be a next time as the whole week proved to be a bit of a success, the 9ft 8wt rod is going in along with a float rod for tiddler bashing off the rocks.
At home, control was ceded to parents who kept everything ticking over beautifully.... and spoiled the dogs. I am told that the intense rain lifted the river and sent some blanket weed bowling on downstream dragging out Ranunculus as it went. There are a few bare patches, and the level is as it was before we left, but the river definitely looks fresher for a flush of water. Some trees are already shedding leaves adding to the early autumnal feel,and the apples and pears are dropping from the trees, but the grass has gone into overdrive and much of days since my return have been taken up with mowing and strimming.
The Pheasants have arrived, and what a multicultural bunch they are, with poults of all shades and sizes from tiny pale and white to the big black and melanistic; who knows how they will fly, but they all seem to be sticking around. The rain has brought their feathers on and they look in pretty good knick. The introduction of the poults into the pen draws the attention of the resident pheasants who sidle over to check out the new kids on the block. We seem to have quite a few of last year’s birds about, judging by the number feeding on the rides around the pen.
The Maize has shot up with the warm wet weather although the Combine has drawn to a halt and the wheat in the fields that we shoot over is starting to look a little black. About fifteen years ago, heavy rain at this time of the year left part of the wheat crop unharvested and the seed dropped out in the field, subsequently the parish was full of portly pheasants and the food bill was minimal for that year.
After successive winters when the duck shooting has been poor, I am feeding the pond a month earlier to see if we can attract ducks and establish an early feeding pattern. With the heavy rain, Farmer Palmer has had little to do but drag around his plough and disks and little stubble remains. The ducks need somewhere to R&R, so why not the pond? Plastic ducks bob seductively, and barley is on tap to attract all but the most fickle fowl. I’ll leave plenty of cover for a few weeks and hopefully word will get round the duck world that this is the place to be.
Our Rainbows are soon to depart. Fin perfect lumps of four to five pounds they will make their debut on the angling scene at the local big fish water, I wish them well, next year’s lot arrive four days later.