It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside

My alarm’s set for 4.45am on Saturday morning, but being the early morning tit that I am, I wake up at 4.30am instead - which is a bit of a lie in compared to the 4am alarm call for fishing the previous morning. Anyway, I get up and wander downstairs, say good morning to Storm, put the kettle on and get myself ready to go fishing. Full on winter compression gear because it’s looking a bit nippy outside, and as Storm looks somewhat quizzically at me, once again I remind myself that I was born to compress.

A couple of cups of coffee later and I head outside to I strap my rod to the racks on my car and then scrape a layer of ice off the windscreen. I am feeling a little smug but also a little less manly because I’ve packed a pair of gloves in my rucksack for this morning - is it a getting older thing that you feel cold weather in the hands a bit? Never used to at all. Storm jumps into the car boot, in goes my rucksack and lure bag, on go the waders and boots, and we’re off.

I’m not far so it’s not long after my car is as warm as toast that I get there. The sky is full of stars, it’s nice and dark, and there what looks to be a gentle little swell rolling in. Perfect. I want the first of the ebb tide and then a bit of first light. I’m feeling pretty confident. Nobody else around (my mate Mark is due to turn up later on), Storm’s as excited as ever to get going, it’s a bit bloody parky but the walk down to the rocks will get everything moving - does a Saturday morning get much better? Regular people are still fast asleep, but because we are anglers we get to access parts of the day that most other people don’t - and it still gives me a thrill.

Things are looking that good that I am pretty confident of at least getting a hit from a fish within the first few casts - and I do. Just a gentle bump on one of those white Albie Snax lures, but it’s a sign of fish and my confidence levels are sky high. An hour later without a fish though and my confidence levels ain’t so high.

I see Mark’s headlamp wandering down, so I head back to my rucksack to grab some coffee and change lures. As much as I am obsessed with the DoLive Stick, I haven’t been fishing them in the dark, but I am hearing more and more about anglers who are doing well with these lures fished fairly slowly at night. No fish yet so it’s got to be worth a lure change.

Mark gets there, we say good morning and all that, and I tell him I’ve had no bass yet, but that I am changing over to a DoLive Stick as now seems as good a time as any to try it out like this. Great minds must think alike here, because Mark’s already got a DoLive Stick clipped on and he’s ready to go. The tide’s dropped enough so we can just about wade out to a bit of reef we both like.

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Bear in mind that I have been fishing on my own for an hour - it’s dark and cold and there’s the merest hint of first light approaching from the east. I’ve seen a few shooting stars and my confidence levels have had a boost after that bit of coffee, a lure change, and Mark turning up all raring to go. This has surely got to be it. We never really deserve a fish, but I kinda feel like I might be owed a bass or two…………

So you can imagine how warm and fuzzy I instantly felt inside when Mark shouted across to me that he was into a fish on his first sodding cast. Bless his cotton socks and all that, it makes me feel so joyous that my mate has caught a bass on his first cast of the morning on a lure/method we have been meaning to try, whilst my previous hour’s thrashing yielded precisely squat save for a bass nudging my lure but obviously deciding that I wasn’t remotely worthy of further attention. Are those trumpets I hear, signalling my joy at this (his) capture?

“Well done Mark, nice fishing (you spawny git and it wouldn’t be remotely funny if you fell off your rock when you went to land the bass)”, or something along those lines! OK, so his bass wasn’t exactly going to break any records, but on this cold November morning I am not feeling so warm all over that my mate has caught a fish on his very first cast. I’m pretty close to blubbing with sheer joy that it’s happened like this, and I wish no wading related ills on Mark at all. Hell, as I wipe the tears of joy from my eyes and concentrate on my own fishing (blanking), I ponder upon the meaning of life and how fishing in all its glory can make me laugh and cry at the same time. I never did catch a bass on Saturday morning, but my frosty morning’s couple of hours of thrashing the water sure did feel a whole lot better because my mate caught a bass on his every first cast! Was his soaking wet foot after our fishing the next morning the fishing gods getting one over on him for me? Honestly, I didn’t find it remotely amusing at all………….