Last casts of summer

            I enjoyed a catfish fishing session at Anglers Eldorado with some good friends back in early July and blanked. My good friend Bruce Elston did well during the session and also enjoyed success on several follow up trips to the venue. I was keen to get back to the lake for a last try as summer fades into Autumn.

            On August 30th with warm sunshine and a gentle easterly breeze I set off from home to join Bruce at the lake. The road wound through mid Devon countryside showing signs of a long hot summer.  I noticed that several trees were already taking on Autumn hues their leaves starting to dry up as the long drought takes its toll. I glanced at the River Torridge as I drove over to witness a pitiful trickle.

            I found Bruce set up at Eldorado cat lake with an adjacent swim that had been producing well reserved for me a few yards further along the bank.

            I set up my tackles and introduced a few handfuls of pellets and boilies into the area I was planning to cast into. We were both using beefed up carp tactics with boilies and self-hooking rigs.

            After an hour it was good to finally have the rods out and the bivvy assembled ready for a 24 hour session. I put the kettle on and looked forward to sitting back with an expresso. Things don’t always go to plan!

            I had inadvertently packed the wrong adaptor for the coffee maker meaning the capsules would not fit. As I pondered this issue the bite alarm beeped and rod tip pulled around as what I assumed was a catfish moved away. I picked up the rod and leaned back to feel nothing.

            First chance missed and you don’t always get another!

            A few minutes later I heard Bruce’s alarm and looked over to see his rod well bent as an angry catfish tried to find sanctuary in the overhanging branches of the Island opposite. Bruce held the fish hard grudgingly allowing line to be taken from a tightly set clutch. The pressure told after a few minutes and large boils appeared on the surface as the catfish fought hard in the silty coloured water.

            I stood waiting with the net as the fish came closer. A large tail broke the surface and then a large head and cavernous mouth. The head went into the net easy but its tail caused a few anxious moments as I tried to film the event with my go-pro in one hand.

            With the fish safely in the net, Bruce prepared the unhooking mat and weigh sling ensuring they were well soaked with lake water. The fish pulled the scales to 31lb 7oz. A great start to the session.

            An hour later my bite alarm bleeped into life and I struck into a hard fighting catfish. The fish powered away threatening to take me into a snag so it was time to give the tackle a good testing leaning back and seeing just how much pressure could be applied using 20lb b.s Big Game main line. After a tackle testing few minutes the cat was wallowing beneath the rod tip where Bruce wielded the net and safely secured my prize. Uncannily the fish weighed in at 31lb 8oz just an ounce different to Bruce’s yet a totally different fish.

            The rest of the afternoon passed by uneventfully until a much appreciated Fish and Chip delivery by Bruce’s daughter.

            As the evening set in we both topped up our swims with bait and cast out fresh. The sun slowly set illuminating the evening sky as swallows swooped low over the lake. We were both optimistic that the night would bring a further result with past sessions producing well overnight for Bruce.

            It is always enchanting to watch the light fade from within the bivvy with expectation of a run at any moment. The wind dropped away to leave the lake mirror calm. Bats replaced the swallows swooping in the night air.

            In the early hours I awoke to answer natures call and gazed up into a night sky full of vividly twinkling stars. The valley lay silent with just  the occasional hoot from  an owl.

            I awoke as dawn slowly broke and made a fresh coffee before checking one of the baits and introducing a sprinkling of pellets and boilies. I sat back still optimistic despite the blank night. I chatted with Bruce who was also surprised at the lack of overnight success.

            As the sun rose higher in the sky its light illuminated the far bank injecting vibrant colour into the day like an artist working upon a canvas.

            We both packed up reluctantly leaving the rods out until the last minute just in case. Whilst there is still time to catch catfish our sights are set on an abundance of other species as autumn descends.

Anglers Paradise