Another year has almost ended as we approach the Winter solstice on December 21st and whilst we have only just entered winter this date signals the journey towards the spring and rebirth. As an angler my thoughts are tempered far more by the changing environment than the man made calendar.
Much of my angling effort at this time of year is beside the sea casting baits into the darkness from the local rock marks. The mystery of the sea entrances and entices vigils beside the water in hope of spurdog, bull huss, ray, conger and perhaps cod. The changing climate is influencing what we catch and this provides an exciting ever evolving challenge.
As I grow older I know that my days clambering around the rocks are numbered. I have had a few near misses and grow increasingly aware of the risks. But I just love being beside the water the anticipation and the feeling of being out there in the elements.
Whilst the salmon and sea trout fishing is months away I still take an interest in their life’s journey and try to glimpse the fish spawning on the redds high on the moors. I peered over a bridge on Exmoor a few days ago, a salmons wasted carcass lay upon the gravels. I wondered if it had succeeded on its journey and contributed to the next generation?
How has the weather impacted upon this years spawning a big spate in mid November had helped the fish to forge to their spawning grounds but since then the rivers have shrunk back after a period of little rain. What happens this year will affect the fishing season around 2021.
Stillwater trout provide a temporary connection with fish of an adipose nature. Hard fighting rainbow trout in cold clear waters with the thrill of the take and a great excuse to be out enjoying the great winter outdoors.
I read of carp and plan to cast more for these fish next year if I can find the time. There are so many waters that hold carp these days but which water suits my style of fishing. Commercial fisheries offer the chance of a personal best and I am tempted to chase a thirty pounder. Yet a neglected overgrown pond that is seldom fished appeals more to my carp fishing soul.
If I find time I will target perch and pike over the coming months. Pike is surely the essence of winter coarse fishing. A red tipped float optimistically poised upon dark waters that reflect the skeletal trees and dead reeds of winter.
A foray after grayling in cold clear waters trotting a float or casting an upstream nymph. Perhaps a session after silver flanked roach with crimson fins. As I list the joys of winter fishing I no longer struggle with the melancholic atmosphere of the season for I know that I cannot hope to fit in all that I wish to do before the spring arrives full of promise. All too soon we will meet in a riverside Inn and discuss past seasons and enthusiastically embrace the start of new salmon season. Trout fishing will commence on rivers and reservoirs. In the words of Jethro Tull; “Life’s a long song,
But the tune ends too soon for us all”.