It’s April and the fishing lesson fun has begun! The long daylight hours and the increasing (slightly) temperatures have got the fish on the move and on the feed and everything just feels a bit easier.
The first fishing date early in the month was an Open Day event with booked group sessions. These 45 minute absolutely fly by but it’s amazing how far everyone progresses backing up my mantra, fishing is easy! Typically we go from, never been fishing before to casting, striking, landing fish and possibly even baiting the hooks and unhooking the fish. It is tempting to make these sessions a bit longer but 45 minutes seems to hit the sweet spot for a first time group. Plus, if they were longer I couldn’t fit quite so many of you in.
In the middle of the month we had the first evening session. These 90 minute sessions give me the chance to get everyone fishing with greater independence. My aim is to get everyone to the point where they don’t need me, then you’re a new angler! Evenings are a great time to fish and an hour or two after work is all it takes to unwind and enjoy the best time of day to fish (unless you like getting up at 4am for the morning feed).
As always there was a lovely group of you from five years old to, well, a few years more. And as always irrespective of age, the smiles of a first fish were huge. I’ve said it loads of times before but I genuinely love that moment, it’s such a privilege to share it. Everyone caught loads of fish and a variety of species came to the net. It was late in the evening when a shout from eleven year Callun and his mum Natalie drew our attention to his wildly bending rod and elastic stretching across the pond. Carp on! Now I don’t target carp on these sessions as they are a handful for anyone new to the sport but when one comes along, and we always get a few during the season, we do our best to land them. It’s a great demonstration of how a 4m whip and 4lb line can land really quite large fish. The scrap is one we’ll all remember and it was a real team effort. After a nail biting fifteen minutes fight we bundled the carp in the net more suitable for fish a fraction of the size.
We got Callun and Natalie comfortable with the fish and framed what is honestly one of my favourite fishing photos. Such a brilliant moment and one we’ll all remember forever I’m sure.
If you fancy joining me, click for the 2023 lesson dates
The fish of a lifetime
The opposite of any first fish must be a fish of a lifetime. It was during my lunch break on the fish session of the year that I spotted Tony, a committee member of the Waterside Fishery club hooked into a decent. Early in the fight he spotted the fished and exclaimed it was a big perch. After a decent fight he scooped it up. I could hear a figure or 2-3 pounds mentioned, a great fish and particularly for the lake which isn’t noted for big perch. It was when Tony lifted the fish from the water in his net that I couldn’t help think, that’s a very good perch. He was quickly joined by his mates who between them found some scales. The voices got louder, did they just say four pounds twelve ounces!? Time to go and have a look and make sure a decent photo was taken.
I’ve never seen a perch like it and if I’m honest, I’m not sure I ever will again. I’ve caught three pounders, big perch in my book but this was in another league! The smile on Tony’s face was the very same as those that I’d shared those first fish moments with all morning. The fish was a complete shock, no one knew it was in the lake and truth be told, the method Tony was fishing was an unlikely way of catching it. But, for me that’s one of the wonderful things about fishing. We can go with a lifetime of experience and claimed skill but a fish is a fish and a hook is a hook. The two can collide to create the most unlikely and therefore amazing moments. It was so good to see that moment and capture a photo of a lifetime.
As we move into May the fishing should only continue improving. With spring slow to get going I think spawning in the lakes and ponds is going to be later than in recent years so I’ll be chasing the carp for a little while longer. Time to try and catch a big one!