A Magical June 16th

By Joe Gacon



June  16th,  the anglers equivalent to Christmas Eve and a day that has never failed to fill me with joy. At aged 13 I remember being told by my mother that it was ok to night fish with my friends.  I cannot describe to you, the level of excitement we used to get on the run up to that day.  We would eagerly gather round a friends' garage, comparing tackle, and counting our floats.  Certain songs on the radio bring back those memories like it were yesterday.  When I hear Terence Trent Derby "Wishing Well", I can still see the dawn mist creeping closely to the surface of the water on my local gravel pit, the needle prick Tench bubbles around my Drennan Stillwater blue, my hand slowly reaching for my rod, my finger on the drum of the Mitchell match spool, my body in a stillness that literally had me holding my breath in anticipation.

Nearly 30 years have passed since that day but I still feel some excitement as the season  approaches, although when I was a child close season applied to all still waters as well as river's.  The three months of total blackout brought withdrawal symptoms and had everybody itching like mad.

Lots of things get in away when you're an adult, you're once free time plundered and divided equally between work and family life, but I had  found  time to cook up some hemp and maize and make my way down to my chosen swim with a spod rod and a bait dropper three times before the evening of June 15.

I decided to concentrate my efforts by a Weir pool that had produced a couple of good Barbel and a 20 plus common for a very good friend of mine the year before.  He has since left the area and upon leaving, his final wishes were that I should fish the swim and find out what other treasures  it may hold.

With my gear in the car, I was sure that I had forgotten absolutely nothing and made my way to the local supermarket for food and more importantly tea bags. Driving over the river bridge I noticed to  my amazement that there was no one fishing the inlet for the power station!
This was unheard of locally, every year people would camp out there days before the start of season, because a warm water outlet was well known for drawing the fish in. Turning the car around  I decided to have a look.  The locals call this place the aquarium because it can be so full of fish, but when I rocked up,  I noticed that it was completely overgrown with lilies.  It would be barbaric  presenting a bait in amongst this lot, as much as I wanted river carp and how close the previous season had drawn me to the edge of insanity; this was definitely not my style so I'd turned and left.  Food, tea bags, frying pan purchased... (I had forgotten something.) It was time to load up and make my way through the long grass to the swim.  As I pulled my Barrow backwards it became tangled in those Vines that leave green sticky balls all over your clothes, sweating from head to toe I looked up to see an Indian man riding an elephant who informed me that he had been forced to turn around, and that the grass was far too long in the direction that I was heading.  I chose to ignore him and soldiered on eventually arriving at my swim pulling half the field behind me, shattered and dire need of a drink!

Once the threat of cardiac arrest had subsided, with lots of time to spare I set about reading my kit for that magical midnight hour. As the time drew close that feeling of excitement was back again.  Two very short under arm casts later, both my rods were set at close range on a gravel spot along my left hand margin.  Choosing my footsteps carefully I followed the red light from my head torch back behind the camo netting and sparked up the kettle.  Rubbing my hands together I smiled. My chosen line of attack for the weir pool was use of a bait dropper delivering mixed pellets in hemp oil alongside MadBaits The Force boilies.



It wasn't too long before the left hand bobbin shot up and the rod tip nodded viciously but the clutch didn't tick.  As suspected my first fish was a Bream but I couldn't help but notice how big the Bream were getting along this stretch, if it had I not been captured on such crude but necessary tackle this would have been excellent sport, the average Bream now reaching double figures. Hook point checked, rod out, and the kettle was back on.  Not long into my cup of tea and the same rod again sprang into action, this time a chub 5 pound 12 ounces.



This action continued throughout the night leaving me tired but with what I saw as an impressive tally of big bream and chub, my intended quarry of Carp and Barbel however, managed to avoid capture. Avoiding picturing the double figure bream from the first night because everything would be smelly, in my wisdom I thought it could wait until the second night.

Needless to say, in the  true spirit of fishing the Bream had moved on and I missed my chance for pictures.   I couldn't feel too down about this, after all there is still tomorrow... or in my case (in three or four weeks) after a family wedding, work and spending time with my kids I am once again due some parole. Until then I will be returning briefly with my spod rod, bait dropper and perhaps a machete.




Joe Gacon is backed by Mad Baits and Jack Pyke


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