Gone Fishing

Be warned: this is a long, rambling post.

It’s the middle of July, and so far this year I’ve had a day of fishing with my Dad up in Yorkshire, and a day locally.  Until yesterday.  I actually managed to get out and go fishing for the third time this year.

I’ve been planning it for months, actually.  Sorted out my tackle, decided where I was going and what I was fishing for.  Loaded the car up, set the alarm, and got up.  Went to the loo, then made a drink.  And went to the loo.  And made sure everything was ready to go…  And went to the loo again.  And again.  Spent half the day sat on the damned thing, and daren’t risk going fishing when I was like that.

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Sorry I’ve not posted for a while, I’ve been away.

My partner – who is already disabled – twisted their knee and became incapable of standing unaided.  This was a major problem for us, as it threw all our strategies into disarray: nothing was working the same.

My parents are very close to their 60th wedding anniversary, and – for various reasons – their celebratory party took place last weekend.  At the other end of the country from me.

So.  I managed to get a place for my partner in respite care, and had some time off to attend the party.

I had a great time, for the most part.  I got to share a hug with a few family members I only manage to see rarely, and chat with people I’ve not seen in decades.  I even managed to get a fishing trip with my dad in.

I didn’t manage to find the time to sit down and write a blog post, though, for which I apologise.  A little.  Just very slightly.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I didn’t think about the blog once!

I’ve been caring for my partner – full time – for well over ten years now.  Closer to twenty, if I dare sit and work it out.  And in all that time, I’ve had fewer breaks than you can count on one hand.

We’ve had a couple of holidays together, in the early years – but I always take my work with me on those things.

I’ve had a short break where I travelled up to visit my father in hospital, when we were afraid he wouldn’t make it.  He did, and we’re thankful for that, but it wasn’t what you could call ‘restful’ for me.

I had another ‘break’ to attend my sister’s funeral – again, not very restful.

I did manage a couple of days to attend a christening last year – and got in a days fishing with dad, too.  But it was a flying visit.

I’ve had the odd day off to go fishing.

But… what all of those have in common is the way I felt.  You see, I’ll sit on the bank, rod in hand, and wonder if my partner is okay.  I always make preparations for them: sort out food and drink for them while I’m not there.  But I still worry about them.

This time, though… They were in a home, with 24 hour staff.  Any problems, there was somebody there to deal with it.

For the first time in a very long time, I was able to relax.  I didn’t have to worry about my partner at all; didn’t have to worry about anybody else; didn’t have to do anything.  I could just… do nothing.

I did a bit of shopping – spent well over an hour walking around a fishing tackle warehouse. (Bliss.) 

I took the dog for several walks.

I had a nap in the afternoon!  I never nap, but on the Sunday, I did.  We had a nice roast dinner, with wine, then sat in the front room where my dad promptly fell asleep.  I sat there, bored, for all of five minutes before my eyes closed.  Five hours later, I woke up and went out to the kitchen to make a drink.  Dad woke up a few minutes later and came out, apologising for falling asleep.  I teased him mercilessly about old men napping after dinner – not something that I would ever do…

At no point during my week off was I ‘bored.’  A couple of times it took me a few minutes to think of something to do, but there was always something to fill my time.

I loved every minute of it.  And now I’m wondering how I can arrange another break.

The problem is, my partner didn’t have a great time.  No reflection on the home – they did their best – but rather a reflection on me.  You see, within 24 hours of coming home, my partner had received more attention and care than they did all week in the home.

I’m just too good to my partner. 😉

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Funny how things work out

I made up my mind that I was going fishing last week.  No matter what, I was going to have some time on the bank on Friday.  Nothing was going to stop me.

I’ve not had a session for a few weeks, mostly because of my hands.  I have a particularly virulent form of eczma, according to my doctor.  All I know is I get sheets of skin hanging off, at times.  I’m wearing cotton gloves all the time, in part to keep the cream from contaminating the whole house, in part to stop the edges of skin catching on things.

On occassions, I’ve been unable to touch anything – and the idea of the fishing line catching beneath a loose flap of skin makes me cringe.

But… I want to go fishing.  I found some neoprene gloves on the ‘net, and bought them, along with 20 pairs of stockinette gloves, for around £17 including delivery. 

OK, neoprene gloves to keep my hands safe.  They’re a little on the thick side, so tying a knot will be almost impossible… so I’ll use the pole.  Pole rigs already tied, I just attach a loop to the end of the pole.  Baiting the hook can be done, just.  I’ll use a big bait, and a big hook: mussels on a 12 hook.  I’ll catch fish with that.  Maybe not a lot of fish, but the ones I do catch will be decent.

Okay, got it all worked out, right down to where I’m going to fish.  Don’t want it to be where the temptation to set up a rod will be too great.  Needs to be somewhere that I will appear to know what I’m doing while fishing close in.  I know the very place.

Next to the local railway station is a pair of ponds, owned by the club.  I’ve fished them a lot, and like it there.  Perfect spot, with some nice fish up to 6-7 pounds in weight.

That’s it.  I’m going.

Only I didn’t.  Not sure why.  I got up, and couldn’t summon the energy to fill a flask, load up the tackle, and drive out there.  So I stayed home, instead.

I’m glad I did.

As it worked out, I had a normal day at home: watched a bit of telly, played on the computer, took the dog for a walk.  Usual stuff.

If I’d gone fishing, I would have had a totally abnormal day.  I’d have arrived at the water, and spent a long time trying to park.  Then I’d have had to walk miles to the water to see what was happening – only to be turned away by the police.

I’d have expended the energy getting ready, and going, only to be denied my pleasure at the end of it.  N0t that the fishing would have been any good, what with all those frogmen scaring the fish.

You see, Friday morning, at 8:50, a body was found in the lake.

On hearing this, today, my first response was to check with my partner that they’d seen me lately.  Then I fired up the computer to get the story.

The body of a woman in her 50’s was found, and recovered by divers. Foul play is not suspected, but the cause of death is unknown.  (I’m confused by that: if they don’t know how she died, how can they say foul play is not suspected?  Bodies in lakes don’t get there naturally, do they?)

Funny how things work out.  If I’d got myself together, I could easily have hooked that body.  Apart from it being the biggest catch, I really don’t think I’d be able to fish again after that.

I know, I’m making light of a serious issue: somebody, somewhere knows this woman, and will be affected by it.  I feel for them – and I know that it could very easily be somebody I know.  It’s how I deal with things, though.

I’ll be watching the news, and I’ll let you know if there’s anything more of interest.

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Woe woe whoah!

I had a nice day out fishing last week.  It was a day of highs and lows, like most days, and I thought I’d share some of it with you.

To start with, I am lucky enough to have a choice of good spots to fish: as a member of two local clubs (though I think I’ll let one lapse at the end of this year) I have at least five lakes and miles of canal that are within a five mile radius.  There are more lakes, another canal, and miles of river within ten miles, too.

Before I set off, I decide what I want to catch, and choose the water accordingly.  This lake for a varied bag up to around 6lb’s; that one for quality roach; over there for big carp; etc.  Within certain limits, you know what you are likely to catch.

Last week, on the day in question, I wanted ‘decent’ carp – I really want one over 15lb’s, and my best so far is just 11lb 4 – so I went to the right lake for that.  Now, this particular lake (I know I’ve written about it before) requires you to cross fields and go down a hill to reach.  Not so bad, but getting back from the lake is a pig.  I’ve never managed it without stopping at least once for resuscitation.

(On a totally seperate note: I’ve just upset myself by realising that I’m really really getting old now.  For the first time in my life I’ve had to look up a word to get the correct spelling. 🙁  It’s the begining of the end.)

Where was I?  Um… oh yes, on that hellish walk down to the lake.  Well, as it turned out, the walk down and back was a real joy, for once.  I’ve treated myself, you see. 

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Privacy Policy woes

Today, I thought it might be a good idea to put a ‘privacy policy’ in place on this site.  So I set about getting it organised.

Creating the policy was pretty easy: I found a site that will generate one for you from a series of questions.  The Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry site will be happy to do one for you, too.

Once I’d answered all the stupid questions, and downloaded the file, I opened it in Notepad and modified it to suit my own needs.  Great, I now have an ‘official’ privacy policy document.  You can view it at http://blog.kbartholomew.co.uk/pwstatement.htm, if you’re really interested.

Now the fun starts, though.  You see, I have a policy in place; I have a policy document on my site; I have met all the criteria.  But I have no idea how to tell IE8 that I’ve done so.

How do I make this ‘policy’ show up when somebody clicks on the link in Internet Explorer?  How do I even do a search to find out?!

What search terms should I use?  Because, you see, I want to know how to set up a privacy policy, so I need to use that as part of my search term – and that gets me a list of every bloody privacy policy out there!  If I only search for the creation, the definition, the upload, the setting of… I get results that have nothing to do with privacy policies.

I either wade through thousands of policies, or thousands of web design sites.  I cannot cross-reference the two – search engines insist on giving me both.

I’ve tried visiting the Microshaft site; I’ve used every search engine I know of; I’ve tried website design sites; I’ve tried astrology, astronomy, heurology and graphology; I’ve even tried to read the entrails of a dead badger I found at the side of the road.  Nothing worked.

I have given up.  I could spend many more hours trawling through irrelevant search results – or I could go fishing. 

Tight lines!

Bloody football (Part 2)

I went fishing again today – and my fun was ruined by bloody football.

It was a scorching hot day, and the fish were on the surface.  Last night I prepared some dog biscuits, and I used those as bait.  I also had some bread, boilies, pellets and different biscuits.

First thing I did was throw in a few of my biscuits – and the fish loved them.  Once my rod was set up, I put a couple of biscuits on a hair, cast in, and waited.

Damn fish.  They came up all around my bait, sucked down the free samples, winked at me, and disappeared! 

(Actually, I had a pretty good day – lost count of the fish I caught, but it was in the 20’s, and they ranged from 2-3 pound up to 9 pounders.  All caught on the surface, all caught on bread or dog biscuit.)

I threw a couple of peices of bread out, to see if that would tempt them.  Then I put a boilie on the hook.  Now, the boilie I used was my own recipe: I call it the humbug, because it’s black and white.

I cast out my humbug boilie, but I think it must have been a little too big…  All these small fish kept trying to take it, and all they could do was knock it up out of the water.  It was quite funny, really, watching the boilie bounce about from one fish to another.

Then one of the fish knocked it between the the bits of bread, and all the fish dashed round the lake.

I cast again, and they did it again – knocked the boilie about until it went between the bits of bread, then they dashed off.

Bloody football!  The fish were playing football with my bait!

I got ’em though…

I put an orange on the hook, and blew my whistle!

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I’m going fishing

I’m going fishing today.  Or yesterday.  Or maybe the day before.

I couldn’t go on Wednesday, because my partner had an appointment at the dentists.  We were home by three, and I wasn’t going to cook, so I could have gone for an evening session – five or six hours on the bank.  It was hot, though, and I was tired, and I never got around to actually going.

Thursday was out: I have to be home from seven till nine PM, so I can watch the dog while my partner attends a meeting.  ‘You go,’ they said, ‘and I’ll watch the dog this time.’  But I decided to watch telly instead.

Friday, now, that’s my day for fishing.  We get up early, anyway.  All I have to do is load the car and go.  So I didn’t.  The forecast said heavy rain, so we sat at home melting from the heat. 

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What a great device…

I had another fishing trip on Friday, another new water to me – one belonging to the new club.  On my way out, I stopped in the tackle shop and bought a couple of floats and some bait.

The floats were not cheap, but they were a new design I’d seen on a DVD (Carp tackle, tactics, and tips Vol. 3,  presented by Danny Fairbrass and available free from most tackle shops). 

Made by a company called Korda (owned by Mr Fairbrass, I believe) these were surface controller floats.  The design is clever: you put your line through a thin tube, then slot the float body onto it.  The body has a slit that the line goes through, which is then blocked by the tube so the float will not come off.  The advantage of them is that it is easy to change the body for one of a different weight.

I bought one at 20g, and a spare body at 10g – I thought that would cover my needs for a start.  When I got to the lake, though, I found that what I’d bought was one complete interceptor float, and one of a totally different design…  The second one looked exactly like the body of the first, and was next to it on the shelf…  Damn, suckered again.

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Tired, so tired…

I’m exhausted.  Too tired to talk much, sorry.  Blame the fish.

A beautiful, big, ten pound mirror carp.

A ten pound mirror carp

I’ve been fishing, today.  Learnt a lot, and beat my personal best – I’m so glad I started fishing at the new place. 

I started out fishing the method feeder, using a mould and feeder I only bought this week – I managed a whole two bites on it.  I didn’t land either fish.  I have an excuse, though!

You see, while I was waiting for a bite (yawn) one or two fish decided to tease me by blowing raspberries at me.  They were more or less at my feet, and they looked like they needed a spank, so I pulled the margin pole out of my bag.

The margin pole – a Ron Thompson Edge Slammer – was free when I bought something else, so I stuck a 20 elastic in it and carried it around with me.  Today, it got used.  I grabbed the first rig I could find, wrapped a bit of bread around the hook, and dropped it on top of a fish.

Next time he blew a raspberry at me, he had to breathe in – and he sucked my bread in when he did it.  Boy, was that fight fun!  All I had to do was keep the pole up in the air, and wait for him to get tired, then I slid him into the net and lifted him out of the water.

On weighing him, I found he was just over the five pound mark (5.2 if memory serves) so I crammed some lead down his thro….  ahem.  I slid him back into the water, had a drink, and waited for the bloody ducks, geese, and swans to realise that they weren’t going to get any of my bread.

The thing is, though – here’s the excuse – I got my first bite on the feeder while I was playing that first fish.  There I was, pole in one hand, landing net handle in the other, watching my ledger rod bend in half!  As soon as the fish was on the unhooking mat, and covered with the wet weigh sling, I grabbed the rod and started to reel in.

He was still on, and he felt big – but I’ll never know, because after a couple of minutes teasing, he spat the hook out.

I cast out again, then tossed another bit of bread in at my feet.  Sluuuuurp!

Another tussle, another fish netted.  Just over 7lb, this time – a new best for me!  (My previous best was 6lb.) 

Wait for the birds to go away, cast in, and hook a third fish.  Play him, for quite a while, then net him and weigh him.  That was the fish you see pictured above – my new record, ten pound odd.  The scales said 10.79lb, but the sling – when I weighed it after returning the fish to the water – was .6lb, so the fish was 10.19lb.  My calculator says thats ten pounds 3.5 ounces – but I’m being greedy and calling it a ten pound four fish.

What type of carp is this?

What am I?

I had several other carp during the rest of the day, including this one on the left.

At first, I thought he was a crucian carp, but now I’m not too sure.  The tail seems too long, and as he weighed in at 4.8lb, if he IS a crucian, he’s a bloody big one.

I’m inclined to think he’s a hybrid.  F1?  Can anybody help me identify the type?

I’d love to be able to brag about catching a 4.8 crucian, but I’m not sure I have the right – I must find out if there are any hybrids in the lake.  The website says ‘Carp, tench, and crucians’ so maybe it could be.

OK, my arms are aching, my back is aching, and my jaw is aching.  (I seem to have this big grin, for some reason.)  It’s time I called it a day.  I’ll be back to moaning in the next post, I promise. 😉

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I can’t sleep – I’m too excited!

I’ve not been sleeping well lately, and last night was awful.  I woke up at 4am, struggled back to sleep, and woke again at half past.   I didn’t want to start on the whiskey at that time of day/night, and I couldn’t make a horlicks without disturbing the dog.

So I went out, made a drink, let the dog out of his cage, and lay on the sofa watching a fishing DVD – hoping I’d nod off.  I didn’t.  So when my partner woke at 8, I threw my tackle in the car and set off for my fishing day earlier than planned.

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