Raindrops keep falling on my head

The fire is warming the room and more importantly is starting to dry my sodden clothes which are unceremoniously draped over a pair of drying racks arranged around it. I fished for an hour today and got soaked, the first day of real rain we have had for ages and I had to be out in it. Ah well, that’s fishing for you.

This wet session was not really planned, I had nipped over to Carrick-on-Shannon just to buy some maggots and decided on the way home to sneak an hour with float and feeder on Bellanascarrow lake near Ballymote. Heavy traffic choked the roads in and around Carrick but I got my bait and took the N4 out as far as Boyle. The R245 road winds from Boyle to Ballymote, demanding close attention to the succession of bends. Parked and togged out, I hopped the stile and trotted off down the tarred path full of anticipation. I like this lake, it has always been good to me in the past. The rain, which had been little more than drizzle up until I reached the town increased in ferocity as I was tackling up with big, fat drops splashing hard on the lake surface.

The feeder was first to be set up and a small cage filled with ground bait and a few maggots was hurled out 40 yards and left while I fiddled about setting up the float rod. So intent on rigging the float, I took a while to notice the nodding tip as something nibbled at the feeder. I struck into a small fish but it threw the barbless hook halfway in. Re-baiting and casting soon had that rod back in business so I returned to the float adjusting exercise only for the same bite/strike/fish falls off process to be rapidly repeated. Was this going to be one of those days?

Finally, amid the downpour I was reasonably happy with my float and the over-depth tippet of 2 pound nylon terminated in a size 18 spade-end and a couple of maggots. The light tippet was chosen because it was the only one in my rig wallet! Soon the float dipped and out came a skimmer. A roach soon followed then another skimmer. Cold, unwelcome water somehow found a way inside my hood and was now running down my neck and around the same time I discovered that my ancient waterproof trousers are no longer waterproof. Another bite and another skimmer kept me smiling through it all though.

I was feeding small balls of groundbait and an occasional loose feed of maggots to try and keep the small fish in front of me and this was working well. The float shot under again and I lifted as normal but the response was unexpected. The fish charged off to my left then suddenly it was away out to my right. A serious bend developed in the venerable old float rod but just as I was thinking I was getting on top there was a ‘snap’ and the big fish was gone. I can blame nobody else but myself for its sudden departure. I have been broken by big fish in this lake before and I should have used a much heavier tippet. Cursing loudly, I wound in the sad remains of the float rig and tied up a new tippet of four pound breaking strain nylon. Why didn’t I do that from the start!!!

The speed and violence of the fight felt very ‘tenchy’ to me but I could be wrong. It might have been a carp – someone told me once he had heard there were some carp in this lake but I took that with a massive pinch of salt. Whatever it was it felt large and angry. The feeder rod which had registered two quick bites at the start remained utterly ignored for the rest of the short session.

More skimmers and roach fell to the float fished maggot once I resumed fishing. In all I got to seven skimmers and three roach before deciding I was wet enough for one day and packed up. Squelching my way along the path to the car park I made a mental note to make up some new tippets in 4, 6 and 8 pound breaking strain this weekend. While I am at it I want to treat myself to a new pair of waterproof trousers, driving home with steam rising from saturated legs was not overly enjoyable.

An hour in pouring rain catching a few silvers may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it was nice to be out in the fresh air. Tomorrow I am planning another, altogether more challenging trip. That is if my clothes have dried out by the morning!

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