Another month has slipped by in what feels like the blink of an eye, Helen and I are keeping ourselves so busy that the time just flies by. Unfortunately we are not doing anything particularly pleasant as our work at this time of year is generally based on grounds maintenance. That translates into “hard graft”.
On a positive note it is nice to see that Spring has arrived, well it has here ! The daffodils are in full bloom, the butterflies are out, there is frog spawn in the ponds, the ducks are making nests around the lake, the weather is warming up and I am working without a coat on, the midges are hatching so the fish are feeding, and yesterday I saw my first damselfly. If that is not Spring then I do not know what is.
In my previous life I used to base the seasons on the astronomical calendar like most people do, which would traditionally see Spring arrive on the solstice in March, but then I was never close enough to nature to actually see it happen.
Since I have become a country boy I notice everything around me and I take my direction from Mother Nature, it is impossible to put a date on the arrival of Spring but I now prefer the Meteorological version, so in my little world Spring officially arrives tomorrow. Lovely !!
I realise now that I have made one serious mistake this last year and that was to not keep up with some of the strimming around the place, and in particular, around my Dam. I normally rip it down to the ground every Winter and then give it a Spring trim and sometimes a late-Summer trim, well COVID upset my routine last year and this last week or two I have been paying the price.
Last year I never did the Spring and Summer trims and did not get around to my Winter cut-back until now. A trim of the Dam would take me 2 very casual afternoon sessions and is relatively light work, this cut back has just taken me 7 full afternoons of back-breaking graft which I never wish to have to repeat.
At the start the brambles were 10 feet tall in places, the gorse bushes, broom, and heather were as thick as they could be, there were acacia trees sprouting up everywhere, it was going to be tough :
Apart from the final tidy-up I have just about finished and it does look a lot better. It was desperately in need of some TLC :
All I need now is a week off to recover, swinging a 10kg strimmer around for hours at a time has made me ache from my neck down to my pelvis, and working on a 45 degree hill for hours at a time has made me ache from my toes up to my pelvis, all-in-all, I ACHE, everywhere.
I must be getting old !!
The removal of the trees beyond the Far-Bank continues at a pace and we are now taking out the massive oak trees, there is light streaming in to places that have not seen the Sun for decades, and as a consequence it will be a totally different environment over the next decade or 2 while we wait for the new trees to take hold.
What I have realised is that it will mean that many of you will have to adapt your fishing to the new tree line. For those of you that do not understand that I will try to explain.
Many anglers make meticulous notes about each swim in order that when they return to a place for another session they can simply refer to their notes, one of the things they take note of is the tree line opposite themselves. During the day they can see exactly where they are fishing to and all they have to do is “clip-up” to ensure their distance is accurate, but at night it is a different matter, and the only thing that stands out is the tree line, so during the day they associate a point on the tree line to the direction in which they wish to cast and at night they can just cast at the same point on the tree line.
If they remember to clip-up then it is a very simple process to ensure that they are fishing to the correct spots, even if it is pitch black.
I know, I know. I can hear you all shouting “just buy a bait boat” and if it happens to have GPS navigation then all the easier. Well, many of us still like to do things the old-fashioned way, it might be more difficult but it provides satisfaction knowing that you can use what Mother Nature provides.
Lets get back to the tree line. The following photos will show you how the tree line has changed so far, look closely :
Swim 2, before :
Swim 2, after :
Swim 4, before :
Swim 4, after :
There will be a few more changes made before the job is complete but you can see what I mean.
As for the fishing, COVID continues to dictate the rules to everyone at the moment and although things do appear to be improving events have not moved fast enough for the start of the season. Most groups are hanging out to the bitter end but most bookings in March have now been cancelled and I am already getting a few rumblings about April.
I do have a couple of local lads on in March so I may yet be able to produce the first catch report of the season, I will obviously let you know how that develops, it would be nice to see a few fish on the bank.
Till then , take care, stay safe, and enjoy the Spring.