With the new fishing season underway here in the UK on the 16th of June, I took myself down to the river yesterday morning to dip my rod in the water for the first time this term.
I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the east of England that is blessed with some lovely rivers to fish. Both the River Great Ouse and the River Ivel (a tributary of the former which passes through my home town) offer and produce some wonderful local sport.
However, before my trip to the bank, I had to go to my local tackle shop to buy my bait - a pint of maggots, made up of both red and white grubs. Noticeably the price has risen to £3.50 a pint this year, but everything else is more expensive nowadays, so why not fishing bait?
I arrived mid-morning and found a swim covered by tree growth (pictured above) which looked like a likely spot to fish. Setting up, I managed to untie the obligatory reel tangle (which always seems to happen to me) and was soon underway. It would have been difficult to fish using a float in the relevant conditions, so I decided on using a maggot feeder, with one maggot on a size 18 hook as hook bait.
I quickly hooked into my first fish of the season (a small roach), soon followed by another larger example of the same species (pictured left) weighing probably about half a pound.
In the two hours I stayed by the river, I hooked a few more roaches and a couple of tiny gudgeons (which I refer to as gonks), ending up with a very angry perch of about 8oz. There was no evidence of any chub that often patrol this section of the river, nor sadly any barbel.
So after a lovely couple of hours I packed up my gear and returned home to start planning my next trip down by the riverside.
Tight lines everybody!
Have you ever used or even had much success using seed tape?
In theory, the idea of your seeds being perfectly spaced between layers of tissue in a strip makes the process of sowing quick, easy and effective, but does it work very well?
In my experience the process is rather hit and miss and I had mixed results with poor germination.
I even experimented one year by trying to create my own tapes. I used a cheap white kitchen roll, cut into a strip with seeds stuck on at the correct space with a flour and water solution. Again the results were ok but the percentage of germination was again quite low.
So why do you ask, I hear you say? Well, when I visited that top class garden retailer (Lidl) today, I noticed they are clearing carrot and lettuce seed tape at £1 a pack. So young green fingered Tatty, always on the lookout for a bargain, snapped up a couple of packs. I also bought a bag of their compost which I have to say is not a patch on the stuff sold by their German counterparts, but here I digress.
So what results will I achieve this time? Well I'm not holding my breath, but my fingers are crossed.
Hold the front page! I can officially declare that I have retired from paid employment.
Well if the truth be known I stopped working a couple of months ago. I was totally fed up working amongst a load of idiots who had no idea about working as a team and were just hell bent on blaming everyone else for their own ineptitude. My arthritis was also causing me a lot of grief whilst on duty so I bit the bullet and decided pretty much on the spot to call it a day.
But hang on a minute I hear you cry. You are only 64 and not at retirement age yet, how are you going to survive not working?. Well luckily with a few wise pension investments over the years I am in a position to be able to hang the old boots up!
So what am I doing to keep myself busy? Well I am a keen gardener and love spending time in my veggie patch and greenhouse tending my crops. I like a bit of woodwork and I faddle around in the shed creating all sorts of strange wooden items (more about that in a future blog) and I have recently got into restoring old pieces of furniture (Money for Nothing on TV has a lot to answer for).
I love watching the pony trotting on TV and have subscribed to Racing TV to fuel my wicked passion (I was lucky to take a half price deal) and I have also taken a voluntary position with the British Red Cross which keeps me amused one day each week.
My other passion is for river angling and I intend to visit the banks of the River Great Ouse in St Neots on a regular basis when the new season gets under way in a fortnight. I may even dip my toe in the water as it were and take part in a few club matches throughout the year (something I have never done in the past).
Retirement is definitely for me – I can truly recommend it. The only problem is that there are barely enough hours in the day and I seem to be far busier than I ever was at work!