Wednesday 25 March 2020

Burrows 'Echoes From The Valley' Part 14

"It would appear that desperate times call for desperate measures and within these desperate times it seems that many people would rather step on your neck than hold their hand out to pull you through"

Observations Of The Outside World

I haven't written a blog for quite some time now, I've been preoccupied with life, work has been busy and I haven't really felt like communicating with the outside world at all. Not only that but 'via social media', something I genuinely try to stay away from, the whole 'modern carp fishing' scene and the concept of social media as a whole has been grinding on me, so much so that I've decided to delete my twitter account, the jury is still open on the 'page' I have on Facebook, not having an actual profile keeps me away from endless status updates, second to that, Instagram isn't so bad, I like the idea of sharing imagery. To me, it appears a vast majority of people out there are trying to be "rock stars", "angling gurus" or "social media sensations". Everyone's an artist, model, creative, dancer, writer, painter, sculpture, song writer and the most perplexing of all, a "Mental Health Advocate".  To me it all just comes across as an egotistical load of complete bollocks. Being so effected by mental health problems myself this "Mental Health Advocate" term seems to be used by people that want to gain more followers because of "their amazing contribution to mental health awareness" which in reality usually ends up with them just continually updating everyone on how bad they feel all the time, thus creating a platform to get the attention they so obviously crave. This 'observation' might come across as harsh, but having suffered with severe mental health problems myself, and still do, it's a subject, I not only have a huge amount of experience with, but it's something I'm very sensitive about. I can assure you that when I was manic, psychotic, chronically depressed, delusional and suicidal, the last thing on my mind was updating my social media informing everyone of my condition. But alas ........ we now live in a very narcissistic and shallow world and people will do just about anything to get that dopamine hit they continually require.     

Habitually Distracted

The way I see it, this continuous obsession with followers, likes and retweets is contributing towards the erosion of rational thought. However hard I tried I found myself preoccupied with the meaningless, I needed that notification fix, it's like my consciousness was split into two halves, one half was in the real world, the other, tangled in a virtual universe that held no baring on reality. I found myself looking for validation off of a bunch of strangers I'd never even met. HASH-TAGS were becoming a new language, all my thoughts had to be edited down to fit into 280 characters or less, my phone became an interface to access a reality that held absolutely no weight in the material world. I personally think social media is a virus within itself, it's a new form of mental illness and since quitting, all of a sudden the 'white noise' has fallen silent and I can, once again, think clearly, not be a victim of social engineering and not deprive myself of reality. Unplugging myself from "the Interface" is a beautiful feeling. These blogs will be my smoke signals to the outside world.

the interface

a vast junkyard of wasted humans,
forgotten geniuses eaten away
by their own genius,
derelict hosts once so nuanced 
prescribed an ‘overdose’
I’m living a counterfeit life
all seems real to an untrained eye,
it’s the era of the ‘death of self’
familiar imagery, thousands
having mastered mimicry
I haven’t heard one true voice

since we’ve wired ourselves
into the interface
we’re forced to participate,
the mob can’t wait to retaliate
to opposing views that challenge
their delusion, I feel the confusion,
it all seems such a waste,
I’ve spent years trying to cut
my connection to the interface,
it’s malpractice, a database
used to debase, a tool
to develop our predecessor
a freedom oppressor

So now I've finally decided to put "finger to keyboard", as you all know, I'm writing to you from a very different world, a somewhat uglier world than it was before, if that's possible. As you're aware, there is a virus, 'which I believe has been released on purpose' that is 'apparently' infecting thousands of people all over the planet. People are 'apparently' dying in numbers and with the help from the scaremongering media, ..... social media being the other main culprit yet again, .... we are now witnessing hysteria at a level never witnessed before. I've always said that "the true measure of the man is how he deals with a crisis", everyone can be a great thoughtful person when everything is going well. But when the shit hits the fan you tend to see people for what they really are. What I'm witnessing by the majority disgusts me beyond belief, the general public are like a pack of jackals scrambling over each other, tearing metaphorical flesh from the metaphorical bone as they strip the supermarket shelves and shops of anything and everything, caring, not one jot for those around them. 

Living in London you tend to see far more 'pond life' than you do if you're living out of town in more rural areas. But right now, human behaviour in every town and city has shown me that disconnecting from the masses and the fucked up social conditions that molds everyone's thought's and personalities has been the right decision to make. It's proven that in a crisis the majority turn into savages who are only looking after number 1. I'm sure there are some considerate people out there but I'm yet to meet them. I have no desire to communicate with those that have no thought for anyone other than themselves. I have nothing in common with those that take the moral high ground only went it suits them, I like people to be real not fake or a different person depending on whatever situation they're currently in. So whilst mankind continues to demonstrate that the distance between the evolution of the amoeba and the human is a lot less developed than one might think, I'll continue to 'stay down amongst' until this all blows over.   

So moving on to more positive things, over the winter I took a step back from fishing more than I'd done for a good few years, to be honest this worked in my favor. Not only did I enjoy my time on the bank more I also had some really productive sessions resulting in some really good fish, most notably the awesome mirror below. I don't know exactly what the driving force was but everything just fell perfectly into place. All my casts seem to be spot on, all my freebies were hitting the target and all the carp appeared to be playing ball. Compared to recent years we've had a pretty mild winter so I'm sure that this played a big part, marry that with the waters I chose to fish, it's no real surprise the bites came along.

A Cold Water Carp

So let us take the final journey back to the last two sessions that I did in the bottle-neck swim, all my recent blogs from the "Echoes From The Valley Series" are focused around this specific area of the water. It was a swim I was determined to make work for me, it turned into a complete single minded obsession. Results started off slowly but with a little persistence it started to fall into place. If you missed the first blog in this specific installment you can read it here Part 1. This blog will be accounting for my last two short sessions before I moved on elsewhere. The reason the last two sessions ended up being relatively short was due to the fact that most of the bites I'd had ended up being between 3:30 & 4:30 in the afternoon. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn and waiting all day for the bite, it made sense for me to turn up just before bite time and leave once the take had materialized. It became clear to me that the swim was a bite a day if you approached it correctly. I think my first session was an exception, two bites came because it was very clear that carp were feeding there in numbers.

View From The Swim
On the day of my fist session I arrived at the water around 2:30 in the afternoon, the sun was shining, overhead the clouds were broken and there wasn't even a whisper of a breeze. The world seemed pretty dam perfect, fishing this area had now become second nature. I got my alarms and pod sorted, constructed the rods, rigged up and got both baits out with zero fuss. Today I'd decided on a bait change, I was using Tigernut & Maple, it's another bait I have a huge amount of confidence in. Just like all the sessions before, I baited relativity heavy over both rods, with the bait change came a rig change as well. Bottom baits had served me well but taking into consideration that both spots hold a lot of silt I decided to fish a pop up on a 'Withy pool rig', this would be fished on a helicopter system. The 'Withy' is such an underused rig nowadays. To be fair I haven't used it a great deal in recent times, mainly because I'm fishing waters where I don't need to use pop ups, but it's definitely one of my favorite ways to present a popped up bait.

The Withy

Anytime I'm using a Withy or something similar I always set it up so the bait sinks through the water nice and slow, this ensures that the rig will sit over any debris or silt that might be on the bottom. I create my own curves so I have them in a variety of heights and lengths, some are more aggressive than others, basically I make sure I've got options depending on where and what I'm fishing over. Once all the freebies were deposited there was nothing left to do other than wait for that bite to come. Once thing I love about this specific swim is the tree cover you have, it's the perfect place to sit in the shade, and as the wind blows, the leafy branches above gently sway and occasionally create an opening where the sun can fire through. Sitting there with the warmth of the sun on my face made me realize what a multifaceted pass time angling was, without sounding too obvious, it's not all about catching fish. 

It didn't take long for the time to pass and before I knew it 3:30 was upon me and the prospect of a bite was edging ever closer. The breeze started to pick up and just like clockwork, I started to get liners off of both rods, with some careful observation I could see evidence of feeding, mainly over my right hand spot. Just as 4:00 approached my right hand rod sprung into life ..... result, gently lifting into the fish, the rod arched round and the clutch whirled and ticked. This felt like a good one, I took it easy, there was no reason to panic, I let the fish lunge, pull and thrust, gently cushioning each blow. It really woke up under the rod tip and made ample use of the deep margins, as it began to tire I started to see a fleeting glimpse of a lovely looking common carp, it was deep bodied and almost perfect looking. A touch more patience saw it in the net, as I looked down at my prize, it was clear I'd caught another one of Burrows beauties. 

A Classic Common
My hunch about the bite time had been confirmed again, it appeared they definitely seemed to visit this spot to feed later on in the day. I believe the one main point that helped the area remain productive was the simple fact I'd be fishing it consistently over a period of time and a lot of bait had gone in. I didn't see the point in staying any longer, a second bite rarely comes, the plan was to come back the next day and pretty much replicate what I'd done today.

Back Tomorrow
After getting some odd jobs done in the morning I headed down to the water for about 2:30 again. The conditions were slightly different to the day before. There was more of a breeze on the water and it was way more overcast, it felt nice and fresh. I got both baits out straight away, placed the rods on the floor and then proceeded to set both my pod and alarms up. I reverted back to bottom baits on both rods, there was no real reason for this, I was baiting the swim with Tigernut & Maple but I was fishing Green Lipped Mussel on the hook with small mesh bags of crushed GLM and Bio CP2 Amino crumb. Again, there was no real reason for the hook bait change, I just fancied trying something different. There are times when I have a short attention span over a certain approach or bait, I have 100% confidence in all the different baits I use, hence why I do switch them around quite often.

View From The Swim
GLM Hook Bait & A Crumb Mesh Bag 
 GLM & Bio Cp2 Amino Crumb
So just like the day before I twiddled my thumbs until around 3:30 and once the magic hour arrived I sat on my chair watching closely for signs of feeding fish. On cue I started to get liners and I could see streams of bubbles coming up from the right hand area again. After another few minutes of 'fidgeting', the rod fired off, a huge explosion of bubbles erupted from the spot at the split second the alarm screamed. Making contact with this fish I could feel that it was decent, they were slow powerful lunges and it plodded about in a 'hippo like fashion'. As usual, underneath the rod tip was where it really woke up, after a fair tug-of-war I netted a large pale looking mirror. I knew instantly that I'd had this carp before, if my memory served me correctly it was about 22IB. I didn't bother weighing it but I suspected it was of a similar weight. It's certainly not the best looking fish Burrows has to offer but it was appreciated none the less. 

Repeat Capture
This fish signaled the end of the session for me, not only that but it closed my time fishing the "bottle-neck", I was really happy with all the fish that I'd had but I wanted to move on to some different waters now. This whole period of time has shown me that if you stick to a certain area, keep the bait going and plug away, it's possible to get steady results. Taking into consideration I couldn't buy a bite from this swim in the past, I was more than happy with the outcome. 

Mission Accomplished

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