The Wandering Angler, 2008

December 2007

December has arrived and with it any semblance of a chance to go fishing has vanished beneath feet and inches of flood water, icy winds, snow, sleet and rain.  The weather in recent weeks has certainly not been kind to the degree that even on the odd occasion that it has been dry the rivers are so high and fast that any attempt at fishing them would prove futile.  I managed only one session in November and that ended with no fish, cold feet and a red nose.

I had hoped that December would hold more promise with the chance to go ice fishing and maybe get amongst some new species but unless the temperature drops a few more degrees and the rain finally turns to snow there will be no ice and it is hard to see that any attempt at fishing from the bank would be worthwhile.

Itís not all bad of course, Christmas is coming, the Goose is already in the freezer and I am getting ready to empty my bank account on the annual Christmas shopping blow out.  I actually think that giving a present can be as nice as receiving one so I am already giving careful thought to what I should buy and for whom.

Of course Christmas is a wonderful time of the year if like me, you like food and socializing.  What can be better than spending time with family, having a drink with a friend and eating until you can eat no more!

Christmas, I think, is also a time to think about those in the world who are less fortunate.  For me I donít have to look very far.  The homeless on the street are a constant cause for my distress and at Christmas it seems some how worse. I hope that with time this is a problem that will be confined to human history but until it is I hope that should you see somebody in need you will remember that it is the season for giving.

So with little chance of fishing and only an outside chance of travel before Santa comes I guess that there is little else to say other than have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 2007

According to at least one Weather forecast there will be snow within seven days as the temperature looks set to dip below zero with a real feel of -14.  It makes me shiver to even consider that I will soon be sitting by the water surrounded by snow and ice.

Of course the arrival of winter, while closing some doors, opens others and I find myself looking forward with great anticipation to my first ever trip ice fishing.  While trying not to freeze, the opportunity of trying to catch my first Stinta (Smelt) or Vegele (Burbot) appeals, as for me the experience of banking new species is a big part of the attraction.

October again saw me travel to the UK and for once the trains were running smoothly so for this month at least I will hang my regular gripe about British transport in the closet although I return to England next week for another flying visit and so that closet door may soon again be open.

My coming trip should also see me finally manage a few hours fishing in English waters, my first such trip this year and will also offer the welcome chance to hook up with an old friend and sparring partner, Martin Scott.  Martin is an accomplished match angler and will no doubt be showing me how English methods have changed since I moved to pastures Baltic.

Again looking back, October saw the return of my Grandfather to
Lithuania and at the age of 98 he was still able to show me how to catch a fish or two.  It goes without saying that the opportunity to again go fishing with him was something I greatly relished.

October 2007

Usually October is a wet month in Lithuania ; itís that in between period that could loosely be called autumn, when the last dwindling heat of summer has faded with the passing of September and the first snow of winter is soon to fall.

September was again a month for exploring, taking a boat trip along the length of the Athos peninsula, traveling both the east and west shores of Kassandra and taking a trip into the mountains of Sithonia ( See Wanderings). There was also time to sample the sport offered when fishing in the Aegean Sea, something I had never before tried and was by no means disappointed with the results. (See Session Report).

In October I will again be on my travels, taking in three English cities, London, Birmingham and Derby, in just 2 days. I donít really like traveling in the UK as it means testing the British public transport system to the maximum, something I know before I start must end in tears.  Indeed it usually leads to my trip ending with me determined to write a letter of complaint although of course it never actually ever gets written.  In September I paid an unbelievable 103 pounds and fifty pence for a return ticket between Gatwick and Peterborough during which time I encountered no less than 2 cancelled trains, 1 delayed service and a severely disrupted underground.

It feels like every month I talk about concentrating a little more on fishing for Pike but the arrival of October means that now my predator fishing will really start in earnest.  As I write I have already hooked and lost my first Lithuanian Pike, a potential PB monster (current PB 22Lbs 8oz) that decided that the roots of a nearby tree was a far more preferable destination than my landing net.

That isnít to say that I have given up on other species with the prospect of some good winter roach also appealing but with the seasonal increase in wet weather, high fast rivers will probably require that I once more turn my attentions to fishing in the local lakes.

On a final note I would like to mention a website I have discovered, http://www.reels-on-wheels.org is an excellent example of somebody trying to do something positive in the world of fishing.  According to the site home page, its primary aim is to help and encourage disabled and less able anglers to get back into fishing and to encourage as many people as possible to take up fishing as a recreational, outdoor activity.  The site also hopes to encourage commercial fisheries to improve access for all anglers, regardless of any disability and promote angling as a whole.  Please take the time to have a look at the site, and if possible perhaps volunteer as a buddy.

September 2007

As expected August was more about wandering than angling with only four sessions fished all month and one of those was spent spinning.  I expect September to be the same with trips to Greece and Holland already planned.  So as the weather starts to change and summer slowly fades to autumn, I find I am already starting to turn my attention to the prospect of hunting predators.

August did see another 200 hundred plus catch, 202 to be exact, caught opposite North Bank Oaks on Lake Ekete where earlier in the year I caught 230.  In total I managed 384 fish from my 4 sessions and as I caught only one from my session spinning, 383 across 3 sessions is not at all bad.

It could have been much better, when fishing the swim next to Boulders I lost two very large fish, probably carp and almost certainly double figures.  It is sometimes hard not to think more about those that get away than those you land but by their nature they tend to me larger fish and my season could have done with a boost.

So in a little over a week I will be packing my travel rod and tooth brush and head once more for Greece where I will be hoping to get amongst the Wrasse, Bass and Mullet that are found in great numbers along the beach there although I am sure more time will be dedicated to sight seeing, eating and drinking than the finer arts of proving I am not a sea fisherman!

August 2007

To borrow an often used clichť from football, July was very much a month of two halves, starting with a flurry and ending in frustration.  The first session of the month saw me bring to the bank one of my target species and at 12oz my first Lithuanian Crucian was just one ounce outside of my all time PB.  A Tench (another target species) followed 10 days later, part of a 200 fish haul, my second best in this country.

That proved to be the pinnacle of my achievements for the month of July.  Business commitments, ill health and then bad weather brought about a lengthy absence from the bank side and on my return the standard of sport had dropped quite markedly.

The difference between the start and the end of the month can be clearly illustrated through the statistics, from 8 sessions I managed 813 fish with an average of 101.6 per session.  Between July 2 and July 12 I fished four times for 558 fish with an average 139.5 then between July 21 when I returned from illness and July 29 I fished another four times catching just 255 fish for an average of 63.75.

I again failed to make the trip to the Curonian lagoon although I did manage to get a little further a field with a disaster ridden session in a nameless drain near äilute.  With some tackle left at home, heavy showers and only a short time available to fish I managed to pick a venue with only around 12 to 18 inches of water.

August will be a month with little available time for sport so the time I do have I will be looking to use well.  I would love to catch some more Crucian Carp and Tench as well as fish my maiden session on the Curonian Lagoon but above all else I just want to get back amongst the fish and have a session or two where my game plan actually works!

There is a reasonable chance that I will have an opportunity this month to fish some waters in the UK and more specifically the Fenland drains around my place of birth, Wisbech, although nothing yet is set in stone.

July 2007

So now we are into the second half of the year and while in England the talk is of rain and floods, here in Lithuania summer has so far been quite kind although the last week of June did see some nasty storms and with it a reduction in the amount of time I managed on the bank.

I fished 13 times in June for a return of 1211 fish, averaging 93.15 per session compared with 10 in May for 805 fish averaging 80.5 per session. June also saw me beat my Lithuanian Personal Best for Bream, not once but twice raising the bar eventually to 2Lbs and 3oz. On June 24th I also recorded a new personal best in Lithuania for the most fish in a session, 230 (UK PB 350) coming from 5 hours and 45 minutes on Lake Ekete.

My hopes of catching a Bleak somewhere close to the 4oz 9dr British record never really got off the ground, my best offering, a nice looking 2oz fish once again underlined what my Granddad has always said, that fish never weigh as much as you think, thus leading me to have some understanding now that a 4oz Bleak is, for a Bleak, a pretty big fish.

So looking forward now in stead of back, what of July?  To begin with my biggest hope for this month is to once again get amongst the Tench.  I also want to continue the process I began in June of expanding the number of swims I fish regularly in the hope of finding a few new species, Crucian Carp currently being top of my hit list although any Carp would be nice.

I also plan to have a few tentative predator sessions this month, my first in Lithuania with a hope of banking some nice Pike although I would equally prize a Zander.

I have a few new rivers and ponds earmarked for exploration in the coming weeks as well as a first outing in the Curonian Lagoon so July should be an interesting month although the weather forecast for the opening week may see the number of sessions reduced from that of last month and with it the number of fish caught?

June 2007

I cannot believe its June already, half the year nearly behind us and it feels like only yesterday that Santa was getting his sledge stuck through lack of snow in the mildest winter I have encountered since coming to Lithuania. By Contrast the last few weeks of May have seen the mercury rise and the Tench are already on the boil in Lake Ekete. Of course my usual annual lapse in common sense when fishing at the onset of summer also means that my skin now looks a little like that of a new potato, brown and peeling!

May wasnít a bad month for fishing, the weather gradually improved from the rather cool stiff sea breezes that accompanied the earlier weeks and with it I was able to bag my first Tench of the year, a personal best Bream for Lithuania and my biggest bag to date in my local lake (Ekete).

I have noticed in recent sessions that Lithuania seems to have an enormous head of Bleak, especially in the swim I usually prefer on the River DaneÖ OK, nobody gets excited about catching Bleak but compared to those I have caught in Fenland drains in the UK, some of these seem pretty big.  The British record for Bleak, according to the excellent maggotdrowning website is 4oz 9dr. caught on the River Lark in 1998, thatís a big fish for this species but I am sure that the Dane holds something close to that size and in June I hope to prove it by actually going specimen hunting for Bleak.  (Stop laughing)!

At the end of June I am hoping to fish with a good friend in the lakes around Utenos while helping him to celebrate his birthday, this should be a wonderful experience, the area is something of a Lithuanian Lake District and is surrounded by some beautiful countryside so as you can imagine I am already looking forward to getting on the bus!