The Wandering Angler, 2008

October 2008

As the days become colder I suddenly realise that I haven’t been fishing as much as I would have liked to!

Well, the summer was hectic – I have been so busy at work that I haven’t managed to notice where the time has gone… And now I keep wondering - did we have summer this year? Even the week’s holiday I had in Mallorca simply disappeared!  I guess I’ve just been infected by the “running” syndrome, a condition that manifests itself by forcing the sufferer to try and fit as many different activities as possible into each and every 24 hour period.

The regular Wandering Angler users already had a chance to read about some of my adventures in Spain, but I can also promise that there are more coming. I told you that during my holiday I felt like a hamster in a wheel – I enjoyed the waters of the Mediterranean, took in the spectacular sights of the Siera de Tramuntana mountains and had a closer look at Spanish architecture… So as the rain comes I will be sitting at my computer making an escape back to Mallorca as I try to portray my experiences from the summer.

At the same time I won’t give up and hope that the sun hasn’t left us completely for this year and I will still manage to fit in a few more fishing sessions under the bright yellow and red trees of autumn.

May 2008

I fished 4 times in April for a stunning 772 fish, that’s an average of 193 fish per session.  I also broke my personal best for the most fish caught in a day on a Lithuanian venue with 345 taken from a swim next to Boulders on Lake Ekete(just 6 short of my all time personal best set 18 years ago in a Fenland drain).

I am quite sure that a contributing factor to the successful start to this years fishing has been the wonderful warm dry weather which we have been enjoying pretty much since the start of April.  The water, low and with little to no cold rain water on top, is already quite warm while the lily pads are in some places already pushing to the surface.  The fish are active and hungry!

Since my last article back in the beginning of April, nature has pretty much exploded.  Everything now is green and as you would expect, roosting Storks can be found atop telegraph poles, barns and the tallest trees.  While fishing my ears are bombarded with a cacophony of frogs chorus, birds song and bank side animals making being alone in the countryside every bit as wonderful as it should be.

So the BBQ’s have been dusted off, I have suffered my first sun burn for the year and now we look forward to May and I feel there are still bigger catches to be had.  The weather forecast suggests that with the exception of the odd day of showers, we are set to continue both warm and dry so hopefully soon the Tench and Crucians in Ekete will start to show while I hope also to catch a better stamp of Bream from the Dane.

No wanderings are planned in May so I would hope for around a dozen sessions and if things stay as they are it is even possible I might have 2000 fish before this month closes.  (2007 total for whole year 3647 from 49 sessions).

April 2008

First an apology for the belated arrival of this text, but you know what they say, better late than never.  Late March and early April was dominated by travel to the point where there never seems to be a spare moment and yet again public transport offered its fare share of thrills and spills.

In a recent trip to the UK I managed to log one drama after another, first the bus in which I was traveling from Klaipeda to Vilnius Airport crashed, writing off two cars and its own windscreen. 

This was followed by a delayed flight and then arrival at Gatwick South via the mono rail to large numbers of machine gun brandishing anti-terrorist police searching anybody and everybody in the area with dogs.  This was followed by the usual bill for 96 pounds and two missed trains.  On the way back by the way, my train was over an hour late into the station, isn’t British public transport excellent value for money?

So it’s April, the month of showers… or as seems the case at the moment, the month of cold miserable weather.  More often than not it would also be the month of Easter but in 2008 we had the earliest Easter in 100 years and the consequence was snow from Good Friday to Easter Monday, not that I saw much of it anyway as I spent most of the holiday ill in bed with a cold.

Last year my first fishing session was on April 23rd, this year I have already had my first session, a big fat zero from Lake Ekete on March 10th, not the start I had hoped to make to a new fishing year.

Actually March 10th was another of those days that makes me wonder how I am brave enough to get out of bed.

The day started with my bike blowing a tire so violently that some of the neighbors reported they thought they had heard a gun shot.  Undeterred, I transferred my tackle to a second bike and made the journey to the Swimming Spot on Lake Ekete where as I already mentioned, ultimately I blanked.  The journey home summed up the day as half way and still some distance to go, I blew the back tire on my replacement bike, the result an hours walk towing my tackle on a heavy bike.

So I am looking forward to getting some more time bank side but first I need a new tire!  Have a happy April.

March 2008

Can you believe we are already in March; even with an extra day in February there never seems to be enough time to do everything.  It’s like only yesterday we were unwrapping Christmas presents and now we are getting ready for Easter. By 'getting ready' I don't mean buying chocolate eggs as that isn’t popular here.  In stead we will paint real eggs using a variety of traditional means, all of which I hope to capture on camera so if all goes well you should be able to see my weak attempts at creating contemporary pieces of art on a video by the end of March.

February wasn't a quiet month but just as last year, there was no bank time. Looking back I can say that I've been very busy, I guess that's why I didn't find spare time for fishing.  I'm determined not to mention the weather, as the rest of the world already see us Brits as being guilty of 'meteor-holism', but I need to express my disappointment that a month that usually brings nasty blizzards wasn't actually any different to October or November - lots of rain, dark skies and penetrating cold that keeps even the most devoted fishermen indoors.

I managed to get to Sheffield and Derby celebrated Valentine's Day (all be it with myself and my true love on the opposite sides of Europe), spent a weekend in Vilnius and went to see Chris Rea! On the subject of Mr. Rea, I'm really not a fan of his music, but I must admit I was impressed by his ability to play the guitar and even inflicted, on an almost pact house, my rendition of 'Josephine, I'll send you all my love’.  If you have a chance to see him live, my advice - don't miss it! 

I'm not into gardening, and I really hate weeding, planting, raking, watering and all the other paraphernalia connected with this rather irksome pass time. 

That said, not liking the process of creating a beautiful garden doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the effect spring has on the view from my bedroom window.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the first snowdrops, daffodils and tulips that will bring some colour to our boring lives, I am sure the guys in the UK probably already have all of these in full bloom?  As soon as spring is finally here I will grab my rod and disappear, meanwhile I just need to start developing my excuses as to why I can’t prune the trees, cut the lawns or pull out the weeds!

February 2008

Has anybody noticed how much the nights have pulled out? It was still just about light at 6pm this-evening and I am longing for the warm summer months ahead. Looking at my diary for February, as in January, much of the time looks likely to be spent traveling and so finding time to bring any fish to the bank seems unlikely.

January 2008 was the first month in which I did not make a single fishing trip since February 2007. The weather in Lithuania so far this year has been unseasonable, with the temperature hovering around +2 most days with what seems like endless grey skies and rain.

So my plans to make this winter my first to try ice fishing now seem doomed and finding conventional bank time in the wet gloom that seems to have enveloped the country doesn’t seem very enticing.

I did manage my first trip to the Hill of Crosses in January and have to say it was well worth the 4 hour round trip. The place is awesome and for me it is hard to take in the bravery that the people of Lithuania showed in maintaining the site during the Soviet occupation when the crosses were bulldozed at least three times.

January also saw my regular battle to navigate Britain without using a car. Repeatedly the British government insists that the people of the United Kingdom should use public transport in order to help the environment and yet I am certain few of these well meaning politicians have any real grasp of the realities of everyday life. Let me start by saying that if you want to travel to Derby from Gatwick at Peek times you need to be ready to take out a mortgage and Peterborough to Gatwick off-peek isn’t any better. Now take into to account cancellations and delays and you soon start to realize that you are lucky these days to get a train at all.

How is it that in Lithuania I can travel from A to B with the transport always clean, on time and affordable and yet in the UK I end up spending most of my travel budget purchasing tickets for transport that arrives hours late or not at all, is so full I must stand and costs me more money than a return flight to Corfu?

So onwards into February we go and Spring now is close, just a few more weeks and finally we will be able to go fishing without fear of freezing, getting soaked or blown away so keep smiling.

January 2008

I would like to start by wishing everybody a very Happy New Year. Let’s hope that this is a year filled with happiness!

With no official fishing season in LithuaniaJanuary brings a new fishing year for me and a chance to look back at the achievements of 2007 as well as look forward to making improvements in 2008.

For my first full year of sport in Lithuania 3647 fish from 49 sessions with an average of 74.43 is not exactly a disaster but it was a season more of quantity rather than quality and but for a few exceptions it was a disappointing year where catching larger fish was concerned.

Obviously 2007 was a year for becoming familiar with the local waters and matching the best methods to new venues. I feel I have learned a lot and hope that 2008 will bring even greater quantities while allowing me to catch a few new ‘Personal Bests’.

As for January it self, although it has been very cold (as low as -18) for the last few days the forecast seems to indicate that the weather will continue to frustrate, too mild for ice fishing and too cold for the fish to show interest when employing conventional methods.

My best hope for fish this month looks likely to be pike from the bank and with both Smelt and Lamprey in the freezer I may well have at least a chance of a fish so if the weather does break there is little doubt I will be making my way to the water side.