I often find myself day dreaming about what I’d like to be doing on those certain days or little periods of the year when things change.
I’m talking about the little shifts in weather or daylight that indicate significant seasonal change is on the way.
For example, The First Slightly Warm Day of Spring is a big one. Crucially, The First Slightly Warm Day of Spring must fall on the weekend or it doesn’t count. You all know the one. It’s almost always mid-March. You wake up, open the curtains and are greeted by blue skies and bright sunshine. You step outside and for the first time in months the watery morning sun actually feels a tiny bit warm on your face. By 2pm the shops have sold out of charcoal and lager and everyone is walking round in shades, t-shirts and shorts. Here we go its summer time wheeeyyy! By 4pm it’s bloody freezing. A week later it’s snowing.
Another favourite of both coarse fisherman and Starbucks is The Official First Day of Autumn. Crisp! Fresh! Leaves! Pumpkin Spiced Latte! Soup! Berries! Wellies! Perch! Barbel! Roach! It immediately follows one of the worst periods for the angler – The Last Few Days of Summer – when all anglers are impatiently waiting for The Official First Day of Autumn so they can immediately start their Autumn/Winter Campaign™.
We recently suffered The First Proper Day of Winter. The First Proper Day of Winter is when everything is properly shit. Sometimes it’s in October and sometimes it’s not until February. It’s properly cold. The dog doesn’t want to go outside. It’s so, so grey. It’s nasty wet. There’s a cruel wind. The postman looks sad. Your face hurts when you go outside. Somewhere near you there is a bloke in a bivvy by a pond trying to convince himself that this really was a good idea….
But perhaps my favourite little period is: The Final Few Quite Warm but Gently Overcast Days of Mid-Autumn.
This is one of the best times to go fishing all year. You can literally pick your species and not just hope to get a few, but expect to catch and catch big. Consistently mild. No frosts for at least a week. Warm rain a few days previous. Overcast, but with spells of gently warming sunshine. Nice to be out. No need for a coat today.
But what to fish for? Where to go?
I’d planned it to perfection. A mid-week day off bang in the middle of The Final Few Quite Warm but Gently Overcast Days of Mid-Autumn to go fishing. The river was quite low and anyway I had my ‘new’ pole to try and fancied an old estate lake in search of something that might give my new (badly) self-fitted elastic a stretch. I knew the pole would enable me to drop my bait through the shoals of ravenous rudd at the lake and bang on the money every time. The only other part of the plan was simple – worms.
I pulled the weed rake through the swim a couple of times just to check what came back. Luckily the main channel was pretty clear and I knew the raking would quickly pull in a few fish. I introduced a few maggots and a bit of chopped worm. And that really was enough to keep the bites coming through most of the day. I had roach, rudd, perch, a few nice hybrids and seven lovely tench. Great fun.
Having got The First Proper Day of Winter out of the way, I’m now looking forward to a few more key days that are highly likely to appear in the next few weeks. These include: The Official Most Depressing Day of the Year (Covid-19 Remix). The First Day of Proper Snow That’s Gone by Midday; The Day That Tricks You into Thinking Spring is on the Way Until You Go Outside; and, of course, The First Slightly Warm Day of Spring (Vaccination edition).