Dawn Raiders - The Seal
Will Temple and I recently had two days off work to go fishing. With such busy work schedules and pressure from family duties it was a rare chance to take advantage of the fine Autumn weather.
Our fishing trips are always some what escapades and fall into the category of dawn raids. Indeed Will has taken to referring to me as Percy as he alleges I am taking on Percy's persona, especially when I put on my SAS combat over trousers, slap the car in reverse forgetting to put in the clutch and generally acting a bit odd.
We arrived at Overcote to fish the staunch at first light. This was the first time Will had seen the venue. He was very excited because it just smacked of fish. You can still see some of the old wooden supports of the previous weir and lock which has been long since replaced with another but sole less concreted facility.
It was good to see though, the eel ladder which I know has made a big difference for the migration of eels to the upper Ouse.
Across the river at Needingworth is a pub called the Pike & Eel. As well as good food and ale it has a number of fish stuffed in cases along with a picture of a massive Sturgeon that got caught up in the old lock. I think in 1926 it was I believe 187 lb and the local bearded folk shot it!!
The last recorded Salmon was caught at Over in 1975 but sea trout are common along with flat fish as the water is tidal up to the lock.
Before we arrived I joked with Will that I did not fancy seeing Sturgeon and we wondered if they would ever return. That's the bit of history over with then!!
We went over the weir, as we put our tackle down on the bank I looked across the water and for a moment panicked as below us I witnessed a black object of around 7 – 8 feet which appeared to have a tail fin and something similar half way along. Was it a Sturgeon!! tree, body!? I shouted to Will on the lines of what the xxx is that? Will turned and so did the creature, it rolled in the water to reveal a grey seal!! We spooked it and it shot off downstream, turned in the water and went through the margin weed and caught a 4 lb sea trout!!
This was not a good sign for our fishing but we were undeterred and set up our rigs. Will his favourite feeder rig, me a topper Haskin crow quill float made for fast water on the Avon. Ideal for the weir.
As we were just about to cast in a few yards into the water, a small head popped up, it was a smaller seal! This time the thing would not go away. We stuck it out for an hour and caught small bleak, Rudd and Gudgeon, but the pesky thing would not go away. As we packed up and set about going to plan B venue - Milton Country Park. I could not help but reflect upon the many dawn raids I had with Percy Anderson. He would always tell me of the great catches he had had and so I would always look forward to our trips but I can honestly say I never really had any great catches when I went with my dear old friend!! and I guess my day with Will was the same.
We did eventually get to the park and had a great day catching Roach, Rudd and Perch. We were slightly delayed in getting to the venue as I had to pop home. A car was parked near my drive and so when Will and I got out of our car the other car driver got out. He looked at us, we at him. He shot back into his car and drove off!! He was wearing a bullet proof jacket!! I use to live in such a nice neighbourhood.