After a run of holidays, Gary's, mine, Gary's boss, my boss... well anyway it's been a while since the two of us have got out together.
So this week we did the night at one of our favourite carp lakes. I'm late as usual, and Gary's already sussed the place out and chosen his swim, when I arrive I find Gary and we chat about the conditions, weather, water, and hopefully where the fish are!
As well as all the clever stuff, we do like to be social, so I pick a swim 20yds down the bank and set about getting up the bivvy. Gary's 'oval' is already up and pegged down, and not long after he's on the phone to his good lady and I hear the words 'have a look on Metcheck'.
Now I'd heard we might have a bit of rain tonight, but it's only once Gary's off the phone that he explains that there has been a severe weather warning issued for the South-East of England... oh great, but Gary reckons it shouldn't be too bad, and the forecast says the rain will clear by early morning... ok, at least we can pack up in the dry!
Gary's already lobbed in a few handfuls of boilies to some nearby snags that always hold carp, and his hookbait follows soon after. My bivvies now sorted and I'm soon 'pulting' out boilies myself, to a nearby island.
I'm using a leadcore leader fixed to a safety clip, with a short braided hooklink, a size 6 hook, which I hair-rig my boilie onto. I put a small bag of pellet on the hook and cast out.
Considering I was the last to arrive Gary's soon pestering me to get the kettle on... so how does that work then? But we're soon enjoying a cuppa and watching the grey clouds roll in... rather ominously in fact.
We see the odd fish jump but neither of us has any action, it's around 8.30pm now and darkness is setting in - but we're in August aren't we, this is supposed to be summer isn't it? Slowly the first spots of rain start to patter on the ground and we head for cover, it looks like an early retirement to our respective homes. But the baits are out, and we feel confident of having our sleep interrupted by the screams of our alarms!
Dusk descends fairly quickly, and as there's nothing better to do I start to nod off. But sleep doesn't come easily, as not only is the rain getting heavier, but the air is becoming very muggy, and I now endure the next few hours listening to the rain lash down, and also, quite worryingly, the wind is starting to howl through the surrounding trees, don't fancy one of them crashing through the bivvy later!
Out of the darkness my mobile suddenly rings, it's my wife, and there's been a visitor in our kitchen. As she's wandered in, somethings scuttled behind the bin, and on closer inspection she's horrified to find it's a rat!
He obviously can't sleep either, and had decided to walk in the back door and have a nose around our rubbish bin... luckily a helpful neighbour had come and chased him out with a broom!
So it's about midnight now and the rains bucketing down and the winds battering my bivvy... is this what I do for fun? I'm awake, then catnapping for a while, before waking again, it's a long night, but eventually, in the early morning I must have finally dropped off.
Luckily I get a good few hours sleep, and emerge from the bivvy to a damp, but not rainy lakeside. It's still reasonably early, about 8am, the clouds are covering the sky, but they don't seem as threatening, I check the rods, but they're just as I left them... untouched!
As I'm yawning, and stretching myself into conciousness I hear a splash, it's coming from Gary's swim, it has that splishy, sloshy sound of a fish being played. I make my rods safe and head over.
Yep, there's Gary with rod bent over and something pulling back, I move in beside him and grab the landing net. It's not long before he steers it into the net, and it's grins all round!
It's not huge, but we give him a number, a mirror at 13lb 9ozs.
There's more smiles, and not just because Gary's had one, but because we know it keeps a little record going that when we've fished here together one of us has always caught... not bad when we've heard that some of the members have spent whole seasons with dry nets!