Broome Angling




The Kingfisher

By Tom Kent

First Published 12th November 2014


 Dawn was breaking as I unlocked the gate to Kilworth on 9th November 2014. It was a cold, misty morning, with the promise of sun and light South Westerly winds. Not ideal perch conditions, but I thought I'd try anyway. I was feeling lucky, and I had a trick up my sleeve. The day began with me heading for Lizzies, and then removing my 5 metre whip from my rod bag. I needed this to catch some small fish, as today, I would be trying live baiting for perch for the first time, EVER! I rigged up with a small sensitive float on a length of 4lb line to a 2lb 14oz hook-to-nylon link, tied to a spade end size 18 hook, baited with a single red maggot.

  My first put in resulted in a small perch, an ideal bait. Another followed, and then a gudgeon muscled in on the action. A couple more small perch came and then I hooked a nice roach of 8-9oz. 'One more small one will do', I thought. But no, everything went quiet. Ten minutes passed without a bite. All of a sudden, the float buried. I lifted into the fish, and immediately it was clear, that this was no gudgeon. As my whip took on a full battle curve, I thought, 'this is gonna smash me up!' After about ten minutes of seat of my pants tussling with the beast below the surface, trying not to break my whip and hoping the hook link would hold, it finally topped and rolled into the mesh....a common carp. I didn't weigh it but, I'd guess it was about 4-4.5lb.

  A couple more live baits caught, I took to making up a float paternoster rig on a 12ft match rod coupled with a 3000 size reel, spooled with 6lb line. I chose to fish my baits 18 inches off the deck at the bottom of the marginal shelf. The first bite came fairly quickly but it was slow and ponderous and the float was still visible, quivering just below the waterline. Imagine my surprise when I reeled in and found a crayfish hanging by a claw from my live bait, now a dead bait. I didn't know they actively hunt and kill small fish.

  Crayfish in the bin, I tried a different spot about a rod length to my right, near an overhanging tree. Unfortunately, the bite that followed soon after, I missed because I had, by now, started fishing a second rod, float fishing prawns. By the time I had put that rod down and picked the other up, there was nothing there. After that, the rest of the morning flew by uneventfully.


  By the afternoon, I was switching between the two methods, as I had realised I couldn't fish both together and still be efficient. Around 2pm, I was live baiting again, this time much further out in about 6 feet of water. Sitting watching my float and just paying out some slack line using the clutch, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, which then whizzed by me in a blur of brilliant blue, landing in a tree to my left. A Kingfisher. Out came the binoculars, so I could have a closer look, but, he flew away before I could focus on him. With the bins in hand, I thought I'd check out my float, but as I scanned the water, I just about saw it disappear below the surface. I downed the bins, picked up the rod and struck. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!! Didn't tighten the drag back up after the Kingfisher distracted me, did I? DOH! So much for them being a lucky charm when fishing.

  Self kicked, (and punched and kicked again) I put another small perch on and positioned it in the earlier spot by the tree to my right. Baiting regularly with red maggots to hopefully draw small fish to the area, and hoping the big stripeys would follow, I sat back. Time was ticking by, darkness would be closing in soon. This was my last chance, for today at least. It was now four 'o' clock, 20 minutes until sunset. In my experience, the Lizzies perch prefer the morning. I have only ever caught two perch over a pound in the afternoon/evening in 7 years of fishing this lake. Most of mine have been caught between 8am and 12pm. Then, it happened. The float buried, the rod tip began to bend and I grabbed the rod. At last, I'd hooked one, and this one wasn't getting away. I played it hard and fast, it was all over in less than a minute. Elation. I had to take a minute to breathe.


 On the scales, it went 1lb 12oz. Not my biggest, but I didn't care. I'd tried a new method, I learnt things from trying it and I caught my target species. And that's part of what fishing is all about. So get out there and try something new yourself. And the next time you see a Kingfisher on the bank, remember, have confidence in what you are doing, in your rig, and in your ability, and success will find you. Don't just see the Kingfisher, be the King Fisher.
Tight lines all! See you on the bank.