What a difference first fish makes!

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Like all anglers across the county, I’ve been avidly watching the weather for the first signs of spring, and last week I wasn’t disappointed.

Amazingly, the sun was shining as I tackled up, what more of a welcome do you need at the side of a fishery?

Unfortunately, a cold biting wind was howling down the length of the lake, making float fishing out of the question.

Huddled behind a wind-break brolly, I opted for a feeder session, still optimistic for a few fish, although fishing from under a brolly isn’t my ideal, however, more of the brolly adventures later.

Opting for a Diawa Harrier feeder rod, I clipped on a Sidewinder bite indicator, guaranteed to register the smallest of enquiries and unaffected by the wind.

A Shimano reel loaded with 5lb line, along with a home-made in-line cage feeder combined with a short hook-length and I was ready to bank a few silvers.

Plugging the end of the feeder with flavoured brown crumb, half a dozen pinkies in the middle and then topped off with more crumb made an irresistible ‘pinkie sandwich’, sure to attract a fish or two.

On the 20 barbless hook, I gently mounted a single red maggot, all fish will take a maggot – fingers crossed!

First cast and I struggled to set the Sidewinder, not surprising really, as an 8oz skimmer bream had wolfed the bait down. What a difference that first fish makes!

Unhooked in the landing net, the skimmer scooted down the margins on release and I was back out to catch a few of his mates.

I’d obviously found a shoal, as every put-in resulted in a ‘wrap- around’ on the Sidewinder and another bream in the net.

Like peas in a pod, all a similar size, the skimmers soon built a good winter weight.

There’s nothing like a few fish to restore confidence and keep you warm!

The only downside was the gusting, buffeting wind, causing the brolly to flap and twist, at one stage I had to hold it down as it nearly closed on me, told you the wind was strong.

What I wasn’t prepared for, was the sudden total change of direction, which pulled the spike out of the bank and flipped the brolly over.

Luckily I’d tied it down to a strong bank stick, or it would have ended up in the lake. It suffered a broken rib though, and it must have been an amusing sight as I tried to get it assembled again. I hate brollies!