Showdown! “Mad Mama” Moorhen vs “Scaredy-Cat” Squirrel

Never mess with a moorhen. That was the lesson a squirrel learned today. The moorhen family on the little lake that I’ve mentioned in recent posts were over the far side of the lake. One of the parents and the chicks were on the lilies by the bank, while the other parent was up the bank. Suddenly the one on the bank went running along the path in an aggressive manner. I then realised that it was chasing a squirrel! It was certainly one of the funniest things I’ve witnessed when fishing to see the two tearing along the bank at full tilt. Unfortunately it was over too quickly to capture on camera. I didn’t see the final outcome as they disappeared into the trees, but I later saw the moorhen looking none the worse for the encounter.

As for the fishing, when I arrived, the surface of the lake was covered in little rudd, and quite a few carp, which were looking very lethargic under the baking sun. I caught a few rudd and roach in the height of the afternoon heat, but it wasn’t until some shade began to creep across the water as afternoon moved towards evening that things began to liven up.

The first tench of the session came at about 5 o’clock. At 2.11 it was just an ounce short of my pb (Note: I’ve not caught many tench before!). This was followed about an hour later with the smallest tench I’ve ever caught, a pristine fish of about 8 ounces. Unhooking it was fun, as it was like handling a bar of wet soap that had come to life.

A further hour passed before the float shot away, heading rapidly for the nearby lily bed, succeeding in burying itself under the pads. At first I could still feel the fish, but another short surge saw it embed itself a bit deeper and all went solid. I thought that would be the end of it, but steady pressure gradually began to regain some ground and  eventually the fish emerged from the lilies into clear water. Once there, things were relatively calm, although the carp continued to put up a lively resistance. A minute or two later a nice linear mirror was in the net.

I’d been fishing close to the lilies throughout the session, but I’d also been baiting the other side of the swim, and after the commotion caused by the carp, I decided to give this other line a try. It wasn’t long before I was into the third tench of the day, a lively scrapper of about two pounds.


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