THE old saying ‘when the wind’s in the east, the fish bite least’ is the excuse we’ve all heard trotted out when someone’s caught nowt. Whether or not that’s true, there’s no doubt an easterly hoolie can wreak havoc with your fishing kit.
I found that out for myself while live-testing and making a video of Middy’s latest reincarnation of its popular Reactacore XT15-3 pole.
WATCH MARK'S LIVE TEST HERE: [Angling Times on YouTube](http://Angling Times on YouTube)
Now, Decoy Lakes is one of the finest commercial fisheries in the land. Boasting no fewer than 11 lakes, each and every one of them is rammed with fish. And big ones at that! Add a tackle and bait shop, a nice clean bar for a pint and post-match snacks, clean toilets and parking close to your peg – what more could you ask for?
Well, something to stop the ruddy wind for a start! Trees? Nope, they’ll get blown over. Fact is, it’s absolutely relentless and there’s no hiding place from it on any peg. The Fens has its very own micro-climate, with just two wind settings – standard and Biblical gale! If we ever need a venue to house the World Winter Kit-flying Championships then Decoy would be a strong contender.
By far the best areas for subjecting yourself to the full-on misery of the wind are the strip lakes – which should be renamed Hurricane, Tornado and Cyclone, rather than Yew, Oak and Cedar.
My home for the day, Cedar 5, didn’t disappoint. Tipping a bag of Adrenaline Scopex groundbait into a bowl was an interesting start to the day, as most of it blew straight back into my face. On the plus side, I now know that it tastes super-sweet, but it also leaves bright yellow streaks on your skin as you try to wipe it from your eyes with a damp tissue.
Undeterred, the live test and video got underway, although the wind noise demanded sign language. It was during one of these pointing at the water moments that the pole roller convulsed as if shot by a cannon, depositing 11m of Middy’s finest on to the ground. The pole promptly took off until its bid for freedom was halted by one of the few trees left upright!
Normally I’d rate the merits of any pole’s build strength on its fish-stopping abilities. But in this case its speedy overland flight, coupled with crashing itself into a tree, was proof enough of its robust credentials.
The fact that anything remained of the Reactacore XT15-3 was a shock in itself, but a quick inspection proved it was still fully intact, which was quite remarkable. So, with the roller back in place and doing its job, I gingerly shipped the pole out to its full length.
Although I don’t have the physique of a body-builder, I do have weight on my side. But attempting to pole fish directly out in front of me proved a futile gesture as the wind spun me round on my seatbox like an open back gate. I swung back and forth, achieving absolutely nothing but annoyance.
The reinforced Maximus joints held firm under this intense duress, and yet again I couldn’t help but be impressed by the pole’s sheer resilience. Stockholm syndrome it might have been, but I started to feel a certain rapport with the Reactacore, as together we battled the elements in search of a fish or two.
Little did I know then that the wind would exact a final revenge for our foolhardy persistence.
The margins are always good for a few fish and, as the pole had already proved its mettle, I knew that it would hold its own against anything with fins we were likely to meet up with. The video was about a couple of springtime margin tactics, so we quickly settled into a routine of feeding and catching fish.
One side of the swim produced barbel on maggots and the other threw up an F1 every chuck (watch the video for all the action). Soon, throwing caution to the wind (literally!), I was switching between left and right-hand margins and bagging up… and it was while I was in full fish-playing mode that the wind really turned up the volume to 11. “Go on,” I thought, “do your worst, I couldn’t care less, you’re beaten, mate.”
Not so. I turned to my left to discover my pellet-rigged top had disappeared.
“Not seen it, mate,” said cameraman Thom, when I enquired as to its whereabouts.
It was nowhere to be seen – not in the grass, not in the water’s edge. It had vanished. That was until we checked the video and discovered it had blown straight out into the lake and sank out of sight and reach.
Maybe in future years this fiasco could provide a Shackleton and Endurance moment when someone discovers the pristine Middy Karp top-2 and the 4x14 pellet rig that Sawyer lost.
It’s surely possible that Decoy, like Hell itself, will eventually freeze over. The moral of this test has been that you can’t beat Mother Nature, and that the Reactacore XT15-3 pole is made of incredibly stern stuff.
Price: 13m package £499, 11.5m package £435, www.middytackle.com