Article - Coarse

Burbot and lunar eclipse

By Henrik, added on 06/02/2009

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This day I was meant to meet William (a.k.a the perpetual blanker). However, he has not yet realized that a mean of transport is much more important than the latest, or oldest rather, in his case, centre-pin reel. So I am out alone. In total darkness. Not total, of course, but it is bloody dark. And it most certainly is not midsummer. In fact, burbot fishing is the total opposite of tench fishing at midsummer. Cold, dark, the fish smell bad, crude gear is used, no birds – except owls. So, it is with mixed feelings that I fish for burbot.

Somewhere below the thick ice burbot are spawning. Hundreds of males are constantly harassing one female. Actually the mad males and I have the same goal – we both want the big female. Usually you have to work your way through the much more eager males, though. And then, more often than not, the female is lost (if you can lose something you never had). The males, on the other hand, are eager to release their ”load” once in the air. After a dozen or so, each one arching their bodies against you, spraying some ”milk”, quite a bit of it can accumulate on your good self. The sheer volume thereof normally does not become obvious until the heat in the car melts it on the way home. And it starts dripping from you. Joy!

In this particular lake fishing is best in really cold weather. At one time my socks actually froze to my insulated boots. And I had ice on the INSIDE of my survival/floatation suit. Fishing was great – but I still had to give it up as my hands were close to freezing.

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Suddenly. I can feel something down there. Something is mouthing my bait. I keep tapping the short rod. The bait keeps sending out vibrations – hopefully attracting the burbot. Nothing more happens. A quick check of the bait reveals that the half herring is gone. On with a new one. And continue. Tap. Tap. Tap. I keep studying the moon. There IS supposed to be a lunar eclipse tonight. And as science has shown that the burbot are more active when it is really dark (i.e. on a new moon) I am eager to find out what will happen during a NO moon phase!

Tap.  Tap. Tap. Nothing. But now the moon is actually starting to disappear from sight. And – again – something down there. A slight scraping sensation. And gone....

Pitch darkness. The moon gone altogether. Tap, tap, tap, pull! Something is tugging at the herring. I wait for a second, then strike! A nice heavy feeling at the other end. I pull and the fish comes out of the hole in the ice with a sloshing sound. Once the fish is on the ice the hook falls out. The burbot turns out to be a personal best (if a burbot can ever be a best)! 

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Luckily a friend – and a master photographer – has just turned up for a chat (and a cup of hotish tea). I instruct him to move closer, whereupon he informs me that he cannot move any closer lest he shall cut off my head in the photograph. I insist that he move closer – but alas! to no avail. The result? He bloody wasn’t very close to chopping off my head, now was he? Thanks mate.

After that fish the small horrible males wake up! I get my fair(?) share of ‘latte’. I soon give up fishing as it turns even colder. When I reach the car the temperature is -20 on the centigrade scale. I reflect on the horrible Swedish winters – like I do each and every winter – and wonders what that sound is. Drip. Drip. Drip. Burbot semen dripping off my torch. WHY, oh WHY don’t I move to warmer parts?!

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