The plan was rush out of work, a quick change around then off to the Marsh for a nights fishing. For once thoughts of Tench were on the back burner, I had a hankering to catch myself a proper Carp which is something I haven’t managed to do this summer. Anyway, by the time I arrived at the Marsh there were five other cars parked up leaving only a couple of swims free. I had a little stroll around but nothing inspired me, I was feeling a little mind fucked and craved a bit of peace and quiet. I could have squeezed in but it just didn’t feel right. So what next? If I’d gone home I’d just drink too much so I decided to take a drive and check the puddle out.
As I drove I was aware of gloomy storm clouds approaching from the west, would I reach the lake before them? No, it was a dead heat, as I opened the car door the first drops began to fall. I sat in the car and waited for the storm to pass, there was a surprising lack of other anglers giving me plenty of choice which was a nice change. The rain fell and fell and showed little sign of stopping anytime soon. At one point it eased a bit so I thought ‘stuff it’ and began setting up on the end of a point that I hadn’t fished before. Typically the rain fell heavier again half way through setting up but I continued. I fished two rods, a boilie to a channel on my left and fake maize to the margin on my right, finally getting started around 1945.
By this time I was nicely wet so decided staying for the night was a bad idea. Chances of a ‘proper’ Carp were minimal but I’d fish till about midnight and if I could just catch a fish or two that would be a result. I had managed to forget a box containing my back leads so liners were pretty constant but I had to wait an hour for the first take. A fish was hooked on the boilie but it dropped off almost straight away, it was turning into one of those days.
The rain stopped, things were looking up. I stretched out on my bed chair listening to the T20 final on the radio and at 2135 I had another take, this time on the maize. Resistance was minimal and before long I brought a small Common over the net, the blank was saved and I had a smile of satisfaction. Another hour passed, Hampshire beat Yorkshire in the final which went down to the last over, then the boilie rod rattled off again and another little Common brought to the net. The puddle is a strange place after dark, despite the moon it was pitch black and visibility poor. I’m not easily spooked but it was a bit creepy.
By midnight my wet gear and damp self were back in the car and heading for home. I’d cleared my head and caught a couple but I’m not sure I’d really enjoyed myself?
Two days later I was loaded the car and headed off for a day session. I still wanted to catch a proper Carp, the Marsh has a higher average size but was still packed as I expected. I’d kind of intended to end up back at the puddle which does hold some good fish, if I could work my way through the smaller ones. I had a full day ahead of me and would give it my best shot.
I didn’t roll up until about 0830 and was pleasantly surprised to find I was the only person there, which was a first! With the pick of the lake I settled into another swim that I hadn’t fished before. I had a nice overhang to my left and a channel to my right with a snaggy area across the back of the swim. I fished boilies on both rods to begin with. One was cast to the overhang over a kilo of pellets whilst I dropped the other in the channel with just a big PVA bag full of goodies. I don’t really know why I fished like this but it seemed a good idea at the time. I also had another rod set up with a just a size 12 hook tied to 8 pound line and two 10mm pop ups hair rigged. I fed a few mixers, little and often, knowing full well that the Carp would come up for them. I stubbornly wanted to catch them off the bottom to begin with, God knows why? Maybe I’ll learn one day. The day was a pleasant mixture of sunshine and cloudy spells, a nice comfortable temperature for once.
I only had to wait 15 minutes before the channel rod went and I was briefly attached to a fish which dropped off. Although I’d remembered my back leads today I still had regular pulls and twitches on both rods. Many times I was half out of my chair expecting a proper take to develop…but they didn’t. However something did happen at 1030 which gave me a big clue, I hooked a Bream which flipped and flapped towards the net before dropping off at the draw cord. Oh well.
By mid-morning I’d swapped the boilie rod cast to the overhang for the freelined floater and began a session of ineptitude and frustration, bordering on farce. I hooked and lost three fish on the floater for no apparent reason, then another because I’d inadvertently put the anti-reverse on. I’d also struck thin air on several occasions, mostly with the floater rod but also with the boilie. There were still Carp slurping down floaters in front of me but the bigger fish seemed to be hanging back, just out of range. I swapped the freeline rig for a paternoster and anchored a floater out where the fish were showing. Around this time the boilie in the channel rattled off again and I bent into a better fish. I played a nice Common over the net where it turned and trundled off on another run, I absolutely knew what was going to happen next and it did. Second time at the net, the hook pulled and I just laughed. That had to be the low point, it had to get better from here.
Minutes later the floater rod went and I hooked another fish which felt like a good un. I thought things couldn’t get any worse but they did. Something felt wrong, my Carp was on the surface in the middle of nowhere, my line was going to its mouth and another was going away from it into the snags. I’d hooked a tethered fish, something I can’t recall experiencing before and I hope never to again. I didn’t have a clue what to do but after a bit of swirling my hook pulled. I suspect this left the fish still tethered but there was nothing I could do. I began to notice the signs of bad angling around me, there was tackle hanging from trees and in the past I’ve seen people fishing snaggy areas with tackle that isn’t up to the job. I’ve ranted about the stiff pole drag ‘em in brigade before along with the damaged fish I’ve seen. On the whole it’s a pretty good club and it suits me but it seems this type of water attracts this kind of angler as they don’t show up at the more challenging places.
At this point I thought about jacking it in and going home but after a break for a brew and a fry up, stubbornness got the better of me and I resumed fishing. I kept the boilie rod in the channel and baited the area with a couple of kilos of pellets, I wanted to use up a load of bait as I have other fishing on my mind now… For my second rod I reverted to the freelined floater and soon had fish on the feed again. It didn’t take long to hook one and this time it all went to plan and I drew a nice Common over the net, not a proper Carp but close. After that I didn’t look back as Carp queued up to take the floaters, mostly Commons but also the odd Mirror. Unlike the first half of the day none of them fell off, however all were smaller than I hoped.
Finally the boilie rod roared off once more, I found myself attached to a fish that was pulling back and felt a little bigger than the others. The fish tried to gain the sanctuary of the snags but there was no way I was going to let that happen. Soon it was boiling at the net and it turned out to be smaller than I’d first thought, another nice Common but still not a proper Carp. That was it for the day, I’d caught a few and I’d enjoyed myself (eventually), that would do for now.
That may well be that for this summer season. I may squeeze in another trip for scaly things but I really need to give the fishing shed a good sort out and start to gear up for the autumn and winter fishing for toothy things. As usual I'm highly disorganised and it'll take time for me to sort things out. I'm not an angler that can just pick up a rod for one species today then another species tomorrow and I admire those that can.
Andrew Strauss retired from all cricket yesterday. He was a very, very good player as well as captaining the best England team I have seen. On and off the field he was an absolute gentleman and a credit to the sport. Unlike other mercenary, money grabbing, border crossing scumbags I could mention. Anyone fancy a nut?