Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Back to reality

Almost a month later than planned I found myself walking the banks of the Marsh for my first look at trying to catch a Carp from this mysterious lake. I arrived at around 1000 and spent an hour watching the water and casting a plumb rod around, trying to refresh my memory on depths and the bottom make up of a few swims. For once we had dry, bright, sunny weather which had brought a few anglers out but thankfully none were in the areas I fancied. I had a plan you see…famous last words!

Today the wind swung back to another ‘orrible Easterly so I wanted to fish on the back of this cold wind. In theory the afternoon sun should warm this end of the lake too. The forecast was for a cool night then the wind would swing to a South westerly tomorrow morning, which should in theory, also see the Carp moving around at this end of the lake. The fish rarely give any visual clues on this water so my little theory was all I had to go on. Unfortunately I had to leave the lake for a couple of hours work, would the swims still be free when I returned?

The answer was yes! By 1430 I had a couple of rods fishing over a nice scattering of boilies, a helicopter/snowman rig was cast to an overhanging tree while a pop up on a chod fished alongside a reedbed. I considered fishing a Zig rig but discovered I’d left some of the vital components at home, oh well another time. I then had nothing else to do but sit back in the warm afternoon and enjoy chilling out and watching the water. Despite my lack of success on this lake over the years I still really felt I was in with a chance today, we’ll see. I’ve decided to try leaving my baited rigs in place for much longer periods of time this year. Being a Pike angler at heart I’m used to recasting fairly often to search the water so I struggle with sitting on my hands. I’m thinking I might need to adopt a bit more of a stealthy approach this year, maybe casting too often with heavy leads could spook wary fish.

It was a nice change to be sitting in the sun which seemed hotter than forecast, sheltered from the cool wind my end of the lake was flat calm. Despite the spring weather the lake is still wearing its winter colours, the rushes are beginning to push new green shoots through but the beds of Norfolk reed are still in winter beige. I had a radio with me, no cricket this time but Town got an away point which was good in the circumstances. My eyes grew heavy after a while and I could easily have drifted off to sleep but I was determined to watch the water for clues. The reed stems beside me were knocking regularly as fish brushed through them but they looked to me like small fish, not the bigger Carp or Tench I was after.

At around 1900 I recast both rods and topped the bait up ready for the night. Both rigs landed bang on where I wanted them which doesn’t happen often. Lines were pinned to the deck with back leads, indictors turned up, landing net and unhooking mat ready. All I needed was a fish. As the sun set the skeleton trees were silhouetted against an orange glow, reflected in the calm water, loads of silver fish topped all over the lake, a pheasant called in the wood, song birds called goodnight and the night’s first bats swooped low. It was lovely-you should have been there. Everything looked great but I hadn’t had a bleep so what was I doing wrong? If I consulted the Carpy magazines I might deduce that I hadn’t drunk enough tea or ear-bashed the other anglers enough. Perhaps my rod rests were too far apart and maybe I should have folded my reel handles? Actually I’d made great effort in ensuring absolutely nothing in my set up matched.

By 2130 the temperature had dropped dramatically, in fact it was becoming bloody cold. A half-moon cast shadows and the sky was riddled with stars. It all looked too beautiful but I was cold so climbed into my kip bag. It had grown so cold that it was hard to believe I would be disturbed by a fish tonight. Normally I’d feel confident at first light but will it get warm enough quick enough? I crawled out of my kip bag to relieve my old man’s bladder around 0330 to discover a heavy covering of frost on all of my kit, bugger this back in the bag! It was the same story at 0630 when I next peered out of the bivvy door, not what I wanted or needed. I decided to trust my rigs and baits a little longer.

At 0900 I was sitting with a cup of tea, the wind had swung to a south westerly and the day was warming up but I knew my best chance of a fish had come and gone. I felt I’d done the right things fishing wise but had the cold night ruined my chances? Nearly all of my overnight sessions have ended like this which suggests I’m doing something very wrong. I need to start thinking ahead and doing things a little differently. I left the lake a little after 1030 but I’ll be back. 

After a few hours in the garden the lovely lady and I decided that as we didn’t want to do anything other than chill out for the rest of the day then we might as well do it by a lake somewhere. After last night’s blank I decided I wanted to see a bend in the rod so we drove to the easy place. A few handfuls of mixers soon had the Carp in Piranha mode and it wasn’t long before we were both into fish. It was fun for a while but once again the sun hid itself and the temperature dropped making things uncomfortable. We packed up early and headed home. This quick fix didn’t do the trick, I won’t catch the fish I’m after here so I have to knuckle down…

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