Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Making the most of summer

Life had caught up with me, I needed a big fix of fresh air, countryside and fishing and I needed it straight away. I arrived at the Marsh later than expected but was pleasantly surprised to find only two other anglers in attendance and ‘my’ area free. By 2000 I was settled in and fishing with two rods, a chod/pop up cast to the trees and a helicopter snowman placed alongside the reeds. An area in between, near a dead tree was baited with 100 boilies and I began the waiting game.

The day had been a mixture of sunshine and cloud with a southerly wind blowing across the swim. As darkness deepened and the bats came out to play a couple of large fish rolled in open water, I was pretty sure at least one was a Carp. Will they move in onto my bait? Should I chuck a zig at it? A Tawny owl announced nightfall and I climbed into the bivvy, what would the night bring?

The answer was nothing, not a beep on the alarms. Even the dawn chorus seemed subdued save from the efforts of the cuckoo. The early morning period passed in a similar vein despite it being bright and breezy with a fresh westerly blowing into the swim. No fish were showing and I had zero confidence, what should I do next? I made a snap decision and moved off the water, baiting up before I left. I may be back…

After a quick pit-stop I was fishing the easy place by 1230. I’d had a brief look around and decided on the 2nd point, despite a few fish rolling in the middle bay. I was banking on Carp moving out of the snags and onto the far bank spot I’d discovered last time. My first cast saw the snowman taken before I’d even put the rod on the rests, the result was a strange, peach coloured ghostie Mirror thing. The rod was soon back on the spot with a dozen or so freebies on top. For my other rod I baited the gap on the left with Hemp/Maize and fished plastic baits on a Chod rig, just for a change and to see what happened.

I added a small PVA bag of crushed boilies to the heli rig every cast and this rod was in action regularly. I had five more takes on this in all, 2 lost 1 aborted and 2 more landed. The spot is definitely a good one and no snag problems from this angle, also the Heli rig is working! The same can’t be said for my Chod rig. I switched between the fake maize/corn and a boilie and received pulls on both but nothing hooked itself. I think I need a heavier lead and a tighter line for it to be effective. Heavy rain came in the afternoon and I took shelter in the car but this became boring. After 4 hours fishing I’d had enough so braved the rain and bundled everything in the car. This quick fix had only produced small fish but had been worthwhile as I’d learnt plenty.

After another pit stop I planned my return to the lake with mixed feelings. I still want to catch one of those big Mirrors but in reality time is running out. I’ll have even less time when summer gets into full swing and I’m losing motivation for fishing the place. The fishing is hard, however I approach it and for whatever species I’m fishing for. Sitting behind motionless indicators just isn’t interesting enough for me. Up until this weekend it has been very busy which spoils things too. Maybe the truth is I’m not just up to the challenge, perhaps I need to go away and remind myself of all the things I’ve forgotten about before I take on the challenge again? However, just one more trip…

I needed a total change of scenery so ignored “My area” and fished the other end, on the right hand side. My view was a scenic little lily fringed bay that screams Carp. Opposite me a row of overhanging trees then further to the right Norfolk reeds, more lilies and trees on a rarely trodden bank. It was to this area that I cast my left hand rod, rigged with a chod and pop up. No freebies necessary as this area had been baited lightly this morning. For my other rod I had plenty of options but elected to drop a helicopter/snowman rig to a gap between the lilies and the tree. Here I catapulted about 25 boilies. By now the rainstorm was long gone and I was treated to a calm, sunny evening, however an ominous cloud had me scrambling to set the bivvy up double quick, though in the end it wasn’t necessary. With my dodgy eyesight it took a few casts to get the rigs where I wanted them but by 1945 I was happy, settled and prepared to wait.

Half an hour later movement on the surface had me setting up another rod. I couldn’t be sure what species was responsible but it had to be worth putting a Zig out just in case… A few minutes later ‘something’ rolled close to my right hand rod, the signs were good. Shelley joined me for an evening of chilling by the water, for once we had a thoroughly pleasant evening for it. We were treated to the usual birdsong and aerobatics but no action on the rods. Just after 2300 Shelley went home, I wound in the zig and climbed into the kip bag, come on fish!

As usual I awoke at regular intervals throughout the night and in the early morning but sadly I wasn’t woken by fish.

I was up and at ‘em by 0600 but there seemed to be little showing. As the morning wore on the usual bubbling took place around this silty bay. Over the years casting to these has proven fruitless but I couldn’t resist dropping a spare rod into the area, this time baited with fake Corn. This got the expected result. I felt I should have caught something on the rod cast to the tree and couldn’t resist checking my helicopter rig, surely it must have tangled? No it was fine and the bait still smelt good but obviously none of it had been good enough for the fish.

Shelley returned and I fried our breakfast then slowly tidied up. Something heavy swirled in the pads so the bonus rod was wound in and the zig deployed in hope not expectation. By 1030 all was tidied and the fish had defeated me again. However I had enjoyed this trip and I’m definitely not done with the place yet! My grand plan has not put a fish in the net but I still feel positive that with a change of approach I can make something happen.

It just happened to be father’s day so Madi and Isaac made a picnic and the three of us headed off for a walk into the beautiful Suffolk countryside. We went up and down hills, through fields, copses and woods along paths we’d never trod before. The picnic went down well and we rested on the edge of a wood on top of a hill before meandering our way home where I stretched out on the settee and the children kept me awake with pleasant chattering until it was time to go back to their mum’s. It was a lovely afternoon.

My Dad was always a reluctant angler, his only reason for going was to keep me happy but I think he enjoyed himself once we got there. I hadn’t planned another fishing trip but it was father’s day and my dad hadn’t caught a Carp for about thirty years and with the good weather holding, tonight was an ideal opportunity. Along with Shelley we headed for the piranha pool, nothing too challenging tonight. I fed mixers and set up a couple of floater rods then dropped a boilie down the edge for myself.

The Carp eagerly slurped at the floaters but were shy of the hookbaits to begin with but after a bit of experimenting with baits and a dip in some flavour things clicked. However the first take came to the boilie rod only minutes after dropping it in and this turned out to be the biggest Carp I’ve caught from this pool so far. Another funny ghostie thing was held up for the camera. The next fish came to this rod too but eventually it was Dad’s turn and he soon had his first fish for many years in the net, without even getting out of his chair. After that we hooked fish regularly on the floaters, finishing with about a dozen between us, Shelley catching the most.

I crammed a lot into this weekend, lots of time spent in the countryside with people I love and some much needed solitary time too. I managed to catch a few fish but still no sign of the one I really want. It’s time to do things a little differently.

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