Saturday, 24 August 2013

In the club

Earlier this year I mentioned my local G.A.P.S. club had made some major changes at the top of their organisation. When I was last a member of this club around a decade ago, it was dominated by a small group of older gentlemen, virtually all match anglers, who had their own agenda and basically ran the club for their own advantage. After witnessing first-hand how that committee conducted itself I decided they wouldn’t be getting any more of my money to fund their nest feathering. 

Last Saturday 17th the club held an open day at one of its fisheries which I attended as part of the day job. The aim of the day was to showcase the club and its waters to attract new members. The day was particularly aimed at juniors and all of those who attended received a free membership on the day, Isaac was one of many to take advantage of this! The open day was a tremendous success from every point of view, everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves, most caught fish and the club got its message across. The new committee is a mixture of anglers from all disciplines, led by Carp anglers but I trust their promise to make G.A.P.S. a club for ALL anglers. I was so impressed by what I saw and heard at the open day, I showed my support by stumping up the cash to join the club.

A couple of days later I made my first fishing trip to a G.A.P.S. water for a decade. My first impressions were unfavourable, there were just too many anglers about but eventually Shelley and I settled into the relative quiet of a bay down the far end. It had been a bright breezy day and the North west wind had pushed down this end of the lake, which is why I chose the area. That and the fact the bay was quiet with no other people around. There were no fish showing to give any clues so the windward end of the lake would do.
So we began fishing, Shelley with the whip and me with two Carp rods. One cast to a bed of lilies in a snaggy corner on my left, this was baited with fake corn and a PVA bag of Maize & Hemp stick. The other rod was a chod & pop up cast to a nice long tree line to my right. This was baited with about a dozen boilies.

We had a pleasant evening chilling out but Shelley’s float didn’t dip and there was no sign of any Carp in the swim…until about 1945 when a decent fish rolled near the pads. Seconds later that rod ripped off and I was attached to a decent Carp, determined to get into the snags. I held on and bullied it out into open water where it took line off the reel. Just when I began to think I had it under control the hook pulled… bugger! I’m not sure how big it was, probably a mid-double by the feel but you never know. I recast with a fresh rig & bag as quickly as I could, feeling a bit deflated to be honest.

As the sky began to darken more Carp began to show in the bay and things looked good for another take. Around 2040 the same rod was off again and I was attached to another Carp determined to get in the snags. This one was smaller and I just got it away from danger when the hook pulled again. I can’t be too disappointed as it really was shit or bust fishing. As daylight was fading fast I decide to give it best and pack up. I’d blanked but my PVA bag mix is as attractive to the Carp as I thought it would be. I think I’m onto a winner here! Also I need to use bigger hooks when fishing near snags… Despite not landing any fish, this was a positive first trip.

A couple of days later I was back. Today was Isaac’s birthday and I was supposed to be elsewhere but family life doesn’t always go to plan so due to an unlikely set of circumstances Madi and I found ourselves at the club pit for an evening fishing. The weather was uncomfortable, grey and gloomy with little or no wind and steady drizzle punctuated only by heavier showers. On one rod I fished the PVA bag mix that had produced takes the other night, this was dropped next to convenient margin features. I moved it around the swim during the evening and never really felt confident in any of the spots I placed it. On the other rod was my favourite helicopter/snowman rig with a finely balanced hookbait cast to a convenient gap in the trees and baited up with about 25 boilies by catapult. With the rods in position the two of us took shelter beneath my little pop up shelter and spent an evening chatting and drinking tea. My daughter and I had a lot to discuss.

The lake seemed dead but to be fair it was difficult to really keep an eye on the water looking out of the bivvy door and peering through the rain. It was a surprise when after about ninety minutes the boilie was picked up and I was into a Carp that was determined to get into the snags. A brief tug of war ensued, my hook pulled and the Carp won, “Bollocks!!!”, “Don’t swear Dad!!!” I got an identical rig back into position as quickly as possible, topping up with another 20 or so freebies. It would have been more but Madi didn’t get the hang of the catapult.

The hands on my watch began to speed up and the light began to fade, it seems to do so quickly at this time of year, especially when I’m fishing. I thought I’d missed my chance once again but at around 2030 the boilie rod signalled another take, I hit it quickly and walked backwards to pull the fish clear of the snags, shit or bust. This time my hook held and I managed to drag the fish into open water but the battle was far from over. This fish was by no means big but refused to go in the net being patiently held by Madi and managed to wipe out my other rod too. Eventually Madi lifted the net under a plump Common Carp and I’d managed to catch my first Carp from this club’s waters since the late eighties.

After Madi done the honours with the camera it was virtually dark now, everything was a mess and I’d forgotten my head torch so there was no real option but to pack away and bundle everything into the car. Had I managed to get the rods out I’m confident I could have bagged another fish but to be honest when I set out I’d have settled for just the one.

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