Sunday, 11 August 2013

Like buses

I arrived at the Marsh at 1930, disappointed to see two cars parked at my favoured end of the lake, surely my area would be stitched up? A brief walk around told me my preferred swim was vacant, only one angler was fishing, the other just watching, I knew both of them and was comfortable settling into the South east reeds. By 2000 I had two rods fishing, a helicopter/snowman rig on the left and a chod rig cast into the open water. I catapulted 25 boilies on top of each one then set about getting the bivvy up and all the kit sorted. For once I had a whole weekend of free time ahead of me, the longest session I’ve been able to spend at the Marsh. The conditions were on my side too, a nice westerly breeze pushed straight into my corner and the day had been relatively cool compared to recent weeks.

All was looking good, there was loads of bubbling in my swim (as usual) and I began receiving liners almost straight away. These may well have been Bream but if a shoal of these move in and feed, I may have some short term inconvenience but felt this feeding activity may draw in the Tench and Carp? My suspicions where confirmed by a twitchy take on the left hand rod which resulted in a Bream of about three pounds. This was quickly unhooked then I got the rig back out there along with another 25 or so boilies pulted on top. Just then I heard a shout from the friendly anglers to my right who pointed out an unwelcome visitor in the form of an Otter which bubbled and boiled through our swims and literally passed underneath my rods before thankfully disappearing. This put a halt to the Bream activity for a while but after an hour or so had passed I began getting the tell-tale beeps on the alarms again. I bade my friendly neighbours farewell about midnight then settled into my kip bag and bedchair for the night.

I was up and about at just after 0500, I had a plan to recast the open water rod to a snaggy area where I’ve seen fish rolling and bubbling during the early morning in the past. This cast landed bang on first time for a change. I’d had a little activity on the left hand rod through the night so recast this rod too with fresh hookbait and another 30 or so freebies. By 0600 I’d noticed there was quite a bit of bubbling in the open water so I quickly rigged up another chod on a third rod and dropped it into that area with another 25 freebies. All the signs looked good, fish bubbling in my area and a nice westerly still blowing into my face, I felt I was in with a good chance so climbed back onto my bedchair and dozed…

At just after 0700 I had a series of beeps on the left had rod and looked up to see the line pulling tight. I was unusually alert and was on the rod quickly, pulling into a heavy fish which heaved the rod tip right over. The fish kited from left to right across my swim, away from the snags and into open water without picking up my other lines. Glancing back to the reedbed I could see a huge cloud of bubbles from where my bait had been cast and another bubble trail leading away from it. By now I’d worked out I was attached to a Carp and it felt pretty heavy. It was under control now, plodding up and down the margins in front of me but unwilling to come up the shelf, which was lucky for me as the margins were a mass of lilies. My old, unfashionable 2.5tc rod had a nice curve and absorbed the lunges of this fish with ease. I’ve had my heart set on catching one of the big Mirrors that inhabit the Marsh so I suppose it was inevitable that it was one of the rarer Commons that surfaced in front of me. The fish rolled and boiled, tantalisingly just out of reach of the net, for several minutes but I eventually managed to drag it over the cord. Get in!!!

I left it in the net while I arranged the mat, set up the camera and tripod then sorted the scales and sling. On lifting the net I was surprised to find it was much heavier than I expected, on the mat lay a big Common Carp! The hook was wedged firmly into the lower lip, it was a great hook hold that wouldn’t have pulled during the fight but came out easily with my fingers. The scales confirmed that not only had I caught my first proper Carp for twenty years, I’d also caught my second PB of this summer! With a bit of thought and planning (thanks Dave!) I managed to shoot a couple of decent photos with the self-timer before I slipped the lovely old Common back into the lake. Bugger me I’d actually caught one!

With the rod recast and a few more boilies pulted on top I settled back onto the bedchair with a big grin. I enjoy challenging fishing so stubborn persistence is probably my best attribute as an angler, I refuse to be beaten and here I finally had my reward.

I was still smiling at 0850 when my long range chod rig literally tore off; before I knew it I had the rod in my hands, fully bent over as I walked backwards steering the fish away from the threat of the snags. This fish wasn’t as heavy as the first and I began to wonder if I’d hooked a big Tench, now that would be a dream brace! Unusually this fish done most of its fighting near the surface and the colour gave it away, it definitely wasn’t a Tench. I soon had this fish in the margins, where like the first it refused to come up the shelf. I eventually netted a strange looking ghostie Common thing. I’m not keen on these ornamental Carp, to me they have no place in ‘natural’ fisheries and I had no idea there were any in this ancient lake. However it had made my heart thump and I enjoyed a tremendous feeling of satisfaction in catching a second Carp from this difficult water. What’s more I felt I was in with a really good chance of catching more.

I spent a lovely day chilling out in the sun, drinking lots of tea (Carpy cliché) whilst listening to TMS, England battling back in the test match with quick wickets after a poor first innings batting. The conditions were still good, bright and breezy with the wind still blowing into my chops. Good conditions for another fish or two? I decided to try something different so wound in the open water chod rig, attached a PVA bag of crushed boilies and whacked it as far into the lake as I could. Meanwhile, back at the test match the Aussies were putting a good partnership together and England were feeling the pressure…

I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon spent chilling out with TMS as company. A Kingfisher zipped around and at one point threatened to perch on my rod before changing course. A family of Grebes were feeding close to my swim, picking off the surface dwelling Rudd which regularly leapt out to avoid the birds. At the other end of the lake two anglers began setting up for the night and away to my right another was trying to feed floaters. The ducks and gulls were making his life very difficult… I was marking time before the sun began to set when I felt my chances of more Carp or Tench would increase.

Shelley arrived in the evening, bringing fish & chip supper with her. With all three rods rigged and ready we sat chatting, putting the world to rights as usual. A fish (Carp or Tench) leapt near the snags and there were plenty of bubblers in the open water but not as much as the previous evening. By the time the sky began to darken all three of my rods had been recast and rebaited and I was completely happy with how I was fishing. The sunset behind the old trees made spectacular patterns of light and dark, then later on we were treated to a big clear sky full of stars. By 2300 it had become quite cool so we both retired to our sleeping bags for the night, Shelley commandeered the bivvy so I moved my bedchair into a little pop up shelter I’ve had for years but rarely use.

I’d hardly settled when I had a twitchy take on the open water rod, I was out of the bag quickly but whatever had caused the commotion was long gone. Around 0245 my left hand rod wouldn’t stop beeping either, as expected a Bream had hooked itself but this one was a lot bigger than the one I’d landed the previous night. Had I been less tired I may well have got the scales and camera out again but it was easier in the circumstances to unhook it in the water and get the rod back out there quickly. I dozed through the rest of the dark hours but was awake just after 0500 to recast the open water and left hand rods as both of these had been tired casts in the dark and I wanted to be certain they were in the right places. The morning was overcast and calm and there were far fewer bubblers in the swim than I would normally expect. Things definitely didn’t look as good as the previous morning so I climbed back into the bag.

I was up again at 0830 by which time there was a brisk wind blowing into the swim once again. With Shelley also stirring it was time to fire up the stove for a much needed cup of tea followed by sausage sarnies for breakfast. The wind kept piling into my swim but by the time breakfast was finished I felt the best chance of a fish had come and gone so began slowly tidying up. A twitchy take on the open water rod interrupted me and I swept the rod back to nothing… or was there? A Roach of about 8ozs came wriggling to the bank and that was my last action of the trip.

So after a gruelling spring and an inconsistent summer I’m very happy to have finally managed to bag myself a big Carp. However I really had my heart set on a big Mirror, no way am I disappointed that it was a Common because it gives me the excuse to keep fishing the Marsh. However the summer is passing by quickly, autumn is around the corner now so that big Mirror might have to wait until next year now. We’ll see.


Dave Lumb said...

Nice photo. ;-)

Jason Skilton said...

Great dangling me old mucker!!!