Monday, 2 September 2013

On a roll...

Busy, busy Saturday. The children are going back to school next week (or university in Shan’s case), Madi can’t wait but Isaac doesn’t want to stop playing Xbox. We had to go into town for new hair cuts, new shoes and loads of new stuff to fill pencil cases. Pizza hut for dinner by which time I’d spent a fortune. After all that we’d agreed that the evening would be Dad time so I dragged the children down to the club lake. 

The wind was a fresh North Westerly pushing down the far end which was handy because I could fish two rods for Carp in the main lake and the kids could float fish maggots in the small pool a few yards behind. I dropped a PVA bag of nut mix baited with fake corn close to an overhanging tree in the margins on the left and was planning to fish a boilie close in on the right. However a leaping Carp in the bay opposite distracted me, no one was fishing the bay so I just had to put a bait on it. The margin rod was fishing by 1630 but it took another half hour to get the boilie out there. This was not just because my dodgy eyesight was affecting my casting but I was also side tracked by untangling whips and unhooking fish. Madi was catching small Perch and Roach but Isaac couldn’t get a bite, much to his disgust! Eventually I got the boilie bang on target and catapulted about 30 freebies on top, then I was able to relax in the late afternoon sunshine.

After ninety minutes or so the freshening wind was still pushing into the bay and making things look very good for a Carp or two. If the fish had read all the books then they should be here and I should be catching…Isaac managed a couple of Perch on his whip by which time Madi had put hers aside and was concentrating on her latest book, the sibling rivalry had eased a bit. I was reminded that I was the only one of us not to have caught a fish but this wasn’t the reason I swapped sides with the nut mix margin rod. If that one had been picked up it would have been straight through my other line in seconds so I had to give myself a bit of room. I now felt content to sit and wait. Conditions looked good, had the fish read the script?

At 1840 I had a fast take on the boilie rod. I picked it up quickly and started walking backwards trying to steer the fish away from the snaggy bay. I only half succeeded, the fish moved away from the lilies but kited into the bay, there now was a line of overhanging trees between it and me. I had to endure a tug of war along the tree line with me gradually gaining line and the fish somehow staying out of the snags. I love my 2.5tc rods because I can really bend into these fish, unlike most Carp anglers with their pokers. I asked for help and Madi was soon beside me wielding the net but the fish was not done yet. Eventually it gave up and rolled over , I dragged a nice common over the net which Madi expertly lifted first time! She then trotted off up the bank and returned with the mat and scales, my daughter is a fast learner! I was surprised by the weight in the net and when I put the fish on the mat it was revealed as a very deep, thick set fish in lovely condition, apart from an Otter damaged tail which is all too common these days. Isaac who is used to catching fish exclaimed “Is that really a Carp?” The scales revealed a very pleasing weight indeed, another proper fish! A few quick photos then the kids watched as I slipped it back. Lovely job!!

Excuse the dopey face

I recast as soon as the mess was sorted, this time I got it right first time and once more catapulted 20 or so freebies on top. I settled back with a broad grin on my face not really expecting much else and not caring. The clock ticked round, the children wanted to go home and I was content so began tidying up the whips which were no longer being used. 

At 1935 I had a twitchy take on the same rod. I wasn’t sure what was going on so picked up the rod and began winding. There didn’t seem to be anything on the end…then there was…then there wasn’t…then there was… What had happened was a fish had picked up my bait and bolted out of the bay, away from the worst snags but through every weed bed along the way. When I eventually made contact it was in front of me, a heavy plodding weight which I put down to a nice fish and loads of weed. This fish kept going from one weed bed to another but I felt pretty relaxed with a big fish under my belt already and kept bullying it out of the weed. Once again Madi held the net and I had the fish almost over it before it powered off again. Eventually, a few minutes later we got the fish and a whole load of weed into the net and I had a second fish. With the fish resting in the water I peeled off loads and loads of weed to reveal a lightly scaled Mirror and what’s more it was a proper whacker!!

Every time I looked at the fish it grew, it was clearly my biggest ever Carp by a distance! Like the first the hook was firmly in the lower lip and wouldn’t have pulled out but you don’t know that when you’re playing them. The scales confirmed my suspicions; the fish smashed the PB set only three weeks previously. I held it up for the camera and Madi clicked away while Isaac stood saying things like “Wow! Are you sure that’s a Carp?” I returned the fish to the water and it sank away to invisibility. I was completely blown away, this is my heaviest brace of fish of any species and not only had I shared the experience with my children, Madi had netted them both for me! I packed the rest of the gear away in a total daze.

Two days later…I have the afternoon off work to spend a little more time with the children before the summer holiday ended. Five of us sat down to a big tasty, roast dinner and had a relaxed afternoon. At 1600 it was time for the kids to go back to their mum so Shelley and I loaded the car for another evening at the club lake. Bright and sunny with a moderate westerly, I parked at the windward corner and had a look in a swim with nice fishy looking margins. After a couple of minutes I saw a Carp drift under an over-hanging tree, that’ll do for me. This was a new swim to me so I cast a light lead around the swim just to get a little idea of where there was weed and which parts were clear, then started rigging up.

By 1645 I was fishing. First the helicopter rig was swung under an overhang to my right and 30 freebies chucked on top. Shelley dropped a similar rig to a tree on the left, this one baited with pellets. I chucked a third rod in the middle which we ended up sharing. This was maize with a PVA bag rig, a short cast into open, clear water with a few pouches of Maize catapulted over the top.

We didn’t have long to wait, barely half an hour later my right hand rod started bouncing, bending and beeping and before I knew what was happening I had a bent rod and I was dragging a fish away from the tree. A big Common Carp surfaced with dorsal erect then dived again, thankfully it was away from the tree. I turned to Shelley who had wound in the middle rod and was now standing with the net; “That’s another biggun”. “I know she said, “I’ve seen it”. This fish didn’t fight as hard as the two the other night and it didn’t take long to get it in the net and on the mat. It was another big fish, in fact it was my second PB Common this season and I grinned for the camera.

I got the rod back out quickly and baited up again with a nother few handfuls of boilies. We’d barely settled down before the same rod was away again and a short while later a small common was unhooked and returned. We decided then that the middle rod would be Shelley’s for the rest of the evening, after she’d recast it of course. And so it continued, twice more my same bait on the right was taken, both times I bullied the fish away from the tree then enjoyed a nice fight in the clearer water where Shelley netted it. One fish was a nice Mirror, the other a slightly smaller Common. As it was growing darker and we were soaking up the sunset, Shelley’s left hand rod signalled a take at last but unfortunately the culprit got away with it. Half an hour later we packed up by torch light.

So to sum up my summer so far, four months of learning about Carp and Carp fishing and mostly blanking followed by five weeks of catching. I suppose a couple of nice fish gives the angler a bit of confidence then we relax and make good decisions, one success leads to another. I’ve avoided Carp fishing for years but now I’ve had another go I’m really enjoying myself. 
Years ago when I used to fish for Carp I had to travel far and wide to find fish big enough to interest me, now I’ve had four whackers in four weeks from waters on my door step. I’m on a roll and long may it continue, right through the autumn with any luck.

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