Saturday evening and I had a little spare time so quickly loaded the car and headed off for a couple of hours fishing. I pulled into the club lake to find it was thick with weed in some places and thick with anglers in others. I didn’t even get out of the car, just turned around and pointed myself in the direction of the Marsh. On arrival here things didn’t look much better, at one end two anglers were considerately taking up three swims and at the other, another two were bivvied up and were sprawled out, shirts off sinking cans of beer. I had a quick look in a couple of the free swims but I must be getting old and grumpy because I just didn’t feel like fishing amongst this company. So I went back to the club lake, parked up and took a long stroll around trying to find something inspiring. A few anglers were packing up and heading off leaving just a couple of groups of sullen looking teenagers and a cluster of bivvies. Forty five minutes later nothing had inspired me so I was back in the car and on the verge of going home but thought “sod it” and decided to try my luck at the Marsh after all.
I ended up dropping my gear into a swim I rarely fish, it looked good with the nice southerly wind blowing in. I catapulted a few pouches of boilies in front of a reed bed and down the slope into open water. I cast a snowman rig with a PVA bag of crushed boilies close to the reeds and then a chod rig at the bottom of the slope then sat back to chill out. As I sat back in my chair I noticed yet another angler setting up across the lake, he was using a dreaded bait boat to position his baits along the lily choked margins into spots it would have otherwise been impossible to present a bait. I don’t know how he expected to land a fish from these areas but gave him the benefit of the doubt, surely he had a plan? For some reason I just wasn’t feeling the fishing buzz tonight but tried to gee myself up, the swim looked good with the wind pushing in and the occasional patch of fishy bubbles breaking out. Then again I always say that don’t I?
Time passed. At the western side of the lake the sound of a bite alarm caused excitement and panic as the wandering angler scrambled back to his unattended swim to investigate, there was no fish attached to reward him. Meanwhile at the eastern end one of the beer drinkers was flat on his back, on the ground outside his bivvy where he remained for some time. Opposite me the guy with the bait boat was in a bit of a fluster as it appeared his vessel was stuck in the weed, either that or he was really taking his time to get his rig bang on ‘the spot’. In my own swim absolutely nothing was happening and to be honest I was bored as well as grumpy. I’d had enough and packed up with plenty of daylight to spare.
A couple of days later Isaac, Shelley and I ventured off for a couple of hours fishing in the midday sun. We headed off to a club water, not the usual one but a small, narrow stillwater purposely designed and stocked to see anglers getting a bend in their rods. This isn’t your usual over stocked, carp puddle type water but one where you never know what will be on the end when the float goes under. We began by watching Isaac fishing corn close in on a whip. I fed a little groundbait and a handful of pellets every now and then but bites were few and far between to begin with. After a while Isaac got a little frustrated and wandered off so I sat down for a while and sure enough managed to hook a fish, a small but very welcome Tench.Isaac returned to the hot seat, more determined than ever to bank a fish or two. Bites began to come more regularly, a couple of fish were hooked and lost but eventually he banked his first fish of the day, a beautiful little Mirror Carp. A short while later he landed another equally lovely little Carp. While this was going on I was watching another, larger Carp cruising around on the surface. After a while I couldn’t resist setting up another rod with a float for casting weight and an 8mm pop up boilie for hook bait. I flicked it out and carefully wound it back into the path of the cruising fish which slurped it down without hesitation. After a short battle I pulled a nice little Common over the net and Isaac scooped it out first time.
Pure bad luck?
My time with the kids ended that evening so when they went to their mums, Shelley and I went down to the Marsh to make the most of the fine summer evening. We fished a rod each for Carp and Tench; Shelley cast a chod rig into open water near a snaggy tree while my helicopter rig landed a little closer to trouble. I baited the area with a few pouches of boilies then left the rods to fish for themselves.
We’ve grown accustomed to sitting behind motionless rods here so I decided to put a little groundbait in the margins and fish corn on a waggler over the top. I stopped fishing like this at the Marsh a couple of seasons ago and had forgotten the reason why. Not catching fish is obviously frustrating but after a while catching too many can be equally annoying. I had been hoping to relax while watching the waggler but it was impossible to get a bait to the bottom because every single cast saw the bait intercepted on the drop by a Rudd. I gave up counting at twenty, they were all beautiful golden fish with vivid red fins and averaged about 4ozs each. Very nice but not really what I was after. To add to the frustration my groundbaited area was absolutely fizzing with bubbles. On a couple of occasions my sweetcorn managed to reach the bottom and I was rewarded with a Roach, the biggest of which was about half a pound.
After an hour or so with the waggler rod I’d had enough so packed it away and we spent the rest of the evening chatting and putting the world to rights. One of the reasons we like fishing on a summer evening like this is we can just talk without any of the distractions of life. The sky grew gradually darker and we were lost in conversation when we were suddenly interrupted by a most unusual sound, a bite alarm. It was Shelley’s rod and with my encouragement she was soon bent into a heavy fish. Shelley has caught loads of fish over the last few years including Carp to around seven pounds but this was clearly much bigger. Unfortunately this fish took her by surprise and made straight for the thick beds of lilies and became stuck fast. The old trick of slackening off and putting the rod back on the alarm never works for me but we tried it anyway. Would you believe it, after a few minutes the alarm sounded and we were in business again. Sadly our hope was short lived before the fish was back in the lilies and everything seemed terminally solid. The slack line trick didn’t work a second time. I considered stripping off and going in for it but it was dark and the margins were deep. Eventually I tried to pull but the hooklength parted and I suspect the fish had been long gone for some time. It may have been down to a lack of experience on Shelley’s part or it may just have been down to pure bad luck. That’s fishing…