Monday 24 August 2015


Early mornings are without doubt the best time to fish, whatever the species. I love night fishing so would normally set up the evening before and fish through the night so I can be in position for dawn, it’s much more relaxing than being hauled out of bed by the alarm clock.  I haven’t managed to fish a single night this summer, priorities are elsewhere but I need the escapism of fishing now more than ever.  For the time being I only have space for short sessions close to home, the most interesting/viable fishing available would be trying to catch a carp or two from a club water.

The weekend didn’t provide any fishing opportunities but I did manage to wander round a pit and chat with a mate for a while.  Mr D is probably the most experienced Carp angler I know and I left his company with a few new ideas and a plan to put into action.  The plan was simple, everyone uses boilies so I will stick to particles and next time I fish the lake I need to drag my sorry backside out of bed in the morning. 

And so a couple of days later I was driving round the lake at the unearthly time of 0520.  Getting up early is never as bad as I think it’s going to be, and I had a spring in my step as I headed for my chosen swim.  No looking around this morning, I knew where I was going to set up as fish were still seeking sanctuary in the weedy bay I’d fished last time.  I set up away from the water then quietly settled into position, both rods were baited with Maize and had a PVA bag of Hemp attached, one lowered into the right hand margin, the other placed beside a bed of lilies.  My great idea this week was to keep feeding each spot with a pouch full of particles every now and then.  Hopefully any Carp in the weed would follow the seeds down to my hookbaits.

I sat back in my chair with the first brew of the day, aware that I should try to be less clumsy than usual as I was fishing close range.  The early morning mist might help me hide but it wouldn’t stop vibration from heavy footfalls.  The bay seemed quiet; it would be sods law if the fish had moved off!  A tell-tale tremor in the lilies gave the game away; a fish was moving about and not far from my bait either!  It occurred to me that it had been a while since I’d actually had a take on a rod mounted on a buzzer, all my fish this season had been on the float.  A minute or two later I was alerted by a sharp tap on the rod fished to the pads.  This had barely registered in my brain before the bobbin slammed and the spool was spinning.  Still sat on my chair I bent into a fish and immediately piled pressure on to keep it out of the pads.  This worked and I had a fish of some kind under control, it didn’t feel big and I wondered if irony had struck and left me with a Tench.  I kept the pressure on and within a minute had dragged a nice double figure Common into the net.  The protracted fights on the float rod are all well and good but personally I prefer to get ‘em in quick!  A wren scampered up the nearby tree as I laid out the unhooking mat.  I decided on a quick self-take photo which was a bit tricky but I soon had it done and the fish back in the lake.

My quiet swim was well and truly disturbed and I had to reposition both baits by which time the rising sun had burnt off the mist leaving a lovely sunny morning.  Surely there were more Carp in the bay queueing up to eat my bait?  I relaxed in my chair enjoying the Kingfisher’s successful fishing trip, these things are always too quick for my camera, as was the Weasel that briefly poked its head around a tree in my line of vision.  All very nice but for two hours I hadn’t seen any more signs of a Carp in the bay despite a brisk North Westerly blowing into the bay.  Then around 0825 the lilies quivered again and I started to feel expectant once more.  However I was on a deadline and nothing else occurred before this ran out an hour later.  I was pleased though, for once a little planning had paid off and I really should get my carcass out of bed early more often! 
The self take was a bit tricky
Another early morning start saw me back at the lake around 0520.  I didn’t need a look around today, I felt certain there would be fish in the bay so made my way straight there and set up quietly.  Within a few minutes I had two PVA bag rigs in position and was sitting back with a brew to scan the water.

It was a cloudy, humid morning.  What little wind there was rippled the far side and I began to wonder if I’d made the classic mistake of just dropping into a favoured swim as the bay appeared deathly quiet.  I’d hurried into the swim as I only had a couple of hours fishing time.  I started to look further down the lake, considering my options for a move but no wait; there was a subtle quiver amongst the lilies.  As time went by I spotted more subtle signs around the bay and as more time passed the signs became less subtle, there were definitely Carp in the bay.  The lilies in particular were rocking and surely it was only a matter of time now?  The line twitched… Just a liner?

A Carp rolled amongst the trees near the other rod and I began to get a few liners on that one too.  Then it went, a twitchy take not a ripper I picked the rod up feeling slight pressure and wound in a twig??  What the hell had happened there then?  It didn’t waste time wondering just got the rig back quickly, was there still a chance?  Surely the rod by the pads?  When Carp fishing I like to put a rig out and just leave it, thinking a recast would cause more disturbance and spook the fish.  Surely my PVA bag rigs couldn’t have tangled? 

Time ran out and I had to pack up, with all the activity I was baffled as to why I hadn’t caught.  I retrieved the rod to the pads to find a load of silty muck masking the hook and covering the bait.  Maybe the liner wasn’t a liner?  This was an example of leaving the rig in place may have cost me the chance of a fish and thinking about it this isn’t the first time this has happened to me on this particular water.  Another lesson learnt the hard way.

Another window of opportunity materialised and I allowed myself to make plans for another visit to the bay.  The lessons from the two previous sessions gave me optimism, I’d caught a fish on the first occasion and had a good idea why I’d failed on the second.  The bay gets overlooked by most anglers so if the fish were still present I felt I had a good chance of catching.  I had time for a quick circuit of the water on a very hot day.  Unfortunately there were several anglers about including one close to the bay and no sign of a Carp anywhere.  My plan remained unchanged, if I could I’d be fishing the bay.

I had a restless night with little sleep but still managed to over sleep by twenty minutes.  I’m not even sure if the alarm went off?  I was soon up and after filling a flask I was off to the lake.  I walked round the bay as quietly as possible, there was an angler bivvied up in the bay but judging by the angle of his rods there was a lot of weedy water between him and the spot I wanted to fish.  I settled into my swim quietly and set up two PVA bag rigs.  Both had fake corn on the hair but on one I used a Tiger nut and cast to the pads; the other had a piece of Maize and was dropped under the tree.  The bag mix has undergone a bit of a tweak, a couple of other ingredients added but more about that another time.  Two pouches of mixed seeds were pulted over each one and I was fishing.  Now were there any fish in the bay?

It had been a warm, humid night and as the morning haze cleared it revealed a clear sky with a few small clouds moving quickly on the fresh south easterly wind.  My shady corner was sheltered and calm so any fishy movements would be easy to detect, unfortunately I wasn’t seeing any.  There was a family of swans and a clutch of annoying ducks but nothing at all carpy.  Bubbles a plenty broke the surface, particularly around my margin rod but they could be caused by anything.  The cloud thickened and dropped a little light rain on me; the forecast hadn’t prepared me for this but thankfully it didn’t last long.  After three quarters of an hour an alarm sang out but it wasn’t mine, the angler on the edge of the bay was into a fish which he soon netted and returned.  There were Carp in the bay, even if I couldn’t see them.

As if to underline this I had a single beep on the nut cast to the pads; followed a few seconds later by the lilies thumping and bumping as a good sized fish moved among them.  I hardly had time to think before the nearest rod ripped off and the old rod took on a good bend.  I didn’t realise my clutch was set but it was just as well it was, whatever I was attached to took a bit of line but I couldn’t give it much, I had to keep it out of the weed.  This I managed to do and it was soon under control and plodding around in the clear water in front of me.  It wasn’t long before I saw large scales on the flank of a Common enclosed in the mesh.  This was obviously a bit bigger than I expected so I left it in the net while I sorted the scales and camera.  With everything ready I lifted a large, almost mint conditioned Carp onto the mat, I don’t go all dewy eyed over Carp like some real carpers do but this one was a belter.  The first clear look revealed it was a lot bigger than I’d imagined but even so the weight on the scales was still a pleasant surprise! 

After a quick photo I slipped it back and tried to get a bait back out there but the fish had shifted a lot of weed and it was difficult to get the rig into the same position.  I had high hopes of another fish and sat well into the morning but there were no further signs of Carp in the bay.  I should probably have moved but it was pleasant just sitting, enjoying a warm morning and letting the waterside soothe my soul.  It’s been interesting trying to catch these Carp and having landed a nice fish with limited time, after learning a few lessons and tweaking things a bit has given me a buzz.

Saturday 15 August 2015


Summer is well and truly here but I’ve been unable to spend the long pleasant days by the waterside.  At times fishing has to take a backseat, mostly for the right reasons but not always.  I’ve not really fished at all since the Ashes series started but I have soaked baits on three occasions.

Shelley and I sat in the boat, on a broad on a sunny but breezy day in early July, with TMS on the radio we listened to England bowl the Aussies out at Cardiff and take a surprising and delightful 1-0 lead in the series.  We also chucked a couple of feeders around with maggot or corn on the hooks and managed to catch a few fish; Roach, Rudd and a few skimmers.  It was a lovely day out all round and one we planned to repeat…
 We missed the Lords test match because we were otherwise engaged at the Latitude festival having a thoroughly mad and wonderful time.  Since them things haven’t gone to plan although the cricket has been enjoyable beyond all expectations.

I didn’t wet a line again until the second day of the fourth test.  I wandered round a couple of local pits but didn’t find any clues so ended up putting one rod into a gap in the weed, this was maize fished over a couple of handfuls of hemp.  I sat back under cover hoping a fish might find it but all my concentration was on the radio as the England bowlers hammered more big nails into the Aussie coffin prior to cremation.  When the play finished for the day I went home, for once just fishing wasn’t enough.

By the time I fished again the Ashes were safely won and I felt the fishing pull again, on a slow circuit of the pit I managed to find some Carp.  They seemed to be moving about in the weed and I was able to fish a couple of rods in clearer areas which I baited with particles, fishing maize and fake corn on the hairs.  A PVA bag of hemp was hooked on too.  There were definitely fish in the area, I had managed to get two baits in place without spooking them, it was just a case of sitting back and waiting for one to have a feed, hopefully…  So I sat back and watched the water, scanning the water for a clue…  Was I bollocks, I had my head in a book and let the alarms do their job, which they did a couple of times but they were only liners.  As the evening deepened there were fish in the area and they did move over my baited spots but they didn’t pick up my baits, as far as I know.  I enjoyed a couple of hours of fishing therapy and I’ll have need for more very soon.