Carping Along

It was back to the little lake today for another go at the carp. I was hoping to use up the rest of the maggots I’d bought for Tuesday’s session, but they’d sweated up and got stinky, so I had to ditch them. Not too much of a problem, I thought, I’ll just pop into the tackle shop and get some more. Only when I got there, they didn’t have any. So instead, I picked up a pint of casters.

That turned out to be a good decision. When I got to the lake, I found that a lot of it was not really fishable, due to the amount of leaves on the surface making getting a clean cast very difficult. However, I had the water to myself and the far end of the lake was clear of leaves, so I settled in there. Setting up my usual float rig, with double caster on the hook, and feeding small amounts of caster and pellets, it was a while before there was any sign of fish.

Apart from a couple of “dibbbers” the float remained largely motionless for about 90 minutes, until suddenly the float disappeared rapidly, and I found myself playing a carp that was heading at great speed for a rush bed. I managed to turn it, and get things under a degree of control, but there was plenty of to-ing and fro-ing from the fish before I could net it. It was a lovely looking common carp of 6.03.

Once the fish had been returned, I cast out again, put the rod in the rests and picked up my phone to text Andy the news, but before I had a chance to start typing, I saw the rod being yanked out of the rest. I grabbed the handle before it disappeared into the lake and found myself attached to a powerful fish. After the initial couple of rushes, I had the fish in front of me, but it was to be several arm-aching minutes before it tired enough to net it. Once on the hooking mat, I thought it may be a double, but the scales settled at 9.13. I wasn’t disappointed though, as it was the biggest fish I’ve had from this venue, and a PB for a float-caught carp – actually, come to think of it, it’s the biggest fish of any species that I’ve caught on a float.

Things went quiet again for the next couple of hours, when the swim suddenly burst into life. Firstly I hooked another carp, but it smashed the hooklink on its first run. Next cast, I hooked a tench, which I had on for a while, until the hook pulled out. This was followed by a bream of about two pounds, and three small rudd. There was still activity in the swim when I had to pack up as the light had faded sufficiently as to not be able to see my float.

A Pleasant Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon, I managed a few hours fishing on a small pond that I’d never fished before. It’s a nice little place, close to the M40, but tucked away in it’s own little spot, and relatively secluded – you wouldn’t really know you’re that close to heavy traffic. As far as stillwaters go, it’s the kind of place I like to fish, small (there’s only about a dozen swims), intimate and well-established. It’s surrounded by trees, there’s lily beds, and several patches of yellow irises. It has the feel of a classic tench water

On arrival, I could see small fish topping all over the place, with the occasional carp surfacing. Following the guidance of my mate Andy, who’s fished it a few times, I set up in a swim with a nice lily patch to one side, fishing sweetcorn under a float, in about 3 feet of water. I didn’t have to fish too far out and a gentle cast was all that was needed to get the float in place.

I was soon getting small bites, most of which I missed, but did eventually hook a skimmer bream. Another soon followed. Then I had two “sail-away” bites in quick succession which I somehow didn’t connect with. A third bite followed, and this time I did connect with a small but very lively tench that may have gone two pounds on a good day. I was very pleased with this, as it’s the first tench I’ve caught in around twenty years (not that I’ve fished for them much in that time).

By now, there were a least three carp active in the margins of my swim, two of them right at my feet, bumping the lilies about. But getting them to take a bait was not easy. I’d started fishing more or less off the rod-top to see if I could get one, but the first bite I hooked was a small rudd. It may not have been the intended target, but it was still very welcome, as – like the tench – it had been many years since I’d last caught one, and they are a beautiful fish.

A few minutes after returning the rudd, the float suddenly shot away with the speed of an express train, and I found myself attached to a carp, which had buried itself in the lilies before I had a chance to do anything about it. However, with steady pressure, I was able to gradually pull it back out into open water. A lively fight followed, and although the fish didn’t take any line off the clutch, it was dashing back and forth, and it took me several minutes to net it. A quick weigh showed it to go 7.04.

Carp, 7.04, Hillwood Pond

The commotion created while landing the fish caused the swim to go quiet for a while, although a carp did eventually start rooting around again in the lilies at my feet. All I managed to catch after that was a small roach-bream hybrid. But that was six fish with five different species in the afternoon, so I was well pleased with my efforts. Needless to say (as someone once said) I’ll be back.

Andy had turned up not long after I’d had the carp, and he set up in the adjoining swim. I had to leave around 7 o’clock, but I later heard that he’d had four tench and 2 carp, so he also had a short but productive session.

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