What a difference a week can make! I described last week as a bit of a head-banger that came good in the end.Well, this week was a definite "scratching time" and a complete blank was barely avoided, before my allotted time came to it's weary conclusion. I'm not sure what went wrong either - there were definitely fish in front of me, as evidenced by the occasional dorsal fin breaking the flat-calm surface, the sporadic vortex, and in one instance a head that popped above the surface right above my baited patch. One thing's for sure though, the carp didn't seem inclined to have a munch.Daylight hours gave way to darkness, with hardly a single bleep to raise any sense of anticipation. And then, just to worsen matters, two missed opportunities rubbed salt into the wounds. A screaming take around 8.00 pm resulted in no resistance when I lifted into it, and careful examination of the end tackle revealed a hook that was firmly impaled on a boilie. Hmm! the culprit had run off with a bait that had no sting in it's tail! And then, at around midnight, a jittery take also met with no resistance at the business end. Maybe a bream had made it's bid for freedom with just the bait stuck in it's mouth! Who knows? Anyway, whatever the cause, the end result was that it just fuelled my sense of frustration further. At this point the inevitable doubts started to crowd my mind. Were my winter baits too potent, such that the high flavour levels had become off-putting? Or maybe my long 12 inch hook links (designed to sit above silt) were no longer effective?Drastic action was called for, so on one rod, I shortened my hooklink, replaced the bait with 15 mm home-rolled Trigga and opted for a 1 oz lead. Finally, at 4.00 am, the doctored rod burst into life with an energetic run. Unfortunately my bleary eyed state did me no favours; somehow, line got wrapped around the back of the spool on my Shimano and the whole thing jammed solid, with no chance of easily releasing it by removing the spool. There was only one way round it! I dropped the rod to the ground and hand lined the fish into the eagerly awaiting 42 inch net and amazingly swallowed it up at the first attempt. Get in! At 5 lb 2 oz itwasn't the biggest mirror in the lake by a large margin, but at least it had saved my session from what seemed like an inevitable blank.Oh well, that's carp fishing.If every session went perfectly, we would no doubt lose interest, all too quickly!