Such is the potential for embarrassment and loss of face, that I hardly dare put finger to keyboard (yes, I'm a one finger typist) and give you the details of my last disastrous session in the "noddy-cast".
You may recall that the opening sentence from my previous blog was something along the lines of; "At last, I seem to have made some progress, in my ongoing attempts to reduce fish losses". Well, that turned out to be words spoken rather too soon, as the carp gained revenge big style and gave me a thorough kicking that will cause flashbacks and pain for the remainder of my angling days.
Basically, I lost 11 (yes, eleven!), carp and only managed to put 5 on the bank.
One of those losses was cataclysmic in the extreme, but I'll leave that one until last. On the positive side, it wasn't all down to the dreaded hook pulls (mercifully, there were only 3 of those, this time), and for those that did occur, underwater debris in the shape of stray twigs seemed to be implicated . Not surprisingly, as soon as you remedy one cause of weakness (in the 'rod tip to hook point' chain), the next weakness is exposed, and so it goes on. Hence, hook-link breakage accounted for only 3 losses. Granted, I tend to use 15 lb b.s. ESP braid for much of my normal fishing (because it's thinner and less intrusive), but two out of the three breakages involved a short length of Nash 'Armour braid' in 25 lb b.s. (the flexible section of a 'combi-rig'). Each broke at the point of connection to the stiff section (i.e. via a miniature ring), so the knot strength may be less than expected, when tied in this way. A further 3 losses occurred when the culprit made it to the safety of a snag. It appears that after our recent bout of snag removal, the fish seemed to have wised up to their new sparse surroundings - they now seem hell-bent on kiting left or right into the only remaining snags, the nano-second they detect that something is amiss.
Behaviour of this kind contributed in some measure to most of the other losses, too. A case in point was a short, afternoon dabble at float fishing sweetcorn in the margin. After 2 bream captures, Mr Carp eventually picked up the bait and set off towards the bank-side, overhanging trees, with such ferocity that the mono-filament draped across my index finger tightened suddenly, and skated across my skin at high velocity, such that the resulting severe "rope burn" caught me by surprise, causing me to relax my grip. Needless to say, a grating sensation followed and the main line parted! A few minutes later a free-floating goose quill float drifted back towards me in a gesture of blatant defiance. The final and most epic carp loss occurred at 5.00 am on Tuesday. I was already in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, when a flurry of bleeps had me scurrying out of the bivvy at high speed. Much to my dismay, the rod fished to the left hand channel was nowhere to be seen. The front rod rest was now twisted a strange angle and the rear one (previously screwed hard into the ground) was lying horizontally on the ground. As I tried to avert a full-blown panic attack, by breathing deeply and scouring the water for any tell-tale signs as to the whereabouts of my missing tackle, my eyes rested upon the last few inches of a rod tip, now jutting out of the water between the two mini islands that border the channel. Needless to say, the boat was launched in double quick time and I was on my way to retrieve said tackle, with a good measure of apprehension still in mind. Fortunately, the rescue went to plan - I retrieved the lot (including the hook-link) and breathed a massive sigh of relief! My Goodness! that rod was locked down solid, with a rubber rear rod gripper and snag ears at the front, so whatever pulled it violently off its perch like that must have been a mighty strong carp! As far as I know there are no cat-fish in the lake, so another mystery unfolds.
Here are details of the 5 carp that did get to see the inside of my landing net:
06.00 pm - 8 lb 14 oz Mirror (40 yds, main bay).
07.25 pm - 12 lb 8 oz Mirror (ditto).
01.15 am - 5 lb 4 oz Mirror (ditto).
02.10 am - 5 lb 0 oz Common (ditto).
03.00 am - 7 lb 2 oz Mirror (LHS Channel).
And here are those that didn't get to lie on my unhooking mat:
09.05 am - Hooklink breakage (40 yds, main bay) - kited right.
09.05 am - Hooklink breakage (20 yds, bay opps) kited left.
02.50 pm - Hook Pull (RHS bay) - kited right.
03.30 pm - Hook Pull (RHS bay) - kited right.
04.00 pm - Lost around LHS peninsula (40 yds, main bay)
06.15 pm - Lost in overhanging trees (RHS bay) - kited right.
08.15 pm - Line breakage (float fishing RHS margin) - kited right.
08.20 pm - Lost around LHS peninsula (40 yds, main bay).
09.50 pm - Hooklink breakage (40 yds, main bay) kited left.
02.35 am - Hook pull (40 yds, main bay) - twig attached.
05.00 am - Rod pulled in! (RHS channel).
That's it for this week then. Hopefully, the damage to my pride will not be wasted and others will learn from my miss-fortune and general incompetency.