This week I was unable to fish my usual Monday session, due to band commitments (a group curry night is very hard to resist). Hence I arrived early on Tuesday morning, wondering if the hot weather would continue (actually, it was only slightly cooler), and also whether the school holidays would bring increased junior angling pressure. As it happens, I came through the gates to find no anglers in overnight residence and myself in pole position for the day.
I made a fairly hurried assessment of the lake and concluded that the Hide and Sand Bank pegs seemed to have most fish movement in front of them. It was a close decision, but in the end I opted for the Sandbank peg, as there was jacuzzi-like fizzing present, as well as a bit of surface cruising. In contrast, the Hide peg featured only bow waves. In hindsight, my thinking was probably flawed - I've since come to the conclusion that the fizzing in front of Peg 4 is most probably caused by carp feeding on blood-worm beds and there's good evidence to suggest that they get so preoccupied with such activity, that anglers baits don't hold a lot of attraction to them.
When three junior anglers subsequently spread themselves across the Hide peg and began catching steadily throughout the day, my suspicions were confirmed. Apparently, one lad caught 8 and lost several, another caught 6 (up to 16 lbs) and also lost a few, whereas the third (in the corner nearest the Sand Bank) lost one and blanked. In my case, the daytime proved considerably less productive than my nearby company. Nothing occurred until 10.05 am, when a screaming take ended with a carp falling off. When I reeled-in the reason was immediately apparent - the hook had become entangled in the hair and was firmly held upside-down. Mmmm! Not a good start! Eventually, at 5.30 pm I opened my account with a 10 lb Common from 45 yards out in open water and followed that at 8.15 pm with a 10 lb Mirror from the same place. 15 minutes later, another rapid take ended in disaster, when my back-lead wrapped itself around the rod tip and my frantic attempts to free the constriction gave my adversary sufficient slack line to shed the hook. At 9.30 pm, a 12 lb 4 oz Mirror (from the RHS spot at 45 yds) greeted my landing net, after going crazy close-in. Another carp was lost at 10.20 pm, when it found an underwater obstruction and pinged-off, even though the lead had discharged successfully. After that, things proceeded fairly smoothly throughout the night, with four more carp landed. The last (and largest) carp was a hard fighting grey Mirror of 15 lb 4 oz at 6.00 am.
Here is the captures log:
[10.05 am - Lost carp (hook inverted)]
5.30 pm - 10 lb 0 oz Common (Centre @ 45 yds).
8.15 pm - 10 lb Mirror (ditto).
[8.30 pm - Lost carp (back-lead jammed)].
9.30 pm - 12 lb 4 oz Mirror (RHS @ 45 yds).
[10.20 pm - Lost carp (underwater debris)].
00.50 am - 11 lb 8 oz Mirror (Centre @ 45 yds).
04.00 am - 11 lb 2 oz Mirror (ditto).
05.10 am - 13 lb 0 oz Common (ditto).
06.00 am - 15 lb 4 oz Mirror (ditto).
Strangely enough, nearly all of the fish successfully banked came from the same location. Also, in spite of a rather slow daytime catch rate, things improved from 5.30 pm onward, thus suggesting that Peg 4 is much more productive at night. Maybe the carp are less inclined to feed on anglers baits in open water during daylight hours, preferring to feed near the safety of the snag-ridden central areas until evening (the exception being blood-worm beds and other naturals, which are deemed to be safe all day). My final tally was 7 caught and 3 lost, which wasn't too bad in the end, thankfully.
Incidentally, I hear that Dave Lane (in direct competition with a list of top anglers, including Pecky and Paul Forward) has bagged the Burghfield Common. Whatever it is that that man has, I could certainly do with a bit of it , to aid me in my quest for the big orange Koi, or that elusive 30 lb monster.