Firstly, I have a bee in my logo-free bonnet that I need to get off my chest-waders. And yes, (you guessed it!), it concerns hooks, or more specifically hook sharpness. Now pardon my scepticism here, but how come, every new hook launched onto the market, is heralded with a cast-iron manufacturers claim that (straight out of the packet) it is the sharpest hook ever produced? Honestly, if hooks were as sharp as they are claimed to be, a special, ultra-high power microscope would need to be invented, to check that each hook has only one single atomic particle at its tip! Utter hype! And what's more, if hooks are so sharp, why do we need all this hook sharpening paraphernalia that's now in vogue. Jim Shelley was one of the first to recommend the practice and I see that even Pecky is at it now, although Chilly remains characteristically unimpressed.
Anyway, now that I've dismounted my hobby horse, I'll get back to the plot. No doubt we all experience those sessions where, from the moment we step onto the bank, we are utterly determined not to make the same old mistakes again. This time, every tiny facet of our art will receive maximum attention to detail. Highest order watercraft will precede optimum peg choice and each hook bait (chosen to be irresistible to every carp that swims) will be placed to within an inch of perfection. And naturally, each hook will be the sharpest known to man, tied to the strongest and most abrasion resistant line/hook-link ever produced. By 8.00 am on Monday morning, I finally settled down in Peg 3 with each of my three rods placed absolutely bang on the money. Nothing could fail this time. At this point, just as I expected to reap the rewards of my considerable efforts, a certain niggling (and, hitherto instantly dismissed) feeling in my lower bowel began to increase. Ten minutes later, what had initially been a vague sensation, had now become a raging necessity. There was nothing else for it, I would have to wind in and make my way post-haste to the nearby portable toilet. Each rod was hurriedly retrieved and flung untidily on the bank, before I set off on what felt like a never-ending and highly uncomfortable journey. I continued at ever increasing pace, with clenched bottom cheeks, until I finally made it and massive relief was eventually mine. And, of course, once that episode was over, I couldn't be bothered with all that pin-point accuracy any more. Each rod was loosely placed in a "that'll do" position, namely; two opposite the Bird Hut, and one down the LHS margin. And then a long wait ensured, during which time I moved one of the Bird Hut rods round to various unconvincing locations, as a 'best endeavours' rover. To while away the time, I carved a drum stick from the straightest 18 inch stick I could find, and practiced drum rudiments with one hand at a time. In fact, it wasn't until 2.45 in the afternoon that anything significant occurred carp-wise. The left hand Bird Hut rod signaled a twitchy take that ended with the fish falling off, within seconds of being hooked. Then, at 3.55 pm the same rod produced the largest carp of the session, in the shape of a 16 lb 2 oz Mirror. True to Wetlands usual form, activity switched on at 5.00 pm, with the capture of a fine 15 lb 8 oz Mirror. This was the first of nine more carp that graced my net up until 2.10 the following morning, when action finally halted.
The captures log reads thus:
[2.45 pm - Hook pull (Channel opps Bird Hut)].
3.55 pm - 16 lb 2 oz Mirror (Channel opps Bird Hut).
5.00 pm - 15 lb 8 oz Mirror (ditto).
5.02 pm - 12 lb 6 oz Common (LHS margin).
6.15 pm - 9 lb 12 oz Mirror (Channel opps Bird Hut).
6.35 pm - 12 lb 2 oz Mirror (LHS 20 yds).
6.37 pm - 9 lb 8 oz Mirror (Channel opps Bird Hut).
8.30 pm - 11 lb 12 oz Common (LHS 20 yds).
[8.45 pm - Abortive Run (LHS margin)]
9.20 pm - 11 lb 2 oz Linear (LHS margin).
[9.30 pm - Abortive Run (LHS margin)].
[9.40 pm - Hook pull @ net (from opps channel)].
[10.10 - Lost carp around mini island].
10.45 pm - Hook pull (from RHS 40 yds).
00.45 am - 13 lb 6 oz Mirror (LHS 20 yds).
[00.47 am - Hook pull @ net (from LHS margin)].
02.10 am - 15.lb 6 oz Common (LHS 20 yds).
An unusual feature of this session was triple, double takes. And, by that I mean I had two carp on at once, no less than three times. Twice, I managed to play one carp into the net (simultaneously tightening the clutch on the other active rod), and then play the second carp into my spare landing net. However, on my third attempt at deploying this tactic (00.45 am), I succeeded in banking a hard fighting 13 lb 6 oz Mirror, and afterwards managed to extricate a somewhat larger specimen from the channel behind Peg 2, where it had sought refuge. But, much to my dismay, once I had it in open water in front of me, it woke up, contorted like a bucking bronco on steroids and the hook pulled! As you might expect, the lost carp felt much larger than any of its predecessors, but hey, that's carp fishing! A final tally of 10 caught, 3 hook pulls, 1 snagged and 2 abortive runs was reasonably satisfying, but there's still much room for improvement in the hooked to landed ratio. That is why, I have now purchased said sharpening kit and have resolved that every hook I cast out will be the sharpest on the planet.