Last week, I enthusiastically applauded the unpredictable nature of carp fishing and, in not so many words, said; "Bring it on, even if it means the odd blank session." Well, as ever, I should have kept my big mouth (or two typing fingers, in this case), firmly shut. But what is worse, is that reluctantly (to put it mildly) I have had to admit that my dear wife was right and I was wrong! Oh the shame of it! You see Mrs A. had wisely said that Monday, being a Bank holiday, would attract every man and his dog to the lake (making it impossible to get in the peg of my choice) and not only that, but the weather was bound to be highly detrimental to carp hauling. Maybe, the fact that she preferred me to go on Wednesday of this week (to coincide with her planned 'girlie day') had more to do with it, but for whatever reason, her advice turned out to be absolutely spot-on and I should have listened. My excuse was that I prefer to stick to a weekly routine and find changes unsettling (how anal is that!). What's more, it's strange how the odd minor coincidence can make all the difference to the way that things turn out. The railway crossing at Sutton Cum Lound really winds me up - I'm sure it has a personal vendetta against me. Even if I scrutinize it very carefully from the main road (to check that no lights are flashing), do a 0 - 60 mph acceleration that wouldn't be out of place at Brands Hatch, and then charge down the half mile straight like Lewis Hamilton, you can absolutely guarantee that, at the very last second, those amber lights will kick in and the barriers will start to fall, just as I come to screeching and very angry halt. Such was the case on Monday morning, with the result that I was beaten by milliseconds to the Bird Hut Peg and all the other promising pegs had been taken. Only the Car Park and Sand Bank pegs remained, both of which looked lifeless and uninspiring. A quick decision had to be made, and the Sand Bank won by a whisker barb.
And what a 'headbanger' the session turned out to be (a rather wet and cool one, at that!), with me very nearly ending up with 'nothing to declare' in the carp catching stakes. My 3 rods were fanned out in their customary positions (LHS margin, centre 20 yds and RHS 40 yds) and I amused myself in the morning by reading my customary 10 Chapters, eating my lunch early and having a sleep, to make amends for the 5.00 am early start. In the afternoon, I constructed a make-shift snare drum from two plastic bait tubs (stacked one above the other), supporting a hardwood breadboard, with a rubber practice pad perched on top. This time, even though I had no metronome, I had at least remembered to bring my drum sticks, so I was able to practice all 26 drum rudiments until my wrists ached satisfyingly. Thereafter, the 5.00 pm bite time passed without incident, as did the customary 7.00 pm switch on time. To add insult to injury the day angler in peg 6 managed three and the two lads in peg 3 put at least one carp on the bank, so that when Mrs A phoned at 7.00 pm she could justifiably say; "Told you so". Anyway, at 9.30 pm the middle rod finally burst into life and after an unspectacular fight, an 11 lb 10 oz Mirror got to inspect the inside of my weigh sling. And that was it, with no further action to interrupt a sound night's sleep. So that's one caught and none lost. I suppose, on the bright side, I can at least say that my landed to lost ratio was the highest of the season!