This week's session contained a rather surprising and very welcome golden nugget, but more of that later. As usual, my carefully engineered plans for the session didn't quite work out as intended. I was hoping to arrive early enough to secure the Bird Hut peg and settle my account with a certain, enormously powerful specimen that 'got away' last week. However, my good wife threw a rather large spanner into the works late on Sunday night, just when I thought everything was nicely in place. It turned out, that she needed our black 'peacock damaged' VW (that's another painful story) to take our grandchildren to and from school/nursery during the day. After much discussion (pleading and emotional blackmail is probably nearer the truth) I conceded to her use of the car in the morning, but persuaded her to use public transport in the afternoon. The end result (railway crossing hold-up included) was that I didn't arrive at Wetlands until 10.30 am. Predictably, the Bird Hut peg was well stitched up by that time, with 3 long stay anglers in residence, yet all other pegs unoccupied. The weather forecast was for high pressure, with a cold and misty start, gradually evolving into a sunny, warm day. I opted for the Supercast peg, in the hope that it's relatively shallow, albeit flat calm water might attract a few cyprinid guests, to warm their backs in the expected sunshine. Much to my delight, as I drew near, three small carp were already doing just that, right in the centre of the RH bay. Naturally, I deposited my gear as quickly and quietly as possible (not easy for someone with corn ridden size 11's like mine) and stealthily flicked out a dumbbell and 10 mm pop up combination on a light lead into the target zone. To my surprise the fish appeared undisturbed. Whilst awaiting a response, I put out two more rods; one at around 40 yds in the long bay, and another at the entrance of the central cut-through. The wait was a little longer than expected, but at 12.30, as I chatted to Dave, the first rod was away. True to form, the hook pulled in the margin and it wasn't until 2.15 pm that further action ensued, when the 40 yd rod produced an 11 lb 4 oz Mirror. Thereafter, the RHS bay kicked into life with five takes between 4.00 pm and 7.40 am the following morning. The large, rather rounded Mirror that I found myself attached to at 7.20 pm made an unscheduled escape by burying itself in the abandoned tree stump right under my feet in the margin. By the time I had donned waders and slipped into the margin it had already disappeared, leaving the hook firmly embedded in a root. Richard, who was on hand to witness the drama, kindly engaged in some impromptu bank side modifications, using the hired excavator that he was operating at the time. The offending tree stump and various other unwelcome protrusions were duly removed. Well done, that man! And now for the golden nugget. At 4.15 am the rod at 40 yds in the long bay that stretches towards the capybara peg signaled a take. After a very spirited fight, I finally peered into my landing net and in the light of my head torch, a truly wondrous sight, greeted my eyes. Picture a perfectly formed Common carp, that is the most vivid yellow/orange colour imaginable and you begin to get the idea. Weighing in at 11 lb 4 oz, it was obviously the smaller of two large Koi carp that are known inhabit Wetlands, but its size detracted nothing from the capture of this amazing creature.
The capture log reads thus:
[12.30 - Lost carp to margin hook-pull]
2.15 pm - 11 lb 4 oz Mirror (40 yds, capybara bay).
4.00 pm - 12 lb 6 oz Mirror (10 yds, RHS bay).
5.35 pm - 13 lb 4 oz Mirror (10 yds, RHS bay).
[7.20 pm - Lost carp under margin tree stump]
2.15 am - 4 lb 0 oz Common (10 yds, RHS bay).
4.15 am - 11 lb 4 oz Orange Koi (40 yds, capybara bay).
7.40 am - 10 lb 4 oz Mirror (10 yds, RHS bay).
So that's 6 banked and 2 lost, with the heaviest being a 13 lb 4 oz Mirror. Without doubt though, the 11 lb 4 oz bar of Koi gold was the most treasured capture of the session. I just need his bigger brother to follow suite and I'll be well made up!