I have to say that this week's session was the most painful I have ever endured! Not because of catastrophic fish losses or poor performance, but quite literally that I was in a state of physical agony. During the preceding week I bent down to get a yoghurt out of our fridge, only for my back to lock up, whilst feeling a searing pain. It was not until two days later, after receiving the attentions of my blonde chiropractor (aptly named Ms J Savage) that I was able to stand up anything like straight. When she said; "If this hurts too much, stop me immediately", I knew I was in for some drastic treatment. The exercise involved laying me sideways on her couch and arranging my uppermost bent knee across the straight one below. Then, whilst bracing my body, she gave the bent knee a sharp thrust downwards, which produced a loud click, as my vertebral column resumed it's more normal alignment. Whilst there was some relief gained from this episode, I was warned that it would take several days to settle down and that I must avoid sitting or bending. By Sunday evening I had convinced myself that I could just about cope with a fishing session provided that I could stand or lie down for 90% of the time. Big mistake! What I had failed to appreciate was that the transition between lying and standing took considerably longer than usual and that the half way up position was particularly painful. The consequences became all too clear, when I received a blistering take at 3.20 am on Tuesday morning. Getting off my bed chair had me groaning in agony and the ensuing battle was played out with me bent almost double. I felt every twist and turn, as if a red hot poker was being ground into my spine. Needless to say that my fighting prowess lacked conviction and the carp, a decent one, but perhaps not huge, was eventually lost.
Anyway, under normal circumstances the session would have been quite a productive one. I chose to fish peg 7, as a warm, sunny day was forecast and I anticipated that there might be one or two carp sun bathing on the surface. And I wasn't disappointed in that respect - by 9.10 am I had already caught one from the RHS bay and lost another from the LHS channel. The blighter just managed to get round the peninsula at the far end and eventually embedded the hook in a tree root. My third rod, placed further out into the bay that communicates with peg 1, also burst into life at 12.45, but I suffered an almost instant cut-off. This has happened before, in exactly the same spot (i.e. a rod length out from the terminal tree lined island), so it seems that a sharp submerged object may be present. Although fish were drifting around on the surface of the RHS bay throughout the day, they proved more elusive than expected. Bubbles regularly disturbed the flat calm surface, right above my hook bait and yet I struggled to induce a take. I eventually came to the conclusion that the rig was getting hung up on aquatic weed, rendering it ineffective. Accordingly, I tried delivering the bait in a solid PVA bag of pellets, in conjunction with a short 3 inch hooklink, but it still took until 6.05 pm before a 14 lb 6oz Mirror made a mistake from that location. In the meantime, at 2.10 pm I caught another Mirror (12 lb 6 oz) from the long bay at 40 yds. I then stealthily moved the LHS channel rod to the margin in front of my feet, as carp were regularly seen cruising along it. This proved to be a wise move - I was fascinated to see a pair of carp come in only seconds after gently lowering the rod. The smaller of the two went straight down onto the bait and then rushed off in panic as the slack line tightened and the clutch purred like a certain member of the Royal Family during a recent conversation with the PM. An 11 lb 2 oz Common was the subsequent prize at 4.00 pm. The same margin spot went on to produce the biggest carp of the session, namely a 17 lb 2 oz Mirror at 10.00 pm, but not before the RHS bay had given up another of it's residents, a lively Mirror of 16 lb 2 oz at 7.20 pm. Mercifully, the night period was comparatively quiet, other than a tiny 6 lb 8 oz Mirror from the 40 yd bay at 00.15 am and the painful fish loss at 3.20 am that has already been mentioned.
The captures log reads thus:
08.50 am - 10 lb 6 oz Mirror (RHS bay 10 yds).
[09.10 am - Lost carp from LHS channel in tree roots]
[12.45 am - Lost carp from 40 yds bay due to cut off]
2.10 pm - 12 lb 6 oz Mirror (40 yds bay).
4.00 pm - 11 lb 2 oz Common (near margin).
6.05 pm - 14 lb 6 oz Mirror (RHS bay 10 yds).
7.20 pm - 16 lb 2 oz Mirror (RHS bay 10 yds).
10.00 pm - 17 lb 2 oz Mirror (near margin).
00.15 am - 6 lb 8 oz Mirror (40 yds bay).
[03.20 - Lost carp from RHS 10 yds - hook pull].
Overall that amounted to 7 caught and 3 lost, although I can't help thinking that I should have caught a lot more than I actually did. Having said that, I must confess to being somewhat relieved that the session wasn't as hectic as it might potentially have been. Also, I am grateful to Richard for plying me with ointment and pain killers, which made the experience much more bearable than it might otherwise have been. Thankfully, I am now on the mend and have even treated myself to a Nash Daddy Long-legs chair. When fully extended it looks a bit like a green commode and reminds me of a care home, but what the heck, if it keeps me angling for a few years longer it's got to be worth the dented pride.
Incidentally, I've been informed of a few more big fish happenings recently. Dave had a rod pulled in twice within 3 days of each other and Dean lost a mahoosive carp at the net. By the law of averages, the statistics have got to fall in our favour some time soon. Just let it be me who reaps the benefit!