Ducks! - don't you just love 'em?!? Well, after this session I feel like I would happily wring the necks of those wild & foul things or blast the little blighters to oblivion with a 12 bore shotgun. Just in case anyone from the animal protection league is reading this, perhaps I ought to point out that I wouldn't really take it out on one of those poor, defenceless, Walt Disney hyped, little creatures who are only doing what nature equipped them to do, namely survive and thrive.
Are anglers alone in finding them irritating in the extreme? I'm convinced that on this occasion their bait nicking skills cost me at least two carp captures that otherwise would have been in the bag. But more of that later.
I made the mistake of choosing the Supercast peg again this week, and was spectacularly out-fished by the angler in peg 3, who had 7 or 8 carp in a day session. I chose peg 7 in response to a decent performance last week and because I thought a bit of sunshine might encourage carp to bask in the shallows once again. However, although the day was quite warm for September, the sun never really emerged from a cloud streaked sky and surface activity was reduced by last week's standard. Secondly, the weed growth in the RHS bay area seems to have reached a point where fishing effectiveness is now significantly impaired, even with the use of solid PVA bags to punch baits cleanly on the bottom. Either that, or the fish have had a bit of a hammering from that location by now and have become much more wary. Having said that, I did hook and lose a carp from the RHS bay at 7.45 am, which isn't bad going, but then had to wait until 1.20 pm and 2.35 pm before a couple of Mirrors (12 lb 12 oz and 11 lb 0 oz, respectively) slipped up and slipped into my waiting net. A rod cast 40 yds out into the long bay did nothing for the full session. Rod number 3 started the session in the LHS channel, where it did nothing, and was subsequently moved to the immediate margin, when it became apparent that carp were using it as a patrol route. Regular feeding, eventually encouraged a number of small carp to visit the spot regularly and dig up the bottom for tasty morsels. Unfortunately, several groups of ducks had by now got the same idea and drove me absolutely scatty with their determined and ceaseless thievery. Every time I turned my head away for more than 10 seconds, they would drift back in, or creep up from the side and be bobbing upside down before I knew it. Eventually by around 6.00 pm three carp were tails up, having it big time and the ducks held off at a safe distance. I sat on the edge of my new Daddy Long-legs chair thinking, "Any moment now the rod has just got to burst into life!" And I waited and waited and waited. After what seemed like an hour of agonizing torment, the carp finally drifted away and the ducks shot back in. Imagine my absolute horror when I lifted my rod out, only to discover that the carefully balanced wafter was no longer present. Those thieving, feathered bandits had already crushed and removed the bait without me realizing it, leaving me to sit with racing heart beat and all to no avail! I had been well and truly done over! And that wasn't the end of it. I thought that darkness might bring some relief from their fowl intentions, but not so. After a couple of abortive takes, I did hook a decent carp in the margin at 9.45 pm, but the hook pulled almost immediately. Naturally, I replaced the margin rod and thought I might have another chance during the night. It seems though, that the ducks had other ideas. I was all too aware that they were still making their unwelcome visits during the night. Frustratingly, the battery in my green lazer pen had gone flat, so I reluctantly remained within the folds of my sleeping bag and did my best to deter them by shouting threats and growling with as much gusto as I could muster at silly o'clock in the morning. Needless to say, when I examined the margin rod at first light the bait was absent and the margin absolutely cleared out. So I ended up with a rather shameful 2 caught and 2 lost. Oh the joys of angling! So often we pit our wits not against the carp, but a whole host of other factors seek to frustrate our best efforts. Still, no doubt I'll be back for another dose next week.