Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so they say! Certainly, if I had the opportunity to fish this week's session all over again, I would approach it very differently. The problem was that I took a (not unreasonable) gamble that the carp would be stacked up on the end of the strong westerly winds, that were expected to be present for most of Tuesday, before easing overnight and giving way to high pressure and a significant drop in temperature. The re-assurance I derived from seeing a swathe of floating debris lining my near margin proved ill founded. It seems that the carp had opted to move to the back of the wind in the warmer water at that location. Dean and Dek setting up on the opposite side of the lake had got it right. Yet again, I had given way to a hunch, without checking for the presence of carp to confirm or deny its validity. Many would argue that the three most important considerations in carp fishing are location, a good quality bait that the fish want to eat, and a sticky sharp hook. Two out of three, in most cases is not good enough to secure bites, particularly if the location aspect is wrong.
Anyway, the cunning plan that put a splendid 19 lb 8 oz Mirror on the bank last week was deployed once again, in the hope of a repeat performance. My bait boat loaded with a handful of hemp seed and mixed sizes of light brown pellets (including 10 mm Skretting course pellets) was duly dispatched to the far end of the opposite channel. The hook bait consisted of a Korda 12mm beige dumbell pop-up mounted on a Withy Pool rig, attached to a short length of braid and a 3 oz in-line lead. A similar set-up was lowered into the left hand margin and equivalent loose feed applied by hand. The third rod, equipped with a snowman set-up was cast 40 yards out towards the Sandbank peg, among a scattering of boilies and later transferred to a point 20 yards out towards peg 2.
Whilst awaiting action I amused myself in various ways. Firstly, I could just see Dean's bivvy through a gap in the trees and I was utterly amazed at his attention to house-keeping detail. The bivvy was erected so precisely that not a crease ruffled its ultra smooth surface and the doormat was placed with meticulous accuracy, before being swept clean of all particulate matter. The thing that impressed me most though, was the sheer number of times Dean went in and out of his bivvy door. After counting 50 or 60 such excursions, my head was in such a spin that I could no longer continue the exercise. I have absolutely no idea why Dean needs to enter and leave his carp hotel with such frequency, but whatever it is, it seems to boost his catch rate. It would have made a wonderful Benny Hill style, high speed movie.
Once I had come to terms with the fact that Mrs A had forgotten to put the usual 2 chocolate muffins into my pack-up, plus forgiven her for redeeming my last remaining John Lewis tea and cake voucher, I resigned myself to a less than perfect day in which my dreams and aspirations might not be satisfied. After practicing drum rudiments for most of the otherwise uneventful afternoon and having a brief late evening chat with Richard, I finally retired to the warmth of my sleeping bag. Sadly, nothing occurred to rouse me from my slumbers (apart from the need to empty my bladder twice - it's my age!) and I eventually awoke to a completely different scenario - I emerged to see a flat calm lake surface and a clear blue sky. What a contrast to the wild, windy and wet day that had preceeded it! Richard raised my otherwise dampened spirits when he delivered my double egg sandwich - what a star! However, the journey home was marred by a high level of discomfort. I had failed to notice that when the portable toilet had been emptied earlier that morning, some sticky brown material had leaked onto the ground near my car and unfortunately, I drove right through it as I turned towards the exit road. Initially, I thought that local farmers had been spraying manure onto their land, but when the pungent odour was still present on the M18, the penny finally dropped.
So that's it then, a blank session, in a period that was not without its share of drama. Hopefully next week will be a little more productive.