Recently, my youngest daughter came home with a 1000 piece jigsaw. It was graded as extremely difficult, given that the underlying picture was of a huge shoal of uniform, bright yellow, silver striped tropical fish, with only the subtlest of difference in shading across it's entire width. The intention was that it would provide a wonderful family bonding opportunity. However, much like my current fishing at Wetlands, scant rewards were tinged with large helpings of frustration and despair. As in the jigsaw, pieces that seemed to fit, later proved to be out of place and had thwarted progress, whereas the successful ones were hard earned and few and far between.
So, what are the factors that seem to be in play? Well, the main one is that late summer into autumn has witnessed an unprecedented weed growth at Wetlands, possibly due to an extended supplementary feeding exercise that has had the associated effect of increasing the nutrient levels well beyond previous levels. The weed is of a blanket variety that covers most of the lake bed, with some taller varieties interspersed within it. No doubt the weed has encouraged a massive increase in invertebrates populations, such that the carp have capitalised upon and possibly become preoccupied with natural food sources. Certainly many of the carp caught earlier in the year had packed on weight and were looking rather more rotund than usual. Dean, having done a bit of careful tree-top observation was of the view that the carp were avoiding the weed and using a network of patrol routes around it. He reckoned that by baiting the patrol routes he had just avoided a blank in his last session. However, Dave has recently expended considerable effort in finding three clear spots and fished them for several days without having a bite. Other thoughts are that the weather has been so variable of late, that the the carp have not had time for their swim bladders to adjust to the ever changing air pressures and have gone off the feed. On top of that of course, is the huge increase in popularity of Wetlands that has occurred over the last year or so, with levels of angling pressure way beyond previous measures. Perhaps I should also mention that the water level is well down on it's normal autumn level.
So, as you see, it's all a bit of a puzzle at present. It was into this scenario that I came on Monday morning, hoping that I could crack the code and put at least one carp on the bank. I came armed with various sizes of Skretting pellets, the matching bait dip (which smells awesome) and the fish meal powder that goes with it. I opted to fish peg 7, as it was on the back of a cool wind. I proceeded to place PVA bags of pellets in all the usual spots. The bait in each case was a Korda 16 mm artificial, buoyant pellet soaked in the dip and tied to a short 'Withy Pool' rig. By the end of daylight I had tried just about every possible location within the swim, all to no avail. The only positive sign I had was a carp that swam into my main line and spooked out of the area. The ensuing night was equally uneventful. Dawn was graced with a flat calm lake surface and a thick grey mist that shrouded all but a few tree branches, whose dark forms emerged eerily from it's pervasive blanket. Grey finally succumbed to a wonderful yellow sunrise. If nothing else, it is a privilege to witness nature in all its glory. Richard kindly plied me with a tasty egg and sausage filled bread roll at 8.00 am to lift my flagging spirit and spur me on to plan my next campaign.