I'm utterly convinced, that every self respecting carp on our planet is thoroughly schooled in the ancient art of line tangling, from the moment it leaves the fertilised egg. Certainly, the piscatorial equivalent of "Knit with Norbury" must be a No. 1 best seller in every lake and river across the land. Quite simply, if you've never encountered a matted ball of mono-filament, woven with the care and intricacy of the Bayeux Tapestry, then you've never fished for carp. Furthermore, the even more complex art of untangling said convoluted mass, is an essential skill that must be acquired by every carp angler, along with an infinite fund of patience and determination. Alternatively, the inevitable scissors will emerge, rigs will be re-attached to a depleted reel and re-spooling becomes obligatory before the next session. What has sparked this outburst you may wonder? Well, the justification for this unscheduled rant will become clear as you read on.
The weather report for Monday was for a significant drop in temperature and for once it was spot on. The first real frost of the season greeted me as I opened our front door and observed an early morning jogger creeping gingerly up the hill, it being too slippery for her to actually run. Ten minutes later windscreen scraping activities had been completed and I set off, eventually arriving at Wetlands as the sun began to illuminate a most beautiful misty landscape. The lake surface was completely still, with not a ripple to interrupt it's mirror flat surface. Not the best conditions for catching carp. Nevertheless, I settled in peg 5 for the day, as I figured that the drop in temperature might have inspired the carp to take up their winter residence in the deeper water out in front of pegs 4 and 5. Within minutes, my suspicions seemed to be confirmed, as a loud splash emanating from the target area echoed around the lake right. A perfectly formed ring exploded from its epicentre and gently expanded to kiss the margins of the 9.5 acre specimen lake. Without further ado 3 rods were duly dispatched to the zone, one central and the other two about 10 yards either side. The left rod consisted of a PVA bag of 2 mm and 4 mm Skretting pellets, engulfing a 16mm Cell wafter on a 3 inch braided hook-link, whereas the right hand rod sported a Vortex snowman rig on a 9 inch braided hook-link, enhanced by the addition of a golf ball sized PVA bag of identical small pellets. The middle rod was equipped with a 16 mm Essential IB butterfly pop-up on a chod rig. Further, watery disturbances right above my end tackle convinced me that I was definitely on fish but only the odd single bleep broke the silence of the day. At 2.30 pm another carp crashed out good and proper below the distant Willow tree, so I immediately transferred the middle rod to a new spot right on the outer fringe of the tree. From peg 5 this requires a long cast, but as usual my Century FMA 12 footer did the honours with minimal effort.
By 3.00 pm, in spite of my efforts, no action had occurred, so I made the decision to move to the Match lake for the night. This time my bivvy was set up on peg 5. which affords rather more in the way of clearance and level ground, than the pegs on the opposite side. More importantly, it is in line with some mid-lake carp activity, two-thirds of the way down the lake, towards the island. Naturally, one rod (the middle one) was used to cover the mid-lake zone. In this case the Vortex snowman/PVA bag combination was the chosen approach, with a dozen or so boilies spread around with a throwing stick. The other two rods, once again equipped with the PVA bags of pellets and the vertical cell wafters on a short hook-link, were simply under-armed out to match-pole distance in front of adjacent fishing platforms, with no further bait addition. After 5.00 pm, much like the previous week, it was as if a switch had been flicked and regular action commenced. By 3.30 am, tiredness overtook my desire to continue with the repetitive PVA bag tying and I brought my rods in for some much needed sleep.
The catch log reads thus:
5.05 pm - 11 lb 8 oz Mirror (LHS rod, 10 yds/pellets)
5.15 pm - 9 lb 12 oz Common (40 yds/snowman)
7.25 pm - 9 lb 0 oz Mirror (RHS rod, 10yds/pellets)
7.45 pm - 8 lb 4 oz Common (ditto)
9.00 pm - 4 lb 5 oz Common (LHS rod, 10 yds pellets)
9.05 pm - 8 lb 8 oz Mirror (40 yds/snowman)
9.50 pm - 10 lb 6 oz Mirror (ditto)
10.10 pm - 5 lb 6 oz Common (LHS rod, 10 yds/pellets)
10.15 pm - 7 lb 14 oz Mirror (40 yds/snowman)
00.20 am - 9 lb 10 oz Common (RHS rod, 10 yds pellets)
[01.30 am - Lost carp to tangled lines!]
03.05 am - 8 lb 0 oz Mirror (40 yds/snowman)
03.35 am - 9 lb 2 oz Mirror (LHS rod, 10 yds pellets)
You will notice that at 01.30 am a carp was lost to a tangle, but believe me this was no ordinary tangle - it was the mother and father of all tangles. I received what sounded like a jittery take on the middle rod and lifted into an anticipated routine capture. However, as the tip swept upwards, a cacophony of frantic bleeping interrupted the nigh time silence, as all 3 rods joined in the aural assault. Not even the caged monkeys behind the peg (Wetlands is also an animal park) could compete with such a torrent of noise. As quickly as possible the alarms were silenced and the task of retrieving 3 sets of hopelessly entangled end tackle commenced. How on earth a carp had managed to knit 1, pearl 1 with all 3 lines, without giving a single warning bleep is completely beyond me. Of course, by the time I had wound in the last remaining mass of interwoven mono-filament, the offending blighter had made its escape. It took me the best part of an hour and a half to sort out the mess and get fishing again. Even if I'd had six hands to steady the various fixed parts, whilst parting the strands and re-tracing the path of weave, I couldn't have completed the task much sooner. Believe me, I came very close to resorting to scissors at many points in the saga.
So that's it then, 12 carp caught, in the range 4 lb 5 oz to 11 lb 8 oz, with only 1 lost. A productive session, but not without its drama.