Good things come to those who wait, or so they say! The trouble is that these days most of us would rather take the waiting out of wanting and go for immediate results. In a straight contest between delayed gratification and instant rewards, the latter is usually a more attractive proposition. Such was the dilemma that faced me on Monday morning, as I rolled up at Wetlands and considered my options. Should I fish the match lake overnight and be in with a very good chance of putting a few carp on the bank, or should I stick it out on the main lake for the full 24 hours, with only a slim chance of success. The prospect of a sixth blank in a row loomed all too large. However, Richard (the owner), informed me that a couple of anglers had caught the odd carp over the weekend, so there was just a glimmer of hope that finally the specimen lake was regaining some of its previous form. Maybe, my hunch that the fish had moved to the deeper water in front of pegs 4 and 5, would prove true? As I watched the water from the sand bank margin, a carp leapt-out right in the swim, so that settled it and without further ado, I decided to go for it, even to the extent of setting up my bivvy in advance of the night ahead.
What followed was very much a waiting game, the idea being to sit back and watch the water like a hawk, in the hope that the carp would eventually betray their presence and provide me with some target locations. And so, one by one, each of my 3 rods conveyed a hook bait to the site of some freshly observed carpy activity. Rod 1, sporting a PVA bag of Skretting 2mm and 4mm pellets surrounding a popped up Cell dumbell, covered a spot only two rod lengths out from the bank. Rod 2 sent a Krill snowman (attached to a golf-ball-sized PVA mesh bag of Skretting pellets) to a point 40 yards straight out. Rod 3, equipped with an Essential IB snowman and PVA bag of pellets, sent its nutritious cargo to a point 20 yards out and slightly to the left. A light scattering of matching 15mm boilies was put out with a throwing stick in the vicinity of each hook bait and I sat back hoping that I hadn't spooked any carp out of the area.
After a day in which only the odd single bleep was blurted out from the otherwise silent buzzers, I began to pin my hopes on some night time feeding. Richard joined me just as darkness fell, confident that I would have a take during early evening, but sadly his enthusiasm proved ill founded. Before long, the sound of a distant whistle and the frantic shouts of his partner drifted across the lake, indicating that his dinner was on the table (or nearly in the dog)and he hurried off unfulfilled. Out of the blue, at 6.50 pm the rod fished at 40 yards signalled a jittery take and I was in. The culprit didn't feel too large, but unfortunately I never got to weigh it, as it found some underwater object about 20 yards out and the hook pulled. Still at least it proved that fish were in the vicinity and another opportunity might come my way. Accordingly, the rod was re-baited and returned to its former position. Overnight the cold, flat-calm conditions gave way to a slight rise in temperature, with thickening cloud, a light drizzle and a fresh surface ripple. Then at 6.10 am the same rod fished at 40 yards absolutely screamed off. After a protracted fight, a 13 lb 4 oz Mirror entered my landing net at the first time of asking and joined me on the bank for a photo session. It looked glorious in its lovely orange winter colours.
What a relief to have finally broken a tally of 5 successive blanks and put one on the banks of the specimen lake at last. So patience and determination sometimes does have its rewards. I only hope that I won't have to wait as long before the next specimen lake carp visits the banks.