Just recently, I've become increasingly aware that different anglers fish for different reasons. Without doubt, some are total purists, honing their hunting skills in a focussed campaign to capture elusive and highly treasured targets, in a hard-fought contest of man against nature. Others seek only a refuge from the rigours of a stressful life (or, in some cases, wife?) and look to the soothing sights and sounds of nature for calming and escape. Still others look upon carp fishing as the ultimate social occasion where team angling provides friendship and communal adventure. And of course, most of us fish for a combination of these and other reasons (apart from the wife bit, in my case!). For me, the balance has shifted somewhat over the years. Now that I no longer have a stressful job and find myself with more time to devote to our beloved sport, the fishing itself and the achievement of self-imposed targets has taken on a much higher level of importance. Nevertheless, I try to ensure that fishing and for that matter, all my other hobbies are part of a carefully balanced life, in which destructive obsessional behaviour has no part.
Inevitably, our experience of fishing sessions can be greatly affected by events around us, as the ups and downs of life pass by. This week's session was a case in point, given that our much loved black Labrador, became very poorly during the previous week and sadly, following a blood transfusion and unsuccessful medication died at my side on Sunday evening. I buried her in our garden on Monday morning before making my way to Wetlands, for the session. Granted, she was 13 years old and had enjoyed a long and full life, but losing her was unbearably painful and I vowed that if I caught the 31 lb 8 oz recently introduced carp from the specimen lake, I would name her Chloe, after the best carp dog in the world.
My session this week began around midday after having a chat with Dean, who was set up in peg 3. He reported seeing several carp crash out in front of peg 4, so it seemed like a good starting point. Since Sunday, Dean had lost one carp and, just as I started making my way round to peg 4, he hooked and landed a fine orange coloured Mirror of 14 lb 7 oz.
Spurred on by his success, I completed the walk and sat watching the water carefully before committing any rods. After about 20 minutes a surface ring appeared about two rod lengths out from the bank to the right. Without hesitation, I gently under-armed a fruity snowman to the spot, followed by half a dozen Essential IB 15 mm boilies. A short while later a similar ring disturbed the surface at the same distance out from the left bank. This time a coconut cream snowman was delivered to the epicentre accompanied by a light scattering of matching 15 mm boilies. For the third rod, I had it in mind to fish to a standard hot spot, straight out at about 40 yards. The hook bait was to be two 12 mm Vortex boilies, just lifted off the bottom by a 12 mm K.S.C fluorescent yellow pop-up, fished over a decent bed of Skretting mixed pellets. The bait and pellets were duly delivered courtesy of my bait boat and the waiting began.
I must confess that, rather than concentrating on water-craft, my mind was completely pre-occupied with memories of Chloe and an acute sense of loss. Slowly, the afternoon morphed into evening, with nothing to suggest any interest in my hook-baits. Richard appeared after dark and entertained me with all sorts of fascinating anecdotes, thus bringing some relief to my tortured mind. Then at 9.25 pm the middle rod blurted out a couple of bleeps and fell silent. I stared at it, half expecting to see further movement of the bobbin but nothing transpired and I eventually averted my eyes. However, when I looked at it again, a few seconds later, the bobbin was laid flat on the deck. Instinctively, I attempted to take up the slack by rotating the spool. When two turns of the spool made no impression, it was obvious that a significant backdrop had occurred. With a sudden rush of adrenalin, I raised the rod tip and connected with a solid resistance. However, the fish had clearly kited well round to the left, such that the line now passed directly under my left-hand rod. Obligingly, the culprit allowed me to bring it steadily towards me, until calamity struck, in the shape of a twig caught in the mono-filament, which jammed solidly as it met the tip ring. All I could do was begrudgingly give the carp some slack, as I wrestled with the twig and eventually freed it. Much to my amazement, the carp was still on at this stage. I even caught site of it as it tore across the margin in front of me. Richard kindly lifted my left hand rod out of harms way and was about to hand me the landing net when the hook pulled and the carp, probably a reasonable double, was gone!
Had I recognised the drop-back bite, as soon as it had occurred, perhaps the outcome would have been more favourable?
The remainder of the night passed without any action, so it's one to put down as a positive learning experience, if nothing else. Ah well! Perhaps when a major opportunity arises in future, I will be better prepared to make it count?