The joys of a hot, sunny, June day may seem like a distant and utopian dream, when viewed from the perspective of a freezing cold winter's day. Yet, when the dream finally manifests itself in the present, the reality of it all is not always what we might imagine it to be. Motionless indicators, are all too often a symptom of the summer season, as we retreat into the welcome shade of a nearby tree, strip down to the shorts and T shirt (at least we would if we'd remembered to bring them!) and sweat out the wait, as we eagerly await the relative cool of the evening and the prospect of a night time bite. Sometimes, it seems that the only animals that are not lulled into a state of heat induced dormancy are the ubiquitous wildfowl that continue to seek out our baited areas with pin-point accuracy and consume it with unabated voracity.
Well, this week peg 7 appeared to be a decent choice, given the predicted hot conditions, relatively shallow water, availability of tree cover and more importantly the odd sighting of a carp or two. What's more, I had it in mind to have a brief, evening spell on the match lake to try out a recently acquired birthday present, namely a purpose designed, float fishing rod, but more of that later.
Last week I'd spent much of the day, casting at regular intervals to every known productive spot in the swim, in the hope of finding feeding carp, but at the end of it all, I had nothing to show for my endeavours, other than thrashing the water to a foam and probably reducing the chance of a take, into the bargain. Therefore, I was determined to take things a little easier this time, by finding decent spots and sticking with them for the duration of the day. The plan was fine in theory, but of course the ducks, coots and geese had other ideas, which made it necessary to re-cast the bait and loose feed at frequent intervals. Nevertheless, I stuck with the general game plan, as much as I could, grateful that Richard had arrived with a fresh stock of Wet Baits Liver and Garlic boilies, plus some new Cranberry ones to try . Hence one rod was fished to the RHS corner point, on the fringe of the leafy canopy; the middle rod covered the back of the main bay, just in front of "mushroom island"; and the third rod was used to flick a bait into the LHS channel, close to the cut-through from peg 6. In each case an 8 inch combi-rig was baited with double 18 mm boilies and attached to a PVA mesh bag of Skretting pellets (pre-dipped in matching, soluble bait soak). Loose feed was in the form of a dozen, or so boilies, delivered by catapult. Each rod was initially clipped up and the line marked with fluorescent varnish, to make it easier to find the exact spot, next time round.
By 5.00 pm, all I had to show for my efforts was severe sun burn (to an unintentionally uncovered part of my neck) and profuse sweating. So, without further ado, it was time for my gleefully anticipated spell on the match lake, where the winning weight for the day's match had been around 145 lbs. By 6.00 pm I was set up in peg 31, which has an extended metal platform jutting about 10 feet into the lake. The new float rod is spooled up with 15 lb line (specimen lake rules), so I simply added a crystal float and an 18 inch mono hook link (Drennan double strength 10 lb mono) attached to a size 8 hook bearing an 1/2 inch barrel of Pepperami. The latter had been dipped in Skretting soluble bait soak and coated in shrimp flakes. The float, which had been set to fish 3 inches over depth, was lowered stealthily off the end of the platform, so that it hovered enticingly below the rod tip. Even as I was doing my preparations, carp were visibly cruising beneath my feet, churning up bait left over from the match. A few handfuls of Skretting pellets were dropped tidily around the float and I waited with baited breath. Ten minutes later, as vortices erupted around the float, it gently slid below the surface and I struck into solid resistance. And then, as is usually the case with margin float fishing, all hell broke loose, as an angry carp hurtled off at a high rate of knots. An what an energetic little fellow he proved to be. What's more, playing an 8 lb 4 oz Common on a through-action 2 lb TC rod was an absolute pleasure. Fifteen minutes later a lovely 9 lb 14 oz Linear repeated the experience, followed thirty minutes later by an 11 lb 12 oz Mirror, then twenty five minutes later a 10 lb 0 oz Mirror. At fifteen minute intervals after that, a 9 lb 2 oz Common and an 11 lb 8 oz Common joined the party. Subsequently, all went quiet for an hour until a 5 lb 10 oz Common finished off the proceedings with another lively battle. My goodness, I enjoyed that little flutter on the match lake and the new rod performed impeccably.
Much refreshed from my period of self indulgence, I returned to the task of catching from the session lake. All three rods were cast at the first attempt onto their previous spots and I baited up for the night, hoping that the wildfowl would leave me alone this time. As the light faded, I sat watching the water, enjoying the cool of the evening and eventually retired to my bivvy for the night. At 1.00 am the RHS corner rod signalled a take that had me scurrying rapidly out onto the bank. Unfortunately, the culprit found a submerged branch, which it somehow managed to substitute for itself. To my relief, after unhooking the unwanted object, I managed to re-cast the re-baited rod precisely onto the target, without any disasters and at 2.00 am I had another take. This time an 11 lb 4 oz Mirror was safely netted, in spite of attempting to make it into every known snag within a 40 yard radius. Similarly, at 5.30 am a lively Common was banked, after a surprisingly drawn out battle.
Without doubt, I had a great time this week with 7 carp caught from the match lake and 2 from the session lake. Even though the biggest fish (surprisingly, from the match lake) was 11 lb 8 oz, every fish put up a highly spirited fight, that was a thrill to experience. Oh what joy!