Most of my old school reports have long since been forgotten about, or more likely been permanently blocked out of my mind, to avoid painful flash backs. However, one particular comment will remain forever etched into my memory. It read thus: "Kelvin is a dreamer! He seems to live in a different world from everyone else and needs to learn the art of concentration". Now, I like to think that my teacher got it completely wrong. My powers of concentration were actually highly developed at that age, such that I could
fix my thoughts firmly on more interesting subjects than school work, such as the design and construction of a fishing float. Certainly, the possession of a creative and inquiring mind has it's advantages, but doubtless, it has it's down side. I have come to realise that analysing things to the nth degree, often raises more questions than it answers, such that you end up going round in ever decreasing circles until you virtually disappear up your own back-side. There is a distinct danger of providing endless solutions to non-existent problems, such that complexity and confusion increase exponentially. This is especially true of angling, where ideas and suppositions about the behaviour of our quarry and their reaction to our rigs and strategies abound. It really is a situation where it's possible to be so theoretically minded that we are of no practical use.
Anyway, if you read my previous blog, you will be aware that last week I gave myself a sound talking to and resolved to invest more effort into the basics of finding fish and understanding the lake bed. Pre-conceived peg choice would definitely be completely banned from now on. And so, this week, I turned up at Wetlands, 15 minutes earlier than usual, with the intention of doing at least one lap of the session lake before choosing a swim. Amazingly enough, it all went swimmingly well (if you'll pardon the pun!). I found carp and plenty of them too, in pegs 1 and 2. Their surface furrows and dark shadows were readily visible around islands and snags. What's more, I noticed a couple of carp crash out spectacularly above the silty bowl at the north end of peg 3.
I considered my options a couple of minutes before settling into peg 2. Although, the water level has risen slightly since Richard commissioned a new borehole source, peg 1 is still a bit too shallow to land fish comfortably. Also, Dean was scheduled to arrive later in the morning and I figured that peg 2 might facilitate a bit of a social at some point in the proceedings, or even the odd cheese toastie and a shared brew, or two.
The second firm resolution I had made for this week, was that I would get the marker float out early on, to determine exactly what I might be fishing over. High profile angler Adam Penning reckons that carp in busy day ticket waters, are so accustomed to being bombarded with leads that they are not easily spooked out of areas by plumbing activities. So with renewed confidence I set about the task of exploring the lake bed in front of me and what a revelation it turned out to be. Due to the recent drop in water levels, I found that most of the recognised (in front of snag) hot spots had only about 12 inches water depth available, if that. In fact, depth didn't increase to a more acceptable 2 foot, until a rod length or so away. On the plus side, the bottom was good firm gravel for about 20 feet out from the snags, until mid channel weed and silt appeared. Nowhere had a depth of more than 3 feet.
Accordingly, I placed each of my three hook baits in two feet of water, in locations where fish activity had been noted, namely: towards the back of the right hand bay; a few yards into the central channel; and in front of the left hand snag bushes. A Wet Baits 18 mm Crab-berry boilie duo on an 8 inch combi rig went to the right; a white 15 mm Coconut Cream boilie tandem on a 9 inch braided rig went to the middle; and Hybrid 18 mm boilie pair on a reverse combi rig covered the left. As usual, I attached a golf ball sized PVA bag of Skretting course pellets to each hook, to increase attraction and prevent tangles.
My 'back to basics' approach seemed to pay off handsomely, such that plenty of carpy action ensued and much of it in daylight hours. At 10.10 am the central rod opened my account with a hard fighting 12 lb 4 oz Mirror. At 4.15 pm I lost a decent carp from the same spot when, after a short but intensive tussle, my adversary magically morphed into a large stick. Dean and I pulled our rods in at 6.00 pm to enjoy a feast of a supper, that involved a whole loaf of bread, a large block of cheese and copious sprinklings of extra hot chilli powder. It certainly went down an absolute treat and the rested water seemed even more willing to give up it's treasures as the evening drew in. The middle channel produced a 5 lb 8 oz Common (that battled like something 4 times it's size) within minutes of re-casting, quickly followed by a 9 lb 4 oz Mirror. Finally, the right hand bay came to life, in the shape of a very fine 15 lb 14 oz Common that behaved impeccably on the bank for it's photo call. The central channel produced a 7 lb 6 oz Common as the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and then all went quiet for the night. The silence was not broken until 3.00 am when the right hand bay gave up an 11 lb 10 oz Mirror.
Generally, at night, I re-position all of my rods a bit closer to my own bank, so that they are a more user friendly distance from snags and hazards. On this occasion, the left hand rod was moved completely away from the submerged bushes and placed in a mid-water spot, only an underarm cast away from the bank. At 5.00 am this rod burst into life with a one toner, but unfortunately the hook pulled within seconds. I'd been experimenting with a reverse combi-rig, courtesy of Elliot Gray, but I'm not convinced that I've got the mechanics quite right. As icing on the cake, just as I was about to pull in my rods at the end of the session, I had another frantic take on the middle rod resulting in an absolutely gorgeous scaly Mirror of 10 lb 2 oz.
My Goodness! What an enjoyable session it turned out to be. Great company, delicious food (thanks, Dean) and seven carp banked. Interestingly, most of them fell to white baits. The only fly in the ointment (literally), was my battle with insect life. Swarms of midges had me scratching and flicking at regular intervals throughout the morning and then I had the misfortune to disturb an ants nest with a bank stick. Every now and then an ant would stray in my direction and suddenly appear on my hand or neck - not pleasant, especially as my skin tends to react to ant bites. Overall though, a great session, that could only have been improved by netting 'Big S'. Hopefully, my time will come!