"You have to take the rough with the smooth". Apparently, this old adage was recorded around 1400. The inference is that you have to accept the unpleasant (bitter) parts of a situation along with the pleasant (sweet) parts. No doubt, it all depends on our perspective, as to what defines easy times as opposed to difficult. Certainly, angling has it's ups and downs. Certainly, adversity can bring out the best in us and lead to our improvement. What's more, many of us relish a challenge - it adds to our sense of achievement and worth. To quote Billy Ocean's number 1 hit from 1986; "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!" I suppose a tutorial with the likes of Adam Penning or Ian Russell, might provide the ultimate antidote to a tough angling scenario, but to be honest, I think I'd rather work it out for myself
You'll gather from this, that the fishing at Wetlands has been rather hard going over the last two weeks - so called "scratching times." Even Dean experienced a blank two day session which, quite frankly, is unheard of. Actually though, as I did my obligatory lap of the specimen lake at 7.00 am (and saw precious few signs of carp), I felt strangely invigorated and determined to give it my absolute best shot. Bring it on! Given that unbroken sunshine and a flat calm lake surface had characterised the weekend, I figured that my best chance of catching might be in peg 4, where there is a choice of a shallow bay to the right and deeper water out front. Additionally, around 60% of the lake is visible from the corner viewpoint.
This time though (having learned the hard way two weeks earlier), I made sure to place my bivvy holdall on the peg to reserve it, before doing any further reconnaissance. With marker rod in hand, I made my way round to adjacent peg 5 (recently vacated by Dave) intending to pin-point my favourite LHS hot-spot, so that I could clock it from peg 4. It's interesting what you can learn with a marker rod, and not just in terms of depths and lake topography. When I walked back round to peg 4 and viewed the blatant orange marker tip from that viewpoint, I was staggered to see that it was only a short underarm cast out from the bank; in fact it was very much further into peg 4 territory than I had previously thought. It just goes to show how deceptive distance can be, especially when you observe a given location from differing angles and positions. Mmm! What a revelation that turned out to be! Naturally, I made careful note of the new reference point and gave it a good scattering of Odyssey XXX 18 mm boilies, that I'd found lurking in the bottom of my freezer. After casting out a similarly baited 9 inch braided rig (plus the customary PVA mesh bag of Skretting course pellets), I set about sorting out my left and right hand rods. Further use of the marker rod identified a nice hollow spot between the two bars that run in front of the corner bush. This was treated to a single Wet Baits LG1 18 mm boilie (coated in matching paste and liberally drizzled with LG1 dip) on a short combi-rig. My right hand rod, similarly baited was swung out in front of the next position down, a rod length out from the bank. It's close proximity enabled me to throw a few handfuls of Skretting course pellets directly on top of it.
Naturally, I kept an eye on the RHS bay. Eventually a couple of carp drifted in, so not wishing to miss a potential rare opportunity, I wound in my RHS margin rod and re-positioned it in the bay. However, before I did so, I exchanged the boilie for a double tiger nut, just to do something a little different. Fortunately, this paid off at 2.45 pm, when I received a ferocious take, followed by an epic battle. Eventually, a 13 lb 14 oz orange Mirror lay exhausted in my landing net and much to my relief a blank session had been avoided. By late afternoon, it was clear that any carp present in the RHS bay had long since vacated the area, so the successful rod was returned to it's previous margin location and topped up with pellets for the night. I must admit that, based on the previous few days form, I was fully prepared for an uninterrupted night's sleep. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised when the margin rod went into meltdown with a shrill one-toner at 11.15 pm. After another spirited fight, an 11 lb 12 oz Common finally gave in to pressure and visited my cradle. The fish was instantly recognisable as one with a pronounced kinky towards it's tail end, presumably due to some form of historic mishap. Nevertheless, it's fighting ability was in no way lessened by deformity.
I must say that the experience of catching a couple of carp 'against the odds' was particularly thrilling and satisfying. Certainly, it has wetted my appetite for the next piscatorial challenge, whatever the outcome might be.