Location, location, location! After banging on about it at regular intervals, you'd have thought by now that I'd have learned my lesson, regarding the paramount importance of locating fish before committing to a peg. Clearly, I haven't, because I ignored my own advice and fell headlong into the trap of electing a peg long before I reached Wetlands this week. Consequently the specimen lake gave me a right good hiding (to quote one of Richard's favourite sayings). Worse still, I blatantly ignored the advice of Dean and Dave, who pointed me in the direction of peg 2, on account of it's recent good form. More of that later, but first some thoughts about anthropomorphism.
Anthropomorphism (according to Wikipedia) is the attribution of human form or other characteristics to beings other than humans, particularly deities and animals - in this case I'm thinking of fish, or more especially carp. What I have in mind, is the obsession that carp anglers have (me included) of attributing the behaviour of our quarry (in particular their ability to avoid capture) to high levels of intelligence, on par with Albert Einstein who had an IQ of 160+. Of course, there are those in our sport who look dismissively upon such claims, describing carp as simple eating and procreating machines, with zero brain power. Certainly, like most animals they quickly learn by association. You only have to watch the pesky Mallard duck to realise that it soon associates a throwing stick, bait boat, catapult or even a humble fishing rod with an invitation to indulge in a free meal. Invariably, it does so with relentless tenacity at every opportunity. No doubt, if we made a list of reasons why carp avoid a baited hook, it might include the following scenarios: large beds of bait; bright hook baits, strong smelling (over-flavoured) boilies; lines in the water; lead-core leaders, nylon leaders; chod rigs; spherical baits; and so on, ad infinitum. Whether these things do actually cause wariness on behalf of all of the carp in a given lake, or even just a few of them, is for the most part pure conjecture. Maybe we read into our piscatorial exploits more than is merited, and maybe we overcomplicate the situation unnecessarily, but at the end of the day, it's difficult to prove otherwise, so we just soldier on with our heads bursting with all manner of hypotheses. Probably, the success or failure of a session (assuming carp are actually present) is dictated more by the willingness of our target to feed, or not. Thankfully, there are enough occasions when they feed with gay abandon, tantamount to frenzied competition and at such times we might just catch one, or two. And, that's what fuels our sustained interest.
Anyway, having made my way determinedly (or should I say, "pig-headedly") to peg 4 on Monday am, having ignored the advice of my colleagues, I immediately flicked a double dumb-bell hook bait into the near right hand margin and followed it with a handful of matching freebies. I then underarm cast my left hand rod (baited with a Wet Baits 18 mm LG1 boilie) to a spot 20 yards out from the bank, amongst a scattering of similar freebies. At this point Richard arrived on a mini excavator, to dig out the foundations for a wood-built day shelter. Hence it seemed like a good time to do a bit of marker rod work, to find a nice spot for the middle rod at around 40 yards. Eventually I found the edge of the central plateau area, where it drops down from around 3.5 feet depth to approximately 4.5 feet. I gave the spot a good helping of redundant Vortex and Bloodworm 15 mm boilies via bait boat and placed a short combi-rig armed with an 18 mm LG1 on top.
To cut a long story short, I waited, and waited, and waited...... Unfortunately, apart from the attentions of the resident bream, no action transpired. A couple of carp did make a short visit to the right hand bay, encouraged by late afternoon sunshine, but they were soon gone, as were the odd few nomadic surface cruisers who visited the area briefly. Of course, it would be all too easy to blame the lack of carp on Richard's digger activities, but in all honesty his exploits were over and done with in about 30 minutes at the most. The plain fact is, that I had set up on an area devoid of feeding carp and paid the price in full. What made matters worse was that Dave on peg 3 had five takes during the afternoon and the fish concerned seemed to be heading his way from peg 2. Even Dean, who was fishing nearer to me, managed to bag a welcome 16 lb carp early in the day. Just think what might have happened, if I had taken the offered advice and opted to fish peg 2 instead. Oh well! you live and learn! Trouble is, some take longer to learn than others.