OK, so I flouted my 'No fishing without first scouring the lake' rule once again. However, on this occasion, I think I can be excused, as Richard had recently developed a new peg adjacent to peg 7, and I was absolutely itching to give it a go. My thinking, was that there might just be a few unsuspecting carp lurking in those hitherto unreachable spots, who in their naivety might literally be caught off guard. There was a problem though. Dave had already beaten me to it! He was just packing up after spending 3 nights in the new plot, having chalked up a tally of 5 carp. Mmmm! Not ideal, as Wetlands carp soon wise up to angling pressure, and readily 'do the off' after a good hammering. Nevertheless, it was still worth a go and once Dave had removed the last of his kit, I was in there like a ferret up a trouser leg. Given that the new peg occupies a very narrow peninsula and that it is currently devoid of bark chippings, there were inevitable drawbacks to my eagerness, especially as heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon onwards. I had a sneaking suspicion that my new Trakker bivvy would not be returning home in the pristine condition in which it arrived. What's more, I would have to tread very carefully, to avoid slipping down the embankment, when negotiating the 1 foot width of spare (and rather soft) ground on the LHS of the erected bivvy.
Anyway, of more importance is the water that lies in front of the peg. It directly faces the main conduit that runs (via the central islands) from peg 7 on one side of the specimen lake to peg 3 on the other. Moreover, it provides a unique view into the right hand bay area, such that some of the previously secluded parts are now within reach. Naturally, I wasted no time in taking full advantage of the revelation, by bait boating rigs deep into both areas. In each case, the business end consisted of a Wet Baits LG1 18 mm boilie and 12 mm white chocolate pop-up (snowman style), attached to the customary PVA mesh bag of Skretting mixed coarse pellets for added attraction and tangle prevention. I was aware that Dave had already baited up heavily with LG1 boilies, so each payload included only 5 freebies. The third rod was simply underarm cast into the small right hand bay to the right, amidst a similar light scattering of 18 mm boilies.
At 9.00 am, I received a ferocious take on the left hand rod fished to the central channel. I was on it in seconds and found myself in a stalemate position for several moments before my adversary began to ease slowly towards me. Just as I thought I was winning the battle, I felt an unwelcome grating sensation before the tension suddenly lessened. It soon became apparent that the fish had done me, when the kicks subsided and morphed into a dead weight instead. Slowly I hauled towards me what turned out to be a sizeable clump of tree roots. It is oft said that; "Fair exchange is no robbery", but I must say that I was decidedly unhappy with my end of the transaction. The crafty carp certainly got the best end of the bargain.
Although I replaced the eventful rod as quickly and accurately as possible, no further action occurred during daylight hours. After a brief (evening) excursion to the match lake, during which I caught 3 carp (10 lb 10 oz Mirror; 11 lb 2 oz Mirror; and 7 lb 2 oz Common) from right under my feet in the margin, I returned albeit a bit later than intended to the specimen lake. The result was that I ended up re-doing the rods in darkness (the nights have really begun to draw in now!). Consequently, I failed to position them as precisely as I would have liked. One disadvantage of peg 7a, is that the skyline doesn't have many natural markers on it, that can be used to guide critical casts. Hence, it's difficult to negotiate the complex of overhanging trees.
Nevertheless, I must have done a reasonable job, as at 9.00 pm I had a take from the central channel. This time, I managed to steer the culprit back towards me and eventually netted a fine 13 lb 0 oz Common. Later, at 2.25 am, it was the turn of the main bay to give up one of it's residents, in the shape of a 12 lb 2 oz Mirror. A small Bream had me out of bed for an unwelcome venture outside into the rain as daybreak approached, heralding an uncomfortable pack-up job. As expected, the heavy rain made the task of breaking camp much longer and unpleasant than would otherwise be the case. I'm convinced that my bagged bivvy weighed at least twice as much as it did in a dry state and there's enough adhering to it to plant a row of potatoes!
Joking aside, the weather conditions weren't ideal (purely from a human comfort perspective), but in no way did it detract from a pleasing outcome. I gathered from a tour of the lake and subsequent text messages that other anglers present during my session had also fared well. Rob in peg 6 managed a 15 lb 4 oz Common; Pat and his mate had a 16 lb 12 oz Mirror from peg 5 a short time after setting up. Dean and Dec ensconced in peg 3 for a couple of days ended up with 4 between them (up to 17 lb 5 oz) and lost a couple of lumps into the bargain. Afterwards, whilst relaxing in a hot bath, I contemplated the joys of my latest session and planned the next with excited anticipation.