In my last blog, I shared a few thoughts about my attempts to nudge statistics in my favour, by the accumulative effect of adding up as many helpful tactics and precautions as possible. One thing I didn't mention though, is that I always combine this with an effort to maximize my fishing time. As long as a rod is in the water, there's always a chance of a take. It goes without saying therefore, that the first thing I do after settling in a swim (apart from readying a landing net and carp cradle) is to get the rods out. Furthermore, the last thing I do, is to bring them in again, after packing up everything else, except the essential landing gear. To push the concept even harder, I try to work out which rod positions are most likely to get a bite and extend their time in the water by sequencing their casting and retrieval, accordingly. Naturally, unless I'm fishing 'locked-up', the rod rests and indicators are put away before the rods. I've lost count of the number of times I've had a last minute take (indicated by a spinning clutch), whilst a rod is lying on the ground. Moreover, it's not unusual for me to have a take before the bite alarm has been activated. Perhaps I ought to temper this with a word about stealth. In my experience, by creeping quietly onto the bank initially, it's sometimes possible to nick a couple of fish quickly, (before they become alerted to the presence of an angler and put up their guard, or do the off). Sometimes, it's actually better to fish just one rod in the water in the critical early period to avoid undue commotion. Reduced casting and fewer lines in the water means less disturbance.
Anyway, back to the plot, or in this case peg 6. After the obligatory Monday morning circuit of Wetlands specimen lake, I opted for the swim on the basis that most fish activity seemed to be present in 5 and 6. What's more, if no other anglers are present, 6 gives access to much of the NW corner of the lake. Last week, whilst fishing peg 5, I'd had a quick result from the end of the island peninsula (that juts out from the west bank). The spot is equally accessible from peg 6, so I wasted no time in committing a rod to the same area. Baiting, was minimal, comprising two Wet Baits LG0 dumb-bells attached to the customary PVA mesh bag of Skretting course pellets. The latter are pre-soaked in matching soluble bait dip, which I'm confident helps to draw carp into the area. A second rod was used to put a similarly baited rig down the left hand tree line, just short of the aforementioned peninsula and about 10 feet out from the stinky silt that occupies the margin. Rod number three was launched towards the area in front of the snags, to a point where a carp crashed out only minutes earlier. This time the hook bait consisted of a Wet Baits 18 mm M3C boilie, plus 12 mm Milky Toffee pop-up, snowman style.
As it happens, three P's are relevant to this week's session, and I don't mean the ones I needed in the night, (after overdosing on coffee made with my recently acquired brew kit). Actually, the P's all represent the same word, namely; "pressure". JK Angling had hired the specimen lake for a 48 hr match over the weekend, so every peg had been occupied and under constant angling "pressure". Apparently, it had been slow going, but most competitors managed the odd carp, the biggest being a fine 20lb 8oz specimen. Consequently, I expected conditions to be a bit tough for me, following immediately afterwards. The second "P" stands for "pressure" of the barometric kind. The weather forecast predicted a significant drop in air pressure overnight, so I was hopeful that it might stimulate the carp into a bit of a feed-up. Only time would tell. The third "P" is to do with the fact that most carp anglers feel under some "pressure" to catch. Undoubtedly, there is a noticeable easing of tension, once that first carp greets the spreader block. Much to my delight, that magical milestone was reached at 09.55 am, when the peninsula rod, signaled a jittery take. In almost a carbon copy of the previous week, I found myself in an intense and prolonged battle with a 13lb 8oz Mirror, that refused to give up, until every last ounce of energy had been expended. On the bank, my worthy opponent displayed a distinct orange hue, as deep as the yellow tint, that graced last week's 10.00 am Mirror. A strange coincidence!
After this early burst of activity, proceedings slowed considerably and the day drifted slowly on. Before I knew it, I was re-doing the rods, before full darkness descended around 7.00 pm. I finally retired to the comfort of my sleeping bag around 10.00 pm, just as the sporadic showers, that had punctuated the day, morphed into relentless heavy rainfall. Hence, at 02.10 am, when my 'front of snag' rod went into meltdown, I had to brave the elements to deal with the scenario. Fortunately, the fight was a straightforward, rapid affair that resulted in a 15lb 2oz Common. At 06.30 am a hesitant take produced a short lived tussle that ended prematurely, as the hook pulled. To be honest, it could have been a bream, but I didn't get a chance to find out. Still, at least the rain had stopped! Then at 07.50 am, as I was contemplating whether or not to drag myself out of bed, the peninsula rod produced a frantic take, that had me scurrying forth. After a few tense moments, as my opponent tried to get behind the mini islands, I eventually gained full control and slowly eased her into the folds of the waiting net.
At 17lb 6oz on the scales, the Mirror ended a run of three carp, thus concluding a most enjoyable session. Naturally, last week's sadness of losing Stanley, our 15 year old Labrador, is still very much in heart and mind. Nevertheless, I find that sitting alone with my thoughts, in front of a large expanse of water, whilst observing the variety and beauty of nature, and recalling fond memories, is highly therapeutic and a fitting tribute to a wonderful companion.