This week's session received a massive injection of interest due to the much heralded release last Wednesday, of three new Mirror carp into the specimen lake. The event was witnessed by a small team of excited onlookers, in the shape of Richard, Dave, Dean, Andy, Frances and myself. The three new recruits (fast growing, female Mirrors) weighed in at an impressive 23lbs 6oz, 23lbs 9oz, and 28lbs 0oz. All three were in pristine condition and built like Tyson. They swam off strongly to explore their new environment, but not before we'd taken a few photos and noted their distinguishing marks, for ease of visual recognition in future. Naturally, the lake was closed for a few days thereafter, to allow them to settle in undisturbed. Given that 70 mph winds swept across the lake over the weekend, this was probably a wise move on safety grounds, as well.
I arrived at Wetlands on Monday at 7.00 am, bursting with anticipation, in the knowledge that I would be one of the first anglers to tread the banks of the specimen lake, after the latest residents had been introduced. However, the temperatures had plummeted since the first real frost of the season occurred, just over a week ago, and the weather forecast was for cold, wet conditions for several days to come. Needless to say, I was under no illusion that the situation I faced, was going to be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Nevertheless, I had a cunning plan in mind, that was the best I could muster under the circumstances. I figured that the optimal approach would be based on pellets, bearing in mind that the latest occupants had been raised on them. Hopefully, they would recognise my Skretting course pellets as a safe, familiar food source, and be in the mood for a banquet. I took a gamble on fishing all three rods on the "method", using scalded pellets, molded around a feeder. Choosing a suitable hook bait was considerably less simple. I have every confidence in Wet Bait boilies for normal, day to day use, and was itching to try the new banana and maple winter specials. Unfortunately, I only had standard round ones, and at 18 mm diameter they hardly resembled a 10 mm pellet. Next time I will make sure to obtain some dumb bell shaped ones. Reluctantly, I resorted to Cell dumb bells, which are a good match in terms of size, shape and colour.
Peg choice on this occasion was based entirely on recent form. Apparently, the majority of carp had been showing in pegs 1 and 2. Dave had been introducing feed into pegs 5, 6 and 7 over the weekend, in the hope of drawing them out, so I left him to reap the rewards of his efforts in 6, and without hesitation, settled in peg 1, in the hope that they were still in residence. The idea was to introduce a full bait boat hold of Skretting course pellets to five spots in the open bay area and fish two rods between them. The method feeders would be re-cast at approximately 1 hour intervals to keep fresh bait going in. The third rod, again equipped with a method feeder was cast to the right hand channel over minimal free bait and left undisturbed.
I wish I could say that the scheme worked like a well-oiled machine, but sadly, as we all know so well; "the best laid plans....", and all that! Putting out a decent quantity of bait in the swim was something akin to sounding the dinner gong for my feathered friends. Within minutes, wildfowl from every corner of the lake had joined the feast and in no time at all, I was cleared out good and proper. All I could do, to combat the onslaught, was to continue with the regular task of re-casting method feeders, to ensure that bait (albeit significantly reduced) was continually being introduced. I must say that I appreciated the fact that Richard has installed a wooden shelter on each peg. Without it, my gear and I would have become considerably wetter, in the unrelenting rain. The ability to brew up in the relative dry, protected from the wind, was an added bonus. I must admit that the recent demise of the Capybara (R.I.P), which used to reside in a fenced area behind peg 1, has left me missing him terribly. Resembling a giant (3 feet high) brown guinea pig, his friendly face and demeanor used to keep me amused for hours, in days gone by.
By 4.30 pm, darkness had descended and having re-done the rods for the last time, I retired to my bivvy for an ultra early night. The sound of hammering rain provided background music throughout the night and I eventually awoke to a slightly brighter and drier day. A few bleeps on my middle rod at dawn didn't develop into anything more substantial, nor did a slow pack down provide the hoped for last ditch bite. So, there you have it, a session that began with great expectations, and ended without fulfilling my dreams. But that, of course is what makes carp fishing so addictive. You can bet that I'll be back for more next week, with enthusiasm undiminished.