24 Hr Session, Peg 4 The Sandbank - Monday 21/12 to 22/12.
I absolutely must tell you about an unfortunate angling accident that I experienced last week. Oddly enough, it occurred not on the banks of Wetlands, but in my garage of all places. But first, I turn to the subject of the three large Mirrors that were released into the specimen lake on Wednesday 25th November. Of particular interest, is why none of them has thus far slipped up. Various possible reasons have been suggested, as to why three naïve fish, raised on pellets, have evaded capture. One theory is that the unseasonably warm autumn has enabled the natural food stocks to last much longer than is normally the case, in autumn. Certainly, copious amounts of bright green, aquatic weed is still present along with the invertebrates and other life forms it supports. It may be that the new recruits (a fast growing strain) are particularly aggressive feeders, able to dominate the lake and have their fill of prime pickings, such that anglers bait is of little interest to them. Another theory is that carp are somehow able to learn caution from each other, simply by observing the fearful reaction of more experienced carp to anglers bait and tackle. As usual, we can only surmise, but definitive answers are hard to come by.
Anyway, back to where it all began on Monday morning, with me settling into peg 4 for a 24 hour session. Initially a strong and gusty southwesterly wind was pushing into the right hand corner of the lake and the sky was clear. However, dark clouds were gathering on the horizon and the forecast rain arrived within minutes of getting the bivvy erected. By mid afternoon, the sky cleared once again and the wind veered round, becoming more of a southerly gale, that threatened to rip my carp home from the ground. The sandbank peg is notorious for having soft soil, but fortunately, my 12 inch tent pegs held firm. Later, the wind direction changed back to a southwesterly and heavy rainfall once more provided a pitter-patter assault upon my canvas cocoon.
My tactics for the session were very similar to those deployed successfully by Dave, two days before. The left hand rod, bearing a Wet Baits 18 mm banana/maple boilie (with added black foam for buoyancy) was cast around 20 yards, to a deeper spot, just the other side of a bar. As usual, a PVA mesh bag of Skretting course pellets was attached to the hook for added attraction and tangle resistance. Every half hour or so, I catapulted a dozen, or so free baits onto the spot, to steadily build up the amount of bait in the area. My middle rod was simply underarm cast 10 yards out from the margin, but the hook bait and baiting strategy were identical. This was also the case with my right hand rod, although this time M3C was the boilie of choice. It was cast around 40 yards to the sloping area in front of the mini islands between peg 4 and 5.
Even though I had an uninterrupted view of at least 70% of the lake from my position, I didn't see any sign of carp movement throughout the session. I did receive regular single bleeps on all rods, but these were most probably caused by bream activity and gusts of wind. Another angler joined me on the bank at daybreak on Tuesday morning, in the hope of spotting the same frenzied fish shows that peppered the lake over the preceding weekend. Apparently, carp had leapt with gay abandon (from 8.00 am until 8.30 am, and then from 2.00 pm until 2.30 pm), both on Saturday and Sunday. Strangely, only Dave had benefited from the activity, in the shape of a couple of captures, including a nice 17 pounder. It seems that the exaggerated fish shows were a bit of a one-off scenario, not to be repeated this week, or at least, not whilst I was in residence. The lack of sightings, convinced my companion to postpone fishing until another day, preferably when he felt more inspired. Perhaps I should have adopted the same approach? You would have thought that such conditions were ideal for catching, but perhaps the rapid sequence of wind and atmospheric changes was unsettling to the fish. Inevitably, the eventual outcome was a disappointing blank. I had hoped that my last session before a two week holiday in China might be a productive one, but that was not to be. Hence, I'll be itching to reverse the trend upon my return.
Finally, the tale of my angling mishap. Like many men, I look upon my garage as a special kind of sanctuary, where I spend many happy hours engaged in fascinating projects, surrounded by tools and carp tackle. On the far wall, a horizontally secured ladder provides a platform for numerous carp leads, arranged sequentially according to shape and weight. Above that (approximately 6.5 feet above the floor), is a shelf, whose outer edge is studded with pins. Dangling from the pins is a series of demonstration hook-links that I regularly refer to, and endlessly tweak. Recently, one of my projects required that I rummage in my tool box for a hammer. Now, the tool box concerned, rests on a work surface directly below the aforementioned shelf and having, found said hammer, I stepped triumphantly backwards ready to get stuck in. Unfortunately, as my head moved away from the wall, a hook-link skated across the back of my right ear and gained purchase 1 cm from the tip. The size 6, long shank, barbed hook pieced the thin skin and came clean through to the other side. It hung there menacingly, like a piece of African warriors jewelry. I tried not to panic, even though the barb prevented me from retracting the hook. After a moments consideration, I found some wire cutters, stood in front of the cloakroom mirror and carefully cut off the bend of the hook, enabling me to withdraw it backwards. After cleaning up the blood, I consoled myself with the fact that at least I had saved the cost of a body piercing. You might know that my wife attributed it to carp style revenge.