Aside from carp fishing itself, many things in life are unpredictable and long may it be so. Probably, it's a blessing that we don't know everything that life has in store for us, as it's mysterious episodes unfold successively before us. Our rich tapestry of experiences inevitably incorporates a mixture of success and failure, despair and euphoria, loss and gain and many points in between. As in our beloved sport, when the going gets tough and unrewarding, we just have to hold onto those aspects that are solid and dependable, as we plough on with persistence and determination. After a blank session last week, I approached Wetlands with a renewed sense of purpose, hopeful that a productive interlude might put me back on a winning streak. However, as I drove through the massive front gates, I was unprepared for the scene that greeted me. It seems that carp anglers themselves are as unpredictable as their esteemed quarry. Last week I was a sole angler on an empty lake. This week, to my amazement, every single peg apart from one was taken and this was at 7.00 am. Peg selection was no longer a matter of considered choice, so I dropped my gear in peg 2 and had a walk round to catch up on the lake's recent form. Apparently, according to Dave and Rob in peg 5 (down for a 5 day session), the carp had switched on briefly last Friday, but nothing had been caught, since then, in spite of some carp showing in front of their peg over the weekend.
The weather forecast was for continuing high pressure - the cold night would morph into an unusually hot sunny day, followed by another cold night with a strengthening and bitterly cold, easterly breeze. Presumably the sudden influx of anglers was prompted by the predicted daytime high temperatures. Whatever the cause, at one stage an unprecedented (for a Monday) 12 anglers occupied the lake.
It had been a while since I last fished peg 2. A couple of years ago, before peg 1 was opened, peg 2 was an exciting, snag ridden area, which could only realistically be fished if you sat relentlessly on top of 2 "locked up" rods. Action could be 'thick and fast' when the shallow waters it contained, became warmed by a bit of sunshine. However, the residents have long since become wised up to such tactics and are as wary as any where else on the lake. A few weeks ago Rob had exploited a bloodworm bed to the left of the peg and on one occasion caught 3 good doubles, plus lost a veritable monster. He was kind enough to point out the exact hot spot, so clearly my left hand rod would be allocated to that location. My middle rod would take care of the middle channel area, but on the safe, nearside of the opening (the channel itself now belongs to peg 1). My right hand rod would cover the bay area to the right. In each case the hook bait was a double 16mm Wet Baits LG0/KGC combination delivered by bait boat, atop a couple of generous handfuls of Skretting mixed coarse pellets.
By mid day the direct sunshine was so powerful, that my thermal suit, jogging bottoms, two jumpers and a shirt had all been sequentially discarded, leaving me in jeans and a tee shirt. I fully expected to see a few carp cruising along the water's surface, but nothing stirred apart from the odd bream and the customary water fowl. The latter kept me busy throughout the day by repeatedly and comprehensibly clearing out my spots, such that each had to be re-cast and re-baited several times in succession. First it was the Canada geese who raided my right hand spot; then Mallards devastated the middle spot; whereupon two swans discovered my left hand bloodworm area and decimated that too.
Eventually, a glorious sunset signalled the end of daylight hours and I re-did the spots once more for the night. Sadly, the anticipated evening feeding spree didn't materialise and nothing occurred between the sometimes productive 10.00 pm to midnight slot. Furthermore, the 5.30 am daybreak potential bite didn't show up either, except for one of 4 anglers on peg 4, who bagged the only carp to be taken since Friday. So that makes two blank sessions in a row for me. Thankfully, the joys of spring are almost upon us and I can't wait to get amongst a few carp as they wake up from their winter slumbers and begin to feed in earnest for their playtime activities. Nothing beats a bit of covert margin stalking in my book. Bring it on!