Inevitably, some sessions are remembered more for what might have been, rather than what the final outcome actually was, and this week was a definite case in point. Oh well, that's carp fishing, and hopefully, I've learned from the experience and as a result, the chance of a major prize, is slightly more attainable, in future. The session was also characterized by the onset of some particularly hot weather, when the prospect of serious spawning loomed large for later in the week.
It all began in customary fashion as I entered the gates of Wetlands, just before 7.00 am on Monday morning. Hardly a cloud graced the blue sky and a hot sultry feel was already present. The Bank Holiday rush had declined, leaving a lake empty of other anglers apart from Dave, fast asleep in peg 7. It seems that orders for Wet Baits boilies have far outstripped his expectations, and keeping up with the rolling and admin blitz, has left him jubilant but exhausted. Hence he had pulled his rods in, in order to get a decent night's sleep, ready to get working on the latest orders. By the time I had done a lap of the specimen lake, he had woken from his slumbers and was already on his mobile phone, talking to customers. He proudly handed me 3 boilies from his latest 'Green Stench' formulation, which contained a complex blend of low level ocean-based products. Crushing one between my fingers confirmed the recipe and I pocketed the remaining 2, intending to try them on a hair, later. Apparently, only 6 carp had been caught over the week, all of them relatively small.
The surface of the lake was flat calm and at least 50% covered in a thick floss of Catkin seeds. It appeared to be completely lifeless, other than in pegs 1 and 2, where the surface was clear and the odd fish induced ripple was visible. Peg 2, seemed to have the most evidence of carp presence, so that was my choice. It also has the advantage of being sheltered from direct sunshine for most of the morning. Once again, I had brought a good supply of red maggots with me, so I ear marked those for the bloodworm bed situated several yards down the left hand margin. A Medusa rig did the honours, with the addition of some plastic imitation maggots to improve longevity. My middle rod, bearing the duo of Green Stench 16mm boilies and a PVA bag of Skretting Course pellets was launched to the entrance of the main channel (opposite). My right hand rod (equipped with dual LG0 16mm boilies) took care of the small island margin to the right. Meanwhile I used my bait boat to ferry out several loads of Skretting pellets into the small right hand bay, to prepare it for later.
At 10.10 am, the middle rod gave a couple of bleeps before tightening. I was on it very quickly and easily able to hold the perpetrator in check, to prevent it from venturing too far past the island featured gateway. After a lively scrap a 10lb 8oz Common hit the spreader block. Thankfully, I was left with one and a half serviceable boilies, allowing me to return the rod to the same spot, with the same bait. At 11.30 am, just as I was in the process of topping up the area with pellets, using my bait boat, the middle rod signaled a rather ferocious take. I dropped the bait boat controller and commenced battle, only to have the rod wrenched powerfully round to the right, spinning me helplessly in the same direction. As I braced myself against the mighty pull of my adversary, the rod took on maximum curve and there was a period of a few seconds of intense stalemate, as I willed the hook to hold. Sadly, the 15lb line eventually succumbed to the immense pressure and snapped suddenly, such that I toppled backwards, leaving me to shake my head in utter disbelief. Without doubt the carp responsible for defeating me on this occasion, was amongst the strongest I have ever encountered. Who knows what might have been the glorious outcome, had I won the battle?
After that traumatic episode, things slowed down considerably, with no more action until 9.35 pm, when a small 6lb 4oz Common snaffled the bait on my right hand rod. Whether, or not the slow-down was due to the lack of any more Green Stench boilies is hard to decide, but maybe it was a significant factor. For once the maggot rig remained untouched by carp until midday when I transferred it to the small pre-baited bay. The scorching hot day passed slowly by, ending in a glorious orange sunset. At 02.30am, it was again the right hand rod (fished to the island margin) that came to life. However, the fish had kited in an arc to the left, wrapping itself around the re-positioned maggot rod. Consequently, I thought it was the latter that was host to a carp. What's more, there was such an almighty tangle on it that I actually landed the carp on the middle rod before realizing what had happened. The fiendish, spaghetti weaving culprit turned out to be an 8lb 4oz Mirror. As you might expect, it took me at least an hour to sort out the tangled aftermath in the dark, such that I struggled to get back to sleep afterwards.
I woke in a hot sweat at 7.30 am and mindful of the bait stealing attributes of the local wildfowl, decided to check the rods. To my amazement, all were completely devoid of any bait and had to be totally re-done before I commenced slow pack-up operations. It was then the turn of the 'small bay' rod (baited with LG0, instead of maggots) to add to the drama. It seems that I had forgotten to switch on the bite alarm, and was alerted to a take by the sound of a tight clutch being forced into rotation. The bobbin shot upwards and was suspended momentarily aloft, before the line parted and pinged backwards, before I had even laid hands on the rod. So, for a second time, I was left to shake my head in forlorn disbelief, as another powerful opponent gave me a sound beating up. So there you have it, a session that produced only three small carp, but which will remain etched in my memory for the rest of my days, on account of the unknown monsters I might have lost. Perhaps next time will be different?