"And now for something completely different" (to quote the 1971 British sketch comedy film based on the television comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus). Well actually, just for a change, (and because I've had a few days away on a computer - free holiday in Whitby) I've opted to relate not one, but two, consecutive sessions on Wetland's Peg 7 in this blog. Separated by a mere seven days, you'd have thought the results would have been virtually comparable, but not so. In fact, there were one or two significant differences between the two sessions that made all the difference. For starters, the weather conditions were far from identical. Session one was characterized by a sudden drop in temperature and periods of heavy, cold rain. By contrast, session two boasted unwavering high temperatures with intermittent sunshine. What's more (and heavily applauded by Dave, who's a bit of a purist), I had forgotten to bring the 12 volt battery for my bait boat on session one.
Tactics, were broadly similar, or at least, as near as possible, given the lack of nautical assistance. Fishing the right hand rod to the corner bay was the main challenge. Certainly, one major advantage of a bait boat is that it enables one to place a bait neatly under overhanging branches without losing half a tackle shop's worth of terminal equipment in the process. Hence, on week one, I had to resort to the time honoured method of clipping up to a measured nine rod lengths distance and gradually inching the business end nearer to the corner bushes. Even so, my casting skills are not sufficiently advanced to put a bait actually underneath the protrusion, so after 15 minutes of effort I had to be content with best endeavours. Another advantage of a bait boat, aside from pinpoint accuracy, is the ability to drop up to half a kilo of loose feed directly onto a tightly defined spot, which is considerably easier than attempting to do the same with a spod rod. Also, you get a more gentle drop than pure casting, such that the lead is less likely to nose dive into deep silt, burying the bait.
The middle rod was destined, on both occasions, to cover the main bay. The principle target, was roughly one rod length away from the centre of so called 'mushroom island'. Baiting up was the key area of compromise. Week 2 differed from week 1, in that I could put out a good wide bed of Skretting mixed course pellets, hopefully to draw carp into the zone. With no such luxury available on week 1, and no spod rod to hand, I relied solely on PVA mesh bags soaked in Skretting soluble bait dip to provide extra attraction around the hook bait.
The left hand rod was reserved for the narrow channel to the left on both occasions, which is reached by a simple underarm cast. Loose feed is also easily scattered by hand. It's also worth mentioning, that I've recently received a supply of Skretting Elite 80 FR pellets which are extremely useful in summer. They have an extended breakdown period and higher oil content, so they usefully extend the period of attraction, whereas the standard course pellets get to work very quickly, but need topping up sooner. Dave at Wet Baits has been busy producing some new flavours for his testers to try out, so week 2 benefitted from the latest Plum and Scopex 16mm (boilie and dumb-bell) products, rather than the tried and tested KGC boilies deployed on week 1.
It seems that the cold rain and temperature plummet experienced during session 1, drove the carp into the deeper water areas away from peg 7. Hence, the only take I received was from a 16lb 2oz Mirror at 10.20 pm, which came from the right hand corner. Nevertheless, the culprit was no slouch in the muscles department and gave me an absolutely thrilling battle that put my tackle and wits under immense pressure. In stark contrast, session 2 witnessed plenty of carp activity and chalked up 7 runs, with each rod participating in the action. Unfortunately, both takes (at 2.30 pm and 5.50 pm, respectively) from the main bay area, resulted in lost fish, due to hook pulls. The right hand rod recorded four takes in all, consisting in a 10lb 10oz Mirror at 1.45 pm, an 11lb 12oz Mirror at 5.00 pm, a lost carp at 6.10 pm, and a night time 6lb 8oz Common at 2.15 am. The left hand rod, fished in the channel, absolutely melted off at 8.15 pm, producing a hard fighting12lb 12oz Mirror, that very nearly made it past the island gateway into peg 6.
So, all in all, session 2 was by far the most productive of the two. In hindsight, I made the wrong decision to fish peg 7 on week 1. Probably, the deeper water in front of peg 4 would have been more lucrative. But having said that, the momentous battle provided by my single 16lb 2oz Mirror made it a memorable and enjoyable session, nonetheless.
In conclusion though, I must take my hat of to Pat who followed me into peg 7 this week. He really showed me how it's done by eclipsing my results good and proper. He engineered an amazing 23 takes over two days, landing 18 of them, including an 18 pounder. Top angling mate!
I understand that Dean, next door in peg 6 also had his share of action, the pinnacle being a belting 22 pounder. Well done mate! It's also worth mentioning that a 'British Army' carp match held at Wetlands over the weekend was won from peg 7 with a catch weight above 100 lbs, topped by Timmy's fish at 28lbs. Congratulations! I wonder what piscatorial delights next week holds?