The words: "Now follow that" spring to mind, as I begin writing this blog. Those who follow my humble musings will be aware that last week I bagged one of Wetland's 'A-Team', in the shape of Quasi, a magnificent high backed Mirror, that had been introduced into the specimen lake back in November 2015. To some, a 22lb 4oz carp is 'par for the course', but to me her capture was very special indeed and one that I will treasure for the rest of my days. However, that memorable episode carried with it the stark reality, that whatever followed, was more than likely not , going to be some sort of anti-climax. And of course, any carp fishing career inevitably follows a course that is orchestrated by emotional peaks and troughs (sometimes more of the latter than the former), dependant upon one's outlook. Thankfully, I'm more of an optimist than a pessimist, so for me even the most mundane of sessions, is to be valued and enjoyed. Let's face it, it's good to be out on the banks of a stunningly beautiful English lake, surrounded by nature, and immersed in one's thoughts. The same holds true, whatever the outcome, in terms of what might be viewed as piscatorial success or failure.
Anyway, that's enough philosophy for now, let's return to the plot. For some strange reason, when a carp angler has had a bit of a bonanza, there's an innate tendency to try to milk it for all it's worth on the very next outing. And so, this week, I made what was probably a classic 'schoolboy error' by going straight back into peg 7, in a misguided attempt to repeat last week's triumph. Regrettably, I drove nonchalantly past peg 5, where a significant percentage of the lake's population were happily tearing up the bottom, in a vigorous feeding frenzy. Fortunately for Corey, who followed me through the gate, this situation didn't go unnoticed and he subsequently reaped the rewards of his observational skills by going on to have a cracking session. Interestingly, he crept into the peg, flicked a bait deftly amongst a sea of bubbles (just out from the margin) and was 'away' within seconds. The culprit turned out to be a monster of a carp that went on to 'beat him up' soundly, culminating (sadly) in a hook pull. He later lost an absolute beast of a Common, to another unfortunate hook pull, in a kerfuffle at the net. Nevertheless, he still managed to bag seven carp, all from close range. Top angling, mate!
When I arrived in peg 7, Dave was hurriedly packing away after notching up four carp on the second day of a fragmented session. Shortly afterwards, Lea joined us for a chat (before returning to peg 1). At the time there did seem to be a few carp moving around, in the rear of the main bay. Once my companions had departed, I launched a single hook bait into the most active zone of the main bay and set about putting two rods out to the right hand bay, in like manner to the previous week. Into the corner went a Wet Baits Plum-Ex 16mm dumb-bell, topped with a white 10mm pop-up (attached to a PVA mesh bag of Skretting course pellets soaked in matching, soluble bait dip). The third rod covered the open water area within the right hand bay. Whilst the hook bait was identical to that on the corner rod, it was deliberately fished in a radically different setting. To achieve this, I walked round to causeway at the back of the bay and catapulted around half a kilo of Skretting pellets (a mixture of 2mm, 4mm and 10mm Course pellets and Elite 80 FR pellets) onto an area the size of Transit van. A dozen or so 16mm Plum-Ex boilies were then scattered over the top.
Any thoughts that a quick hit might be in the offing slowly ebbed away as the morning passed without occurrence. Around 1.00 pm several surface cruising carp passed through my area, and even dipped down for a brief feed, but no takes were forthcoming. Around mid afternoon, the brisk blustery wind switched direction (from South Westerly to South Easterly) before dropping altogether, leaving the lake flat calm and somewhat lifeless. I was hoping that my carefully prepared banquet in the right hand bay might eventually draw in a few carp, but after the sixth Bream had been unhooked and transferred to the match lake I was beginning to wring my mucous covered hands in despair. At last, at 4.30 pm, a carp finally joined the party. A fine 13lb 12oz Mirror was duly stopped in it's tracks and prevented from kiting either right (under overhanging trees) or left (around the end of a peninsula), to open my account. Welcome though the Mirror was, it didn't signal the start of a rapid run of captures and I had to wait until 9.35 pm before the right hand bay produced another take. This time though, the culprit just made it around the fishing platform of 7(a). and subsequently became lodged in a submerged branch. Miraculously, I managed to place the rod back in it's rest, walk round to the platform with a landing net, release the 12lb 2oz Mirror by hand and bundle it successfully into the net. Attracted by the sounds of splashing and commotion Richard arrived in time to see a splendid crimson-hued Mirror safely on the cradle. At 11.05 pm, the same rod signaled another take. This time the fight went smoothly, resulting in a 10lb 2oz Mirror. Finally, I was awakened at 03.35 am by one last take from the right hand bay. After, a bleary eyed but none dramatic battle, a 6lb 0oz common was weighed and transferred to the match lake amongst similar sized companions.
And so, at the end of it all, I ended up with a total of four carp up to 13lb 12oz and relished every minute of it. Nevertheless, I couldn't help kicking myself for overlooking the potential merits of peg 5, in my haste to emulate last week's hit in peg 7. Who knows what might have transpired had I followed best practice rather than a mere whim? Oh well, perhaps next week I will learn from my mistakes?