Much has happened in the last month since my last blog, not least a spectacular holiday in New York. A visit to the 'Big Apple' for my wife and I is something that had long been planned, but reality far exceeded our expectations, for entirely the wrong reasons. You might know that if yours truly took a trip to Manhattan, it would be marked by some unimaginable circumstance that turned it into a drama. Avid followers of international news will be aware that a NYC terrorist bomb attack hit the headlines at the beginning of our stay. An Afghanistan born man, who had subsequently become an American subject (before spending a year in Pakistan being radicalised), planted two explosive devices in New York. They both involved an ultra powerful explosive compound of the type pioneered in the London bombings. A pipe bomb planted on 23rd Street exploded at 11.00 pm on 18th September, injuring 29 passers by. Later, a pressure cooker bomb planted on 27th Street (the same street as our hotel) was spotted by two homeless people who thieved the duffle bag containing it. Incredibly, they tossed the enclosed pressure cooker aside, and in so doing disconnected the trigger mechanism. Interestingly, a mobile phone remained attached to the wiring, which the police were able to interrogate. Hence, the perpetrator Ahmed Khan Rahami was captured within 24 hours after a shoot out. I must say that my wife and I were so thankful to have been spared any injury as a result of such an evil act.
Other than that, NYC turned out to be a very noisy (sirens wailing continually) and crowded, multicultural city with unhealthy expensive food and soaring sky scrapers. Nevertheless, hearing about 9/11 first hand, from actual survivors of the attack was deeply moving. On a lighter note, Central Park is now safe to visit during the day and there are even anglers present. The most common species found is the large mouth bass. Other species include carp, perch, sunfish, pickerel and even the odd catfish. However, I only observed tiny fish, weighing a few ounces being caught. In contrast, none of the many anglers who lined the banks of the Hudson River appeared to be catching any of the 70 species that call the estuary home, including striped bass, eels and lined sea horses.
Anyway, I was somewhat relieved to arrive safely home in Britain and eager to get fishing at Wetlands once again. And so, on Monday morning after a brief walk around the specimen lake I settled on peg 6 and set up shop. The Ladies Carp Cup, which took place during my absence abroad, had apparently been won by Emily. Her catch had included a couple of larger sized carp, with Timmy's Fish amongst them. Well done Emily! Two other anglers were present on the lake when I arrived, occupying pegs 3 and 5. Peg 3 had produced two carp overnight and peg 5 had produced one, so I was hopeful that I might be in with a reasonable chance. Current lower water levels mean that hitherto productive areas were too shallow to fish effectively, so I selected three likely looking spots in deeper water to target. The left hand rod was deployed a few yards short of the left hand peninsula, the middle rod at the same distance but out towards peg 4. The right hand rod was underarm cast into the deep margin area to the right. The latter received twenty handfuls of Skretting course pellets over Nash Key boilies (I'd run out of Wet Baits and Dave was not around to replenish my stocks). The other two spots received similar treatment but courtesy of my bait boat (a hopper-full in each case).
The day was significantly cooler than of late but the early morning mist eventually gave way to hot sun from a clear blue sky. I understand that the lake had been alive with fish movement the previous day, with carp 'boshing' out all over the place, but that was definitely not the case during my visit. I saw only the occasional tell-tale sign and by 4.15 pm (when the match lake competition sounded "time") no action had occurred. Accordingly, I wound in at 5.00 pm and headed across to the match lake to see how quickly I could put one on the bank. As usual I sat myself down in peg 30 and put one bait at the end of the landing stage (atop a few handfuls of Skretting course pellets)and another in the centre of the lake, accompanied by a PVA bag of the same pellets. At 5.55 pm I received a rapid take from the lake centre, but unfortunately the hook pulled as I bent down to pick up the landing net. Then at 6.05 pm the margin rod tore off, only for another hook pull to rob me of any reward. Finally, at 6.15 pm the margin rod erupted once again, but this time after a very lively battle an energetic 13 lb Mirror kissed the spreader block and the job was done. Needless to say I legged it back to the specimen lake and succeeded in getting all three rods back in position just as darkness descended.
I retired early to the welcome warmth of my five season sleeping bag and was awakened by the noise of nearby agricultural machinery around 6.30 am. Unfortunately, no action had come my way during the night, but at least the short foray to the match lake had put a much appreciated curve in the rod and who knows what next week might hold as our quarry feed up for the approaching winter season?