I suppose the term "anorak" is applied most commonly to train spotters, rather than to any other group of like minded hobbyists. A dictionary definition of said condition, would be: "A person obsessively interested in a thing or topic that doesn't seem to warrant such attention." However, it's been pointed out to me, on more than one occasion, that anglers, and in particular, carp anglers display rather more than a tentative nod towards Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, when it comes to practicing their art. Interestingly, my wife worked for many years in schools for children with learning difficulties and it soon became clear that no person is entirely free from one sort of syndrome or another. Some of us may well fit somewhere on the autistic spectrum (certain characteristics are uncomfortably familiar) - it's merely a matter of degree. Sadly, there is a modern tendency to try to normalise odd behaviour by administering medication, but in so doing we may well deprive the world of some of it's most eccentric and valuable characters or even eradicate the genius of a potential Einstein.
Of course a propensity towards O.C.D. has it's disadvantages. Those of us who err in that direction may well find ourselves going through the motions of our carp fishing in exactly the same way, week in, week out, with no deviation away from a rigid formula, hardly acknowledging changing seasons or environment. My session this week was an epiphany of sorts, in that it highlighted the value of doing something entirely different. For a start, I normally fish on a Monday through to Tuesday, for no other reason than the fact that it's a habit I find hard to break. Naturally, that means that I experience a wide range of weather permutations, and it's pot luck as to whether they are favourable for carp catching, or not. This week though, I studied the weather forecasts especially closely and the best conditions were undoubtedly from Wednesday to Thursday. And so, I deliberately threw aside the shackles of habit and re-arranged my schedule to coincide with the most promising 24 hour slot.
Accordingly, I rolled up at Wetlands just after 7.00 am on Wednesday, and headed straight for peg 4, which thankfully was vacant. The air temperature felt reassuringly warm, such that my thermal jacket was soon abandoned. Even better, low pressure and a slight south westerly breeze were in evidence. In recent weeks I have found it much more productive to watch the water very carefully before committing any rods to the lake, only doing so in response to signs of carp presence. After 45 minutes of watching and waiting nothing definite transpired, so I put two rods out to known hot spots, each at 40 yards and continued my vigil. Following on from recent successes using minimal bait, each rod bore a Wet Baits M3C Chocolate 15mm bottom bait topped by a 12mm Milky Toffee pop-up, snowman style. As usual each was enhanced and stabilised by an attached PVA bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets. I limited free baits to 5 per rod in a tight cluster. About 30 minutes later a few bubbles erupted from a spot midway between my other rods, but only about 20 yards out from the bank. Without hesitation, my third rod was dedicated to that precise location and thankfully it landed bang on target, with minimal disturbance.
Clearly, a reactive approach paid dividends, because at 9.30 am the middle rod gave a few bleeps and the indicator jiggled up and down as a carp attempted to shed the hook by shaking it's head. A slightly delayed strike (I thought at first it was a bream) was duly met with firm resistance and after a close-in battle, that had me lifting other rods out of the way, a fine 13lb 14oz Common was netted and sorted. At 11.05 am my right hand rod produced a proper run, but unfortunately the hook pulled within seconds of initiating a fight. Thankfully I only had to wait another 5 minutes before the middle rod went into meltdown, resulting in a 12lb 0oz Mirror. After that the action slowed until 4.40 pm, when the middle rod again did the honours with an energetic full bodied run producing a 14lb 4oz Mirror. This was followed by yet another from the same rod 30 minutes later. My prize this time was a chunky 18lb 6oz Common that gave me a right run around in the shallow marginal water for what seemed like ages, before it finally succumbed to sustained pressure. Amazingly, only 15 minutes later my right hand rod joined the period of activity, yielding a 13lb 6oz Common as darkness closed in and heavy rain commenced.
After the welcome, but intense 45 minute feeding spell, quietness once again descended and I subsequently concluded that the sudden drop in temperature caused by heavy, cold rain had halted the proceedings. An early night was definitely in order, to escape the relentless downpour. Nevertheless, I was summoned from the comfort of my sleeping bag at 9.15 pm by a twitchy take on my middle rod. This time when I lifted into it, a very solid resistance was registered, triggering a heavy carp to set off on an unstoppable run to the right. There was absolutely nothing I could do to slow it down as it headed towards the mini islands near peg 5. To my immense disappointment, I felt a bumping sensation through the line and then the hook pulled. Of course, I will never know what mythical monster was responsible for this brief episode of excitement and ultimate disaster, but such is carp fishing!
Overall though, this proved to be one of my most memorable and productive winter sessions on Wetlands specimen lake, with 5 caught and 2 lost in an astounding 14 hour frenzy. I can't wait for more.