For some reason, whenever I have one of those exciting bag-up sessions, that sees me banking several decent carp, the very next session is more often than not, a bit of an anticlimax. I return to the banks a week later hoping for more of the same, but my aspirations are rarely met. In fact, it's almost guaranteed that I will endure a frustrating blank and return home scratching my head in disbelief. Of course, there is a perfectly sound reason why it all tends to go awry on the follow-up visit and it's deeply rooted in human nature. There is within us a very strong temptation to slavishly mimic what we believe to be a successful formula, copying it's precise characteristics in fine detail. The problem, of course, is that in carp fishing, one week is never exactly the same as the next; the conditions are different, the food supply has changed and in all probability the fish have moved to a new location. As has been said many times before, there is no substitute for watercraft, applied rigorously to each and every fishing expedition - the classic "Find them, fed them, catch them" rule.
And so, there are no prizes for guessing what I did on Monday morning upon entering the familiar gates at Wetlands Animal Park? Yes, I headed straight for peg 4, without even bothering to complete a lap of the specimen lake in an attempt to actually find the fish. What's more, I hurriedly prepared my rods and committed them to the same spots that I fished the week before. The left hander covered a spot 40 yards out towards peg 6, the middle rod dealt with a spot 20 yards directly out from the bank and the right hander was launched 30 yards towards the right hand mini islands. I suppose, the one redeeming feature was that the baiting strategy was identical to that used on my previous visit. However, it's one that I have a great deal of confidence in, and I'm more than happy to use it week in, week out. It consisted of Wet Baits M3C Chocolate boilies topped by a Milky Toffee 10mm pop-up (snowman style) attached to a PVA net bag of Skretting 4.5 mm Protec pellets to provide extra attraction and tangle resistance. Each spot received 5 extra free boilies in a close format.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how irresistible a bait might be - if it's in the wrong place (i.e. remote from the fish) it won't catch! Hence, I sat and waited, and waited, and waited. By the time daylight had faded away, I reluctantly admitted to myself that I had blown it good and proper. The most active period of the day, namely sunset, came and went without so much as a few surface rings to display the presence of a carp and I resigned myself to a quiet night. Thankfully, the situation turned out to be rather less bleak than I had anticipated. At 5 minutes past midnight, my middle rod sudden erupted into a full blown, steady run and the culprit had no intention of giving up easily. It contested every inch of its journey to the bank, taking out my other two rods in the process. I succeeded in passing the active rod under one other, but couldn't prevent a 'knit one, pearl one' situation with the remaining rod. In the end, I managed to net the carp together with a bunch of tangled line. To my delight, a lovely scaly Mirror of 16lb 0oz greeted me on the unhooking mat and had its photo taken for good measure. Not surprisingly, it took me quite a while to untangle the crossed lines afterwards and put all three back on their spots. Imagine my surprise when the middle rod was away again only 45 minutes later. This time a 12lb 14oz Mirror was responsible and the fight was considerably more controlled.
So, in the end it all worked out rather well, with two fine Mirrors to add to my catch list. Nevertheless, given my lack of watercraft and application, I didn't feel that I deserved such a result. Ah well, I suppose it works both ways! Roll on next week.