According to a recent search I did on Google, 'serendipity' is when someone accidently finds something good. Or, to put it another way, serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Apparently, the term dates back to1754 when English writer Horace Walpole credited it to a fairy tale entitled "The three Princes of Serendip". According to the tale, three Persian Princes sailed off to the island of Serendip (now known as Sri Lanka) to seek their fortunes in the land of silk. Along the way they made all sorts of unexpected and wondrous discoveries. Anyway, whatever it's literary origins, serendipity seems to have played a part in my angling successes on more than one occasion. This week's session was a case in point, when an unfavourable turn of events led me down a seemingly less than ideal pathway, but ultimately led to a completely unexpected bag-up session of joyous proportions.
If you read last week's blog, you will be aware that I derided myself for slavishly following precedence, in a misguided attempt to emulate the previous week's successes. In short, I slotted straight into peg 4, without bothering to locate fish and very nearly paid the price for my negligence. In spite of that, this week I was perilously close to repeating the same mistake, had it not been for the fact that peg 4 was already occupied by another angler, who intended to remain there until Wednesday morning. Little did he know, that by blocking my intentions, he was actually doing me a massive favour. As it happens, he was the only other angler on the specimen lake, so there was no shortage of other options. However, when I arrived at Wetlands on Monday morning, I was suddenly consumed by an irresistible and urgent requirement to visit the on-site facilities. Nothing to do with the king sized Sunday dinner I had consumed the day before, of course! Such was the degree of bowel discomfort that I unhesitatingly parked up in peg 5 and hurriedly made my way, with a veritable 'hop, skip and a jump' towards the beckoning toilet block. Fortunately, I made it in time, but only by loosening at least two layers of thermal clothing on route. What a relief!
Naturally, when I emerged from communing with nature, I was well placed for a slow and very deliberate lap of the lake. Given that daybreak is currently around 6.50 am, I feared that I might have missed the critical time and was somewhat skeptical about seeing much in the way of carp shows. Indeed this appeared to be the case until I arrived at peg 3, where I immediately saw a couple of rings erupt on the surface, in the channel that leads to peg 7. So, after a brief chat with the angler in peg 4 (he was fishing maggots and had not caught over night), I drove round to 3 and began unloading my gear. At this point, Richard arrived, so I interrupted my setting up procedure for an enjoyable chat. As we stood on the roadway, putting the world to rights, we both began to see regular movement at a point only a few yards out from the bank towards the big Willow tree.
It's a spot that Dean capitalized on a while back, and it includes a bowl shaped hole, that occasionally comes alive with carp. After several signs of carp movement above this old hot spot, I was itching to give it a whirl, in the hope that it might deliver the goods once again.
And so, the first rod to be sorted was the right hander to the aforementioned target zone. The middle rod was dispatched to the opening of the communication channel (a.k.a. the M25). Finally, the left hander dealt with the area bordering peg 2. In each case the bait was a Wet Baits 15mm M3C Chocolate boilie, fished snowman style, beneath a 10mm milky toffee pop-up, accompanied by the customary PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets, for boosted attraction and tangle resistance. Freebies were restricted to a tight patch of 5 matching boilies around each rig.
To my utter amazement, the targeted RHS hot spot paid off in fine style. At 9.30am a rapid take marked the commencement of a fierce battle that had a carp circling in deeper water for what seemed like ages before it finally broke the surface for the first time. Astonishingly the culprit was a gorgeous scaly Mirror whose weight of 12lb 4oz belied it's persistence and strength. Only 30 minutes later, another rapid take heralded a much more plodding, but less protracted fight, culminating in the banking of a chunky 17lb 2oz near leather Mirror. It made the last few yards to the bank in manner of a 'sack of potatoes', but was immensely welcome, nonetheless. After that, all went quiet during the day, which is not unusual for Wetlands during the colder months. Sunset at 6.00pm brought another visitor to the bank in the form of a 14lb 14oz Mirror. I had not long retired to the warmth and comfort of my peach skin Big Z sleeping bed, when at 8.05 pm, I was summoned to arms by yet another one-toner from the same rod. This time a 15lb 12oz Mirror provided an unspectacular battle before greeting the spreader block. At 10.10 pm, it was the turn of my left hand rod to join the party. This time an angry Common gave a very good account of itself in a protracted battle. On the scales it recorded 14lb 0oz, thus closing my account, with a very respectable late winter tally of five double figure carp.
It has to be said, that my success this week owed itself in no small measure to a fresh unbiased approach in which careful observation played a key role. I only hope that I can continue in that vein.