As carp anglers, we are told repeatedly that "Effort equals reward" and that sometimes attention to the smallest detail can make the difference between success and failure. Or, to put it the other way round, "Laziness invites disappointment". On this session, although I had my share of very welcome success, I came away at the end, feeling that I could have done even better, had I taken the trouble to be 100% on the ball. All will become clear.
Given that I had a cracking session last week on peg 3, there was a strong temptation to slot straight into the same peg, in the hope of a replay. However, any inclinations I might have had in that direction were immediately scuppered by the fact that Corrie was bivvied up in there, having arrived at 6.00 pm on the previous evening. What's more, he'd bagged 4 carp overnight, the first one coming at 11.00 pm. Apparently the ladies carp cup match had taken place over the weekend (somehow the timing of it had eluded me) with a winning weight of 74lbs 13oz coming from peg 3, courtesy of the 'Carp Girls' team. When Corrie arrived, all the other pegs were still occupied, so the choice of peg 3 was made for him and it turned out to be a fortuitous one.
My customary lap of the lake gave no indication of the whereabouts of any carp, other than a hunch that there might be a few at the back of peg 5, adjacent to the central island margins. This impression was gained when I initially parked up in peg 5 and saw in my rear view mirror, what I thought were a number of carp hitting the surface when something spooked them. Nevertheless, I couldn't be absolutely sure about it. All the same, I eventually settled in peg 4, as the nearer island margins are accessible and legitimate from there. Also, whilst I was chatting to Corrie, I did see one carp, show on the island corner, on the border of peg 3. Naturally, that's exactly where my first rod went, upon my arrival. These days I like to take my time about putting the rods out, preferring to respond to a definite sighting, rather than opting for the same old, well-worn hot spots. In the absence of anything positive for at least 40 minutes I eventually resorted to habit and put the right hander out to the mini islands and the centre rod out to the usual 40 yard spot. In each case the bait consisted of a Wet Baits 15mm KCG Chocolate boilie topped by a 10mm Milky Toffee pop-up. Each bore a PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets for boosted attraction and tangle resistance, plus five closely targeted 15mm freebies.
It came as no surprise that the first rod to signal a rapid take was the left-hander covering the area where I'd spotted a previous carp show, although I had to wait until 2.30 pm for the privilege. The initial run was an energetic affair in which the culprit attempted to make it round the island corner. Quick counter action on my part eased it back from danger, allowing the remainder of the battle to be carried out in open water. I was relieved when a chunky Common was finally engulfed in the landing net. On the scales, she recorded a respectable weight of 15lb 6oz and I was indeed pleased to be 'off the mark' in fine style. The corner spot is a relatively shallow area that had benefitted from some daytime sunshine. It's also on a known patrol route, but it failed to produce any further action thereafter. In fact, it was the turn of the middle rod to kick into action next, but not until well after dark at 8.25 pm. This time a 12lb 6oz Common was responsible and the fight close-in was rather boisterous, to say the least.
Now this is the point at which things took a downturn, due to my own lack of care and attention. Having replaced the middle rod on its 40 yard spot, it wasn't long before it emitted a series of frantic bleeps before going silent again. I was certain that a carp had picked up the rig and shaken its head violently before ejecting it. I remember concluding that the perpetrator had seemingly 'got away with it' and I wondered if something might be wrong with the rig, such as a blunted or tangled hook. Of course, what I should have done was to reel in and check it thoroughly to put my mind at rest. Regrettably, I couldn't be bothered to get out of my sleeping bag - I just dismissed my concerns and went back to sleep. Before long, I was awakened by exactly the same scenario and to my shame I returned to the 'land of nod' without doing anything about it, even though something was clearly amiss.
Finally at 5.30 am a further flurry of frantic bleeps occurred on the middle rod, but this time a slow run developed and I lifted in to what in the first instance felt like a bream. Once my quarry came within 10 yards of the bank, it suddenly woke up and gave an immensely powerful kick. Regrettably, within a fraction of a second the line went slack and all was lost. Downcast, I reeled in to discover that the snowman baits (still intact) had become wrapped firmly around the hook link, such that the hook was held rigidly in an upside down orientation. Aghhhh! What an idiot I'd been! If only I'd taken the trouble to check the hook link at the first time of asking, who knows what piscatorial delights might have followed? Potentially three opportunities had been missed. I subsequently discovered that Corrie had also suffered at least three fish losses (hook pulls) during our shared time on the bank. Fortunately, he'd also banked one, bringing his overall total at that stage to five. Ah well, we live and (hopefully) learn!