I must say that spring is my all time favourite season. Having said that, this year I've had an unusually productive winter, with consistent catches throughout the grinding, cold months. What's more, one of the A-Team (Quasi) was included in my tally of winter captures. Nevertheless, there's something about the promise and expectancy of spring that gets the adrenalin flowing, as dreams of big catches and unknown monsters pervade ones imagination. I gather that a deep sense of anticipation and excitement is also very much in the air for Skretting, who are all set to make a big splash at two major angling events, namely the "Northern Angling Show" (1-2nd April) and "The Big One" (8-9th April) at Farnborough. Skretting will be proudly displaying their splendid range of scientifically engineered fish feed products which provide fish with carefully balanced nutritional profiles, plus generate high levels of attraction, which are undoubtedly irresistible to fish and anglers alike. My personal favourite is the Protec 4.5mm pellets which I use extensively in my own fishing. Both of the aforementioned major angling shows boast an impressive list of celebrities, presentations and exhibitors. In previous years, I've greatly benefitted from memorable one-to-one chats with the likes of Ian Russell, Adam Penning, Rob Hughes, Darrell Peck and Kevin Nash, to name a few. There's no doubt that at this years events, Dave Lane, Danny Fairbrass, Ian Chillcott, Derek Ritchie, Bob Nudd and a host of other heroes will be very high on the 'must speak to' list of many of the visitors.
Anyway, this week's session at Wetlands began on the last day of winter 2017 and ended on the first day of spring 2017, so I was particularly keen to celebrate the passing season with a flurry of activity and start the new one with a 'bang', and I'm mightily pleased to report that somehow, I managed to do exactly that, but not quite the 'bang' I had in mind. It all began, in the usual way with a walk around the specimen lake in the hope of spotting a few carp, passing Pat and Rob on the way, who were set up in pegs 1 and 7, respectively. As it happens, both were so heavily asleep, that a hearty "good morning" call failed to rouse them. By the time I had returned to my starting point, I had seen absolutely no evidence of carp presence, at all. Pat and Rob had obviously chosen to fish in the most protected pegs, on the back of a stiff breeze which was still blowing towards pegs 4 and 5. However, their carp cradles appeared dry, suggesting that the carp might have chosen to be on the end of the breeze, instead. Given that peg 3 had some ruffled water and some slack, I chose to hedge my bets by fishing both types of water.
I was ultra slow in committing any rods to the water this week, choosing instead to watch the water carefully until something caught my attention. In fact, Richard had come for his customary chat and parted before I eventually made a choice. The middle rod took charge of the entrance to the so called "M25", which is a channel between the islands, leading to peg 7. My right hander covered a spot, which is just a short underarm cast out towards peg 4. Finally, my left hand rod put a bait out to the boundary of peg 2. Just lately Wet Baits KCG Chocolate 15mm boilies have been doing the business for me, in combination with a 10mm Milky Toffee pop-up, snowman style. A PVA mesh bag of Skretting Protec 4.5mm pellets is clipped to each hook to reduce tangles and provide additional attraction. Five free baits accompanied each hook bait, in a tight format. The forecast continuous rain soon materialised and lingered until mid afternoon. Thankfully, the temperature remained above 10 degrees throughout the day, warm enough not to put a damper on any feeding activity.
At 10.50 am the middle rod was the first to come alive, with a full on screaming run. In spite of the rapidity of the take, I was able to steer the carp away from the mini islands that are present in the zone and bring it safely to the bank. I wasn't surprised at the tameness of the fight when a Common carp of 6lb 10oz greeted me. At 1.15 pm the right hand rod kicked into action, becoming the only active rod thereafter. Its first victim was a hard fighting 15lb 2oz Mirror that gave a twitchy take and then proceeded to fight like a tiger. This was followed shortly afterwards at 2.05 pm by a 10lb 6oz Mirror that circled in the margin for ages before making a reluctant journey to the surface. After that, all went quiet until darkness began to fall. Two more tentative takes at 6.10 pm and 6.30 pm put a fine 13lb 12oz Mirror and a chunky 18lb 6oz Mirror on the score sheet, before quietness returned. In fact, it wasn't until spring had officially begun that further action came my way. At 25 minutes past midnight a 10lb 10oz Mirror, with a crinkly tail and deformed mouth, reluctantly hit the spreader block. Proceedings finally came to a sudden halt (literally), when a brute of a Mirror came almost within netting distance (I could see its large frame on the surface) when it kicked hard and the hook pulled. I'm pretty certain that the last carp to be hooked was significantly bigger than any of the others I had banked up until then, so I was understandably disappointed when it was lost. After that the sky cleared and the wind took on a bitingly cold edge that put an end to any further feeding activity. All the same, I went home well pleased with having caught six and lost one in total. Also, I had already bagged a spring carp to get the season off to a flying start. I just hope that my run of captures continues unabated.