This week, after a holiday break in Norfolk, I was eager to get back onto the banks of Wetlands to wet a line or two. However, a couple of surprises were in store for me upon my arrival. Firstly, in my absence, Richard (the owner) had been given the chance to borrow a large excavator plus articulated dumper truck and I was literally blown away by his achievements. Apparently, he had removed 2,100 tons of soil from beside the match lake and used it to form a causeway from the west bank of the session lake (in between pegs 6 and 7) across to the central islands. The newly formed soil bridge is an immensely impressive structure that will literally path the way toward significant further improvements. Once the material has settled properly, it will facilitate the deployment of an even larger excavator to re-shape the islands, (to reduce the potential for tethering fish around mini islands and other snags), plus provide every swim with some deeper areas. I can't wait to see the completed project. The other surprise concerned the weather. After two days of reduced temperatures and persistent rainfall, I was expecting more of the same. Hence, I wasn't prepared for the baking hot day that actually transpired.
My initial plan had been to try my hand at peg 6, in the hope of catching a few from the left hand margin. But, when I parked up in the peg, I was immediately confronted by Richard's earthworks and inevitably, some nagging thoughts arose that any carp might have been spooked by the commotion, displacing them to the opposite side of the lake. Accordingly, I took a slow walk around to determine if this was indeed the case. My observations seemed to confirm the hypothesis, given that I saw nothing in pegs 7 and 1, but as soon as I reached pegs 2, 3 and 4, a number of carp were clearly visible, cruising across the surface. That clinched it for me and in no time at all, I was unloading my gear onto peg 3. Shortly after this Derek and Dean arrived and promptly opted for pegs 5 and 4 respectively, meaning that all three pegs furthest away from the earthworks were now occupied.
Initially, I quietly put out two rods, each with a snowman rig and PVA bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets attached, in the hope of getting a quick bite and sat back to weigh up the scene in front of me. After an hour or so, it became clear that the carp in the swim were more interested in surface cruising than bottom feeding. Given that floater fishing is not permitted at Wetlands, due to the preponderance of bird life, and that the water is generally too shallow for effective zig fishing, a change in tactics was called for. Having noticed that carp regularly visited the extreme left and right hand margins, two pop-up rigs were duly lowered in the relevant margin spots amidst a generous helping (approximately 6 large handfuls), of Skretting T-Elite FR 80 pellets. In each case, the pop-up of choice was an 18mm Wetbaits Nutcracker in faded yellow. The middle rod, which already covered the margin of a small island near peg two (the snowman rig) was left in situ, but a dozen or so free baits were scattered around it using a throwing stick to draw more attention to it..
By noon, the day had turned into an absolute scorcher, such that I sought refuge from the intense heat inside the bank side hut, shuffling along the seat at regular intervals to maximize shade. Under such conditions I wasn't expecting the carp to feed with any sort of conviction until late evening, so I was pleasantly surprised when at 12.20pm the middle rod signaled a rapid take, that eventually, after a boisterous tussle, brought a 13lb 2oz Linear carp to the bank. The fish had an odd appearance, in that its general colouration was very faded and transparent, not unlike that of a "ghost carp". Even more surprising, at 1.55pm a twitchy take from the right hand margin rod heralded an equally energetic fight that produced yet another Linear carp weighing an identical 13lb 2oz. How's that for a coincidence? This time though, its colouration was altogether more intense, more akin to full winter pigmentation. Then at 3.00pm another take from the middle rod ended in disaster with a distant hook pull.
After that, things went a bit quiet until 7.40pm when a 12lb 12oz Common went absolutely ballistic on the left hand rod. In the latter stages of the fight it got wrapped around the back-leaded line from the middle rod. Fortunately, I still managed to net it successfully. As usual, it took ages to untangle the bird's nest of a tangle thereafter. By this time, Alex had set up on the far right hand side of peg 3, so my RHS margin rod was transferred to a margin spot much closer to me for the night. Alex fished one rod under the Willow and another 12 feet from the bank, baited heavily with boilies.
Overnight, I managed only one more carp, namely a 9lb 0oz Common on the middle rod at midnight. Alex, on the other hand, did himself proud by catching Timms @ 27lb 13oz, preceded by one banked and another lost. Naturally, I was pleased to do camera duties for him at 6.00am.
When I eventually wound in around 8.00am, I found that the rig on my middle rod was completely tangled around the lead, with the hook upside down. Of course, it serves me right for being lazy. Instead of giving it a "pub chuck" in the middle of the night, I should have attached the customary PVA mesh bag of Skretting pellets and taken more care with the cast. Who knows what awesome beast might have graced my landing net had I done the job properly? Oh well, maybe next time!