"A Carp's Revenge" would be an apt title for this week's blog, in view of a middle of the night incident that caused me considerable pain and some loss of blood, not to mention damaged pride, but more of that later. To most people, angling is a relatively hazard free pursuit, that offers the practitioner a chance to chill out undisturbed, in heightened peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, the reality is that hidden dangers lurk in the background, waiting to pounce when least expected. Only last week, Pat slipped off the banking whilst rushing to his rods in response to a night time bite. He landed heavily on the base of his back, causing a graze the size of a drink coaster and the next day he found walking so painful that a day off work was required. No doubt there is an endless list of potential dangers associated with angling, including falling out of trees (whilst fish spotting), sinking in silt (whilst wading around in chest waders), carbon monoxide poisoning (from using gas cookers in a closed bivvy), not forgetting hypothermia through wearing inadequate clothing in winter. Certainly, our sport requires high levels of vigilance and care to render it safe.
Anyway, this week I had it in mind to fish peg 7 again, having had a bit of a result last week, in the shape of "Loony" at 22lb 6oz. However, having parked up in said peg and left a bucket to save it, I was immediately struck by the fact that it looked completely lifeless. As I did the customary lap of the specimen lake, peg 1 displayed a similar lack of carp presence and peg 2 seemed equally dead. In contrast, peg 3 was home to a few surface cruising carp and peg 4 put on a bit of a display with a couple of carp head and shouldering in quick succession. Without further ado, I rushed round to my starting point and in no time I was parked up and unloading gear onto peg 4. Initially I put out a couple of single hook baits onto the spots where the carp had showed, in the hope of a rapid bite. By the time an hour had passed and nothing transpired, I decided to re-group, so to speak, settling on three of my favourite spots. The right hand rod covered the sloping area in front of the mini islands, the middle rod launched a bait behind the snag bushes and the left hander targeted the area under the big Willow tree. Dave arrived with a fresh stock of KCG 18mm Plum boilies in time for me to pepper each spot with a good helping of the same. To add to the attraction, each location also received a few hopper loads of Skretting mixed course pellets (predominantly Protec 4.5mm pellets).
In spite of the obvious and regular presence of carp in my swim, no bites were forthcoming until well into the afternoon. At 2.20pm, the left hander under the Willow absolutely ripped off, but kited out from the bank and away from the overhanging branches of the next tree down the margin. It briefly held its ground before allowing me to ease it back in my direction, whereupon it circled in the shallow margin before succumbing to the waiting net. A Mirror of 13lb 12oz was a more than satisfactory way of opening my account for the session. I had to wait a further 3 hours before a repeat operation on the left hand rod added a hard fighting 15lb 14oz Mirror to the tally. Only 30 minutes later the right hand rod absolutely melted off, but the culprit managed to find some sort of underwater object that enabled it to shed the hook. Nevertheless, the right hander eventually produced a carp at 6.35pm, in the form of a 15lb 10oz Mirror.
Thereafter a further 4 hours passed before the Willow based rod joined the party once more, this time with a 13lb 2oz Linear that went mental in the dark. Given the potential difficulty of replacing the Willow rod in the dark, I simply gave it a short underarm flick down the left hand margin. After retiring to the sleeping bag, I was awakened to another explosive run, this time to the nonchalantly placed margin rod. After a spirited fight the perpetrator eventually lay glistening in the head torch light on the unhooking cradle. And then the unexpected mishap occurred. As I attempted to grasp the size 6 wide gape hook, which was embedded well inside its mouth, the carp suddenly shook its head with incredible force. As it did so, the finely honed hook point tore deeply into the fleshy tip of my fourth finger, cutting a deep long furrow as it went. The lacerated finger instantly poured with blood, covering everything around it. All I could do was wrap it firmly in a pad of kitchen towel, whilst continuing with the weighing ceremony. At 14lb 2oz the Mirror was barely sufficient reward for the agony I had suffered on its behalf. What's more sleep was hard to come by, with a deeply throbbing finger tucked carefully inside the bag.
As daylight dawned, bleep, bleep disturbance from bream attentions reached a climax, such that when the middle rod registered a steady take, I was far too slow in recognizing it for what it was. Alas, I wasn't quick enough to prevent my quarry from finding sanctuary within the snag bushes. Inevitably, the line broke, leaving me to scold myself for messing up big time. And that was the last of any action from what had been a nicely productive session. I had caught 5 carp up to a smidgen under 16lb and lost 2. Obviously, I had paid a price for my success in terms of a painful personal injury, but hopefully I have learned from the experience. Be assured I will be using forceps much more frequently for unhooking carp in future.