After suffering a severely lacerated finger tip last week, by the hook wielding, headshaking actions of a revengeful carp, I was hoping for a less traumatic session this week. My wife tells me that her sympathies lie with the poor carp, wrenched unceremoniously from its natural habitat and that it served me right for tinkering with nature. Oh well, it would be a dull world if we all shared the same views about the ethics of our sport. Anyway, the predominant thought in my mind this week was a statement by Adam Penning, to effect that; "If you fish like everyone else, you will only catch the same as everyone else". And of course, there is a lot of truth in that theory. The view was particularly pertinent this week, given that most of the carp seemed to be resident in peg 5, where the majority of anglers fish exactly the same spots, in exactly the same manner. Almost everybody religiously measures out 9 -10 wraps on their distance sticks and then delivers a generous patch of particles and/or boilies out towards the central snag bushes, before fishing one rod in the middle of the area and another to one side. To be fair, it was Dave who pioneered the approach, with more than a modicum of decent captures to his credit, but it's strange how other carpers jump on the band wagon, in the hope of emulating previous success.
And so, determined to go against the norm, I deliberately held back before committing any rods to the water. Under no circumstances would any fishing be done at 10 wraps. Thankfully, a couple of carp head and shouldered within a few minutes of each other. One showed at around two rod lengths to the right of (and the same distance in front of) the RHS snag bush. The other showed around 30 yards out from the bank in the direction of peg 3. Naturally, within no time at all, each spot had received a hardened pink 20mm boilie, as hook bait, attached to a PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets. Initially, I refrained from adding any extra free baits, in case a quick bite was on the cards. When nothing of the sort transpired after a wait of half an hour or so, I delivered approximately 50 Wet Baits KCG Plum 16mm boilies to each location with a throwing stick and prepared to sit it out. Given that I wasn't entirely comfortable about fishing three completely new spots, I allowed myself the luxury of choosing a commonly fished area for the left hand rod, namely in front of the island to the left. One major advantage of the location is that it can be easily and safely reached in chest waders. Hence, I was able to manually scatter 1 kilogram of Skretting course pellets across an area the size of a garage floor, before placing the customary hook bait on the deepest edge.
In my experience, it is generally unusual to receive any bites until after midday on Wetlands specimen lake, so it came as no surprise that my first taste of action came at 12.15pm. A twitchy take on the middle rod, brought me into contact with a carp that kited rapidly towards adjacent peg 6. Thankfully, it didn't manage to get to far, nor did it tangle with any of my other lines and most of the fight was played out in the close margin. Eventually, I netted the Common concerned, along with a quantity of leaves and stinking debris. On the scales it registered a healthy 18lbs on the nose and in so doing put a smile on my face - a most welcome start! At 5.10pm, it was the turn of the right hand rod (fished in front of the snag bush) to register a rapid take. The perpetrator was certainly keen to seek refuge within the snag bush, but much to my relief, after an extended tussle, I managed to coax it back in my direction, whereupon the hardest work was over. At 15lb 12oz, a fine Common added nicely to the tally.
It wasn't until near dusk, at 8.30pm, that the left hand rod added to the quota, in the shape of a 10lb 8oz Common, that gave a rapid first run, but fizzled out soon after. The same rod had hardly been back on its spot, when at 9.00pm it registered another frantic run. Unfortunately though, the hook pulled only a short time into the ensuing battle. Twice during the night, I was awakened from slumber by an angry carp. Firstly, at 01.40am another diminutive 10lb 12oz Common joined the fray on the left hand rod, producing an unspectacular contest. At 02.50am the middle rod produced another twitchy take that was subsequently rewarded with a 14lb 4oz Mirror.
Interestingly, out of 5 banked carp, the three largest came from new spots, whereas both 10 pounders (plus the lost carp) came from the well-worn hot spot. Whilst the latter had out fished the other spots in terms of the number of takes, it was at the bottom of the pile in the size stakes. Food for thought, no doubt!