I must admit to having had more than a little apprehension about this week's session on account of the weather forecast, which predicted very high night time winds up to 75 mph. Interestingly, 15 October 2017 marks the 27th anniversary of Michael Fish's hurricane blunder, when the infamous Met Office employee (working for the BBC) failed to forecast storm force gales which wreaked havoc across Britain. Ever since that slip-up, the BBC seem to have erred on the side of caution, by over playing any potentially hazardous weather conditions. Nevertheless, I still felt somewhat uneasy about the prospect of having my bivvy ripped from the ground and transported across the skies to some unknown distant destination. I figured that the impending wind would be of the south westerly variety, blowing directly into peg 4 water. Hence, I had it in mind to play it safe by fishing on the back of it, if at all possible. However, my initial tour of the lake confirmed my worst suspicions and put me in a state of heightened unease. As you might expect, most of the fish seemed to be present in front of pegs 4 and 5. Now my urge for self preservation is strong, but alas, not as strong as the lure of productive fishing on the end of a favourable south-westerly. Inevitably, I threw caution to the wind (literally) and set up my bivvy (albeit in a sideways orientation) slap bang in the middle of peg 4, putting meagre trust in my extra long tent pegs. Of course, the fact that peg 4 is aptly named "the sand bank" gives further indication of the soft nature of its ground and the precarious nature of my decision.
Oh well, "In for a penny, in for a pound!" If I was to be humiliated by the wiles of nature, at least I would go down fighting. I was determined to 'let them have it' on the baiting front, in an attempt to make the most of a delicate situation. And so, I deposited a kilo or two of Skretting course pellets between the island margin and the snag bushes. Next, I put a similar quantity of the pellets under the willow tree to the left of the peg. Finally, I did the same into a spot 10 yards from the right hand bank. The arrival of Dave with fresh supplies of Wet Baits Active Nut and Banana 18mm boilies, plus LG1 16mm ones provided the final piece of the jig saw, enabling me to launch a double boilie hook bait onto each of the three baited spots.
During the course of the day, the earlier breezy conditions increased towards the midday and then died down again, making me think that a rather tame version of the forecast gales had come and gone. Clearly, I had been lulled into a false sense of security, as the worst was yet to come. Just recently, I've found that most of the fish catching action has come after dark, so I was prepared for a long wait. Unusually, daytime brought the odd occurrence or two, but regrettably none of it yielded and tangible results. In the first place a couple of screaming runs on the middle rod turned out to be abortive, once I lifted the rod tip (presumably a large bream running off with the bait but not getting hooked). And then it was the turn of the willow tree rod to produce a screaming run that mysteriously transferred the hook onto a large sunken branch. It wasn't until 4.30 pm that an 11lb 8oz Common made a mistake under the willow and joined me on the bank.
Once darkness had fallen, the wind increased significantly, causing the bivvy doors to flap wildly and the main body of it to rock unnervingly as each gust struck it. Thankfully, it survived the onslaught without mishap. Not surprisingly, I had to unclip the bite indicators to stop them from bleeping every few seconds, which didn't prevent them from letting out a shrill warning at 10.40 pm when a 13lb 0oz Mirror put up a gutsy fight on the middle rod before hitting the spreader block. Later, at midnight, the willow tree rod signaled a rapid take as a 13lb 12oz Common made a frantic bid for freedom. Eventually, it succumbed to steady pressure and had the dubious pleasure of resting in my unhooking cradle.
The remainder of the night was uneventful, leaving me with a final tally of three doubles. Nothing spectacular on this occasion, but a productive session none the less. As to whether the heavy baiting was responsible for the catches, the jury is still out on that. Certainly, at this time of year, there is an expectancy that the carp will be feeding themselves up ready for winter. What's more Pecky once emphasised to me that large carp are bulky because they are intrinsically greedy, so the best way to catch them is to give them plenty of bait on a regular basis. Hopefully, the wisdom of that statement will be demonstrated in the not too distant future.