Last week I failed to capitalize upon my one opportunity to put a carp on the bank and ended up with a frustrating blank. The opportunity to which I refer came at 4.30 pm on peg 3 in the form of a fast take. The rod in question was fished just a short distance into the cut-through, known affectionately as the M42. In hindsight, upon receiving indication of a bite, I should have walked smartly along the bank to the right, rather than trying to bring my quarry directly towards me by winding and pumping. The unwelcome outcome was that the fish managed to get behind one of the dotted islands and the hook pulled. Consequently, this week I approached the session with a fair measure of trepidation, anticipating another tough assignment. What's more I was unable to fish on Monday this week, as my wife had commandeered the carp wagon. Regrettably, I was unable to set off until 4.00 pm on the Tuesday, as our two grandchildren needed to be collected from school (I call it: "The 'Brat' run"). Hence, I eventually arrived at Wetlands, in full darkness, at 5.30 pm.
I figured that my best chance of putting a curve in the rod was to put in a short stint on the match lake before setting up camp in peg 9 of the specimen lake. Naturally peg 29 of the match lake was first choice given it's centrality along the east bank. The approach would be simple enough. A snowman rig (comprising a Wet Baits 18mm Active Nut boilie combined with a Citruz 12mm pop-up) on each of two rods, nicked into a small PVA mesh bag of Skretting Protec 4.5mm pellets. One bait was launched to the centre of the lake and the other to the area in front of the main island. A dozen Active Nut free baits were scattered across each spot with a throwing stick. According to Richard, both lakes had been frozen over for much of the previous day, so I expected the fishing to be particularly sluggish. It came as no surprise that I had to wait until 7.30 pm before any action materialised in the shape of a lively 7lb 2oz fully scaled Mirror on the right hand rod. Thereafter, bites came steadily at 8.35 pm (7lb 12oz Common); 9.10 pm (14lb Mirror); 9.35 pm (8lb 14oz Mirror); 10.10 pm (8lb 4oz Common); and 10.45 pm (8lb 2oz Common). Interestingly, all the bites came from the right hand rod. By 11.0 pm I'd satisfied my desire to catch a few carp, regardless of size, and I was ready to face a stronger challenge.
My selection of peg 9 on the specimen lake was made for reasons of proximity to the match lake and more importantly, nearness to Pat who was set up in peg 10. On this occasion watercraft had no influence whatsoever. However, I was grateful for the fact that a carp topped spectacularly approximately 20 yards out from the bank within minutes of my arrival on the bank. Naturally my first rod (baited as previously mentioned) went straight out to the spot. The second rod launched a bait down the left hand tree-lined margin and the middle rod was committed to an area on the border of peg 8, on end of the peninsular.
Much to my delight, the right hand rod (on the spot where a carp topped earlier) indicated a stuttery take at 00.50 am. After I lifted the rod concerned, the carp on the end of it made a desperate bid to reach the tree-lined margin to the left, taking out both other rods in the process. Thankfully, I managed to keep it away from the overhanging branches and soon had it wallowing in the margin ready for netting. On the scales the Mirror registered 14lb 8oz making it a most welcome blank-busting start to the proceedings. Overnight, Pat opened his account with a fine 20lb Mirror, making it his 21st 20lb carp in 12 months. Awesome fishing Pat!
The following morning at 8.15 am, in the midst of a slow pack up, I was surprised when the right hand rod indicated another jittery take. After a similar battle to the previous one, a glorious Linear Mirror of 15lb 12oz with 'apple-slice' scales gleamed on the unhooking matt and subsequently posed while Pat did the honours with a camera. What a wonderful ending to a highly satisfying session. Needless to say, I went home with a smile on my face and a skip in my step.