Last week I fished peg 10 and managed to winkle a couple out, even though I didn't see much in the way of carp activity during daylight hours. You may recall that I came away from the session feeling that I would have faired much better had I taken more care over peg choice. Hence, for this week, I had it in mind to survey the specimen lake more thoroughly before staking my claim . However, in the meantime, Dean texted me to say that that the pipe, which transfers excess water from the adjacent match lake into the specimen lake, had been flowing steadily and that carp had responded, by gathering in peg 9 near the pipe outlet. Now, I did do a lap of the lake first, in the hope of spotting a few carp, but this bit of information proved so tantalising, that I dropped into peg 9 anyway, and would probably have done so, even if I had seen grouped fish elsewhere.
Interestingly, Dean's tip off proved to be well founded. Within a couple of hours I had at least 7 carp in the immediate area, two of them virtually under my feet in the margin. Fortunately, I had come armed with some light tackle, geared towards bream fishing (with the intention of doing my bit towards stock management). The last thing I wanted to do was spook the carp by going at it all guns blazing. Hence, the first rod I put out was a 2lb T.C. float rod, baited with two flakes of maize. A minimum of 15lb breaking strain main line is required in the specimen lake, so this was terminated with a 12 inch hook link of ultra fine 11lb match mono and a size 10 wide gape hook. I lowered the float very gently near to one of the nearby basking carp and cautiously flicked out a few grains of maize around it. A second rod, bearing a method feeder (loaded with scalded (Protec 4.5mm) pellet paste was gently lowered into the margin next to the RHS causeway. No other rods were used at this stage, in an effort to avoid disturbing the still present carp. At 9.20am, the right hand method feeder rod emitted a flurry of bleeps, suggesting that a bream had hooked itself. Surprisingly, upon lifting the rod, I was greeted with significant resistance which could only mean that a carp was responsible. After a short but energetic tussle, a deep orange-coloured Mirror was netted, weighing a modest 8lb 4oz. Oh well, at least I hadn't blanked and the other carp were still in residence.
By midday, my eyes were growing a bit weary from staring at a stationary float. Even though the margin based fish seemed oblivious to my proximity, they showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in my float-fished maize. Even, the odd 10mm white pop-up, flicked onto the surface was completely ignored. I therefore concluded that I might as well discontinue the float fishing approach and resort to standard methodology. Accordingly, the float rod was replaced with one having a normal lead clip setup, to a 9 inch braided hook-link and size 8 hook. A Wet Baits 16mm Red Liver boilie served as hook bait, together with a PVA mesh bag of Protec 4.5mm pellets. This rod was used to target a spot a few yards further down the left hand tree-lined margin. An identical rod was then deployed to place a bait around 20 yards out towards peg 6. Free offerings in the form of a dozen, or so halved boilies were catapulted around each spot. The method feeder rod was kept in situ and re-loaded with paste at 30 minute intervals. Not surprisingly, by the time I had all three rods nicely in place, the loitering surface carp had miraculously disappeared. Presumably, they had been disturbed by the casting and baiting up that had been going on, even though I had tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. Perhaps I should have persevered with the earlier tactics?
The bright sun continued to beam down from a cloudless blue sky until early evening, when wispy clouds amalgamated to form a grey blanket that eventually obscured it. For some reason, the day had lulled me into a state of extreme lethargy, such that by 8.30pm I was ready for sleep and retired without hesitation to my sleeping bag. At 2.25 am, I was rudely awakened from slumbers by frantic bleeps from the left hand margin rod. To my relief, upon lifting the rod tip, the attached carp came smartly out from under the trees and out into open water. The protracted battle was then played out in a confined area without my adversary straying back towards the trees or under my other lines. What's more I was able to net it at the first attempt. It turned out to be a 15lb 14oz Mirror with just a few small scales below its dorsal fin. A fine chunky specimen. No further action interrupted the night and I woke at 6.00 am ready for a quick pack down.
Interestingly, my catch this week (1 single figure carp and 1 upper double) was virtually identical to that of last week. Bearing in mind that last week the water in front of me appeared devoid of carp, in contrast to this week when I had carp present for several hours, it seems odd that the difference wasn't reflected in my results. It just goes to show that having carp in front of you by itself doesn't guarantee success. They most definitely need to be in a determined mood to feed. Mind you, the other niggling thought is that I may have reduced my chances of catching by inadvertently spooking them. Maybe, a more consistent attention to stealth might have paid dividends?