In my experience, fishing the same peg, just seven days apart, rarely produces similar results, especially if there is a significant difference in weather conditions between the two sessions. Accordingly, this blog recounts a recent testing of this theory, with an interesting and rather surprising outcome.
Having ignored peg 2 for months, I found myself selecting it as one of very few options on a busy bank holiday Monday 28th May. Although a couple of other pegs were vacant, they would be directly on the end of a predicted cold wind from the north east. Accordingly, the choice of peg 2 placed me in a more sheltered position, or so I thought. As things turned out, the forecast wind was more of an intermittent breeze from the north west, which sporadically ruffled the surface of the water in my chosen peg. Nevertheless, it was accompanied by wall to wall sunshine that had me seeking respite from the sweltering heat in the shade of a tall bush. What's more, the carp responded in typical fashion, by being present on the surface in reasonable numbers. At one point I counted 7 carp ensconced in the gap in the trees to the left, with others cruising backwards and forwards across the surface of the main body of water. Certainly, a very welcome sight, but one tempered with cautious optimism, as I'm well aware by now that basking carp are rarely interested in getting their heads down for a proper feed up. Furthermore, surface fishing is banned at Wetlands due to the preponderance of wild fowl and zig fishing rarely produces decent results (at least, not in my hands).
At this stage, my initially calm disposition began to be eroded by a series of calamities that struck sequentially. Firstly, my bait boat became stuck in forward drive such that it circled several times before lodging up against the central island, motor still whirring away at full throttle. After retrieving the wayward craft, it became clear that the control system had become unresponsive, necessitating an expensive repair. Then, I realised that I had forgotten my food rations. Not wishing to endure an enforced 24 hour fast, I reluctantly wound in and drove to the nearest local Co-op to stock up with sandwiches, crisps peanuts and cookie dough biscuits. On my return, I discovered that one of my Shimano double reel handles had snapped off below the winder leaving an uncomfortable sharp edge to contend with. Not a great start really!
I was determined not to be phased by these challenges and did my best to settle down for a renewed start albeit 3 hours later than intended. Rod positioning was very much determined by the indicated preferences of the carp, in terms of patrol routes and haunts. Hence, the right hand rod was deployed to place a bait at the rear of the island bay, the middle rod covered the entrance to the central bay area and the left hander was used to flick a 1.1oz lead into the gap in the trees to the left. Thankfully, all three rods were accurately positioned without unduly disturbing the still resident carp. Each hook was primed with an 18mm Active 8 boilie, with a PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets nicked on for added attraction and increased tangle resistance.
Not surprisingly, I had to wait until mid afternoon (3.30pm) before any action occurred. This was in the form of a screaming take to the right hand rod. The culprit turned out to be a diminutive 6lb 10oz Mirror that put in a spirited fight, nonetheless. At 8.05pm, I was in the process of topping up the left hand tree gap spot (after a bream encounter) when the rod exploded into life. Even though I was fishing locked up, the fish managed to take sufficient line to make it under the overhanging branches and sadly the hook opened out. At 9.10pm the middle rod joined the party with a frantic take. Fortunately, I managed to ease it backwards into open water from where the fight was played out without undue drama. My prize was a 13lb 12oz Mirror. At 11.30pm the same rod was away again, but this time my efforts to tame it's flight ended in an unwelcome hook pull. Barely thirty minutes later, at midnight, the same scenario occurred to the right hand rod, leaving me bemoaning the loss of three carp in a relatively short space of time. Therefore, when the middle rod signaled another take at 3.40am, I was out of my sleeping bag in an instant and immediately gained control. A 10lb Mirror duly hit the spreader block after a short tussle. Finally, at 4.40am my catch tally was completed with the magnificent dark orange Koi carp, plucked from the right hand bay. As I scooped up my prize it gleamed beautifully in the light of my head torch, like a massive goldfish and recorded a weight of 12lb 2oz.
After a rather exciting session in peg 2, in which I had landed four carp out of seven takes, it was inevitable that I would return there the following week, in the hope of repeating the glory, preferably with fewer losses. Usually, whenever I have returned to a productive peg one week later, in the hope of repeated success, the result has been a miserable failure, so how would I fare this time? For a start the weather was much cooler, with dark grey skies. I was still without my bait boat (awaiting major repairs) and out of Wet Baits boilies. Thankfully though, I had remembered to bring my sandwiches and chocolate muffins, so at least I could get on with fishing uninterrupted. Rod placement was identical to that of the previous week, with one exception. The left hand rod was used to cover the left hand cut-through channel, rather than the gap in the trees. Otherwise, baiting and rigs were the same, including the PVA bags of Skretting Protec 4.5mm pellets nicked onto the hook point.
This time, I only had to wait until early afternoon before anything occurred, by way of a steady firm take on the left hand rod. As expected, my quarry did its best to venture up the cut through channel towards peg 1. To my relief, sustained pressure persuaded it otherwise. Once it came into the nearby margin area, it went absolutely berserk, ploughing up and down, taking out my other rods in the process. Hearing the commotion, an angler from the adjacent peg kindly came across to assist with the proceedings. As soon as the big Mirror surfaced for the first time, I could see exactly which one it was. With a very distinctive hump above its head, it could only be Quasi. Eventually she flopped over the net chord, just as the right hand bay rod burst into life. I left Quasi to recover in the landing net whilst battling with carp number two. I always carry a spare landing net which proved very useful in dealing with the hectic situation. Quasi recorded a weight of 23lb 6oz, before posing for a photo or two. Then, I weighed the next Mirror at 13lb 2oz. Brilliant! The session was already of to a great start!
All three rods were replaced after that, including the left hander which amidst the carnage had become the subject of a convoluted line tangle. No sooner had the task been completed, than the right hand bay rod signaled yet another bite at 1.50pm. The result was a muscular Common of 16lb 4oz that fought like a tiger. At 6.45pm the same rod produced a 9lb Common followed at 7.50pm by a brute of a deep-bodied, dark coloured Common that broke the surface a rod length out, but alas, the hook pulled before I could coax it towards the waiting net. I was immensely disappointed to have lost what looked like a dark old warrior. Finally, at 8.50pm the right hand rod produced the last fish of the session in the form of a 10lb 2oz Common.
Oddly enough, the night was completely quiet, the action having switched off completely. All the same I went home with a smile on my face and a skip in my step, having bagged 5 carp, including the awesome Quasi at 23lb 6oz. The only regret was that the single carp I had lost was obviously a very decent old Common. For once, returning to a fruitful peg had proved to be a wise move, with enhanced rewards for my efforts.