For some strange reason most of my fishing at Wetlands Lakes over the last 12 months has been concentrated on pegs 6 to 10, with occasional visits to pegs 3 to 5, but hardly any sessions in pegs 1 and 2. So after breaking with tradition on my last couple of outings and enjoying some satisfying results in peg 2, I decided to give peg 1 a go for this week's foray. After a rather wet winter, Wetlands is currently full to the brim, so I could no longer use low water levels as a valid excuse to avoid it. Having said that though, I did have some misgivings, to do with the recent demise of my bait boat, which is expected to be out of action for 6 weeks, pending major repairs. Peg 1 contains a multitude of interesting nooks and crannies that are extremely difficult to reach. Hence, a bait boat makes the task of putting a hook bait on such spots much easier, without risking annoying tackle losses. Furthermore, Pat was set up in peg 10 and pegs 9, 8, 6 and 3 were pre-booked, so 1 had the advantage of being out of the way of angling pressure.
The weather forecast predicted broken clouds with sporadic sunshine and the chance of an occasional, potentially heavy downpour. Features-wise, peg 1 has changed dramatically since Richard completed his major excavation works. Some of the more troublesome small, dotted islands have been dragged out of the way, to merge into the central island and deeper areas have been dug out in the vicinity of mushroom island (which remains in situ). Hence, this was my first opportunity to explore some of the newly created fishing spots. Initially, it seemed that the carp were slow to capitalise on the virgin territory, but I was hopeful that the recent dramatic rise in water temperature might encourage them to venture into some of the aforementioned areas. However the preponderance of overhanging branches made casting tight to the margins of these areas somewhat challenging. Nevertheless, I succeeded in putting my LHS rod some way along the margin towards the boat house inlet. I also, managed to put my middle rod out towards the (far end) rear of mushroom island. Both rods were baited with Wet Baits KCG 18mm boilies (courtesy of Dave). As usual a PVA bag of Skretting Protec 4.5mm and 2mm pellets was nicked to the hook for tangle resistance and increased attraction. A handful of free bait was catapulted to each spot. The RHS rod was dedicated to bream catching duties, by means of a Method feeder loaded with scalded Protec pellet paste, plus a small light brown Krill dumb bell as hook bait.
No action occurred until 1.00pm when the RHS bream rod produced an unexpected 10lb 6oz Mirror, that was netted without drama. Then at 3.20pm I received an energetic take on the left hander. Unsurprisingly, it made a concerted effort to make it to the boat house channel. Sustained pressure persuaded it otherwise, but then the culprit suddenly reversed direction and within seconds the hook link had parted. Presumably it had managed to brace the end tackle against a submerged object, providing enough pressure to sheer it. A frustrating outcome, nonetheless! At 6.45pm it was the turn of the middle rod to burst into life. Unfortunately, the perpetrator forced its way over towards the central island and became solidly attached to a protruding stump. There was nothing for it, other than to run round to peg 2 to mobilise the rowing boat. Just as I commenced bailing out the copious quantities of water that had accumulated in the vessel, the heavens literally opened and huge drops of rain began cascading down upon me. Needless to say, I became soaked through to the skin in a matter of seconds. Stoically, I continued the task undaunted, picking up the relevant rod and a landing net on my way round to the offending stump. Manoeuvring the boat into optimum position close to the snag proved more difficult than expected, such that the butt end of the rod fell into the water. Nevertheless, I succeeded in following the line to the stump, whereupon I made the disappointing discovery that the carp was long gone and the hook was firmly embedded in the blackened, submerged wood.
In a somewhat forlorn condition, I made my way back to the bank to sort myself out. It was then that I made the discovery that spare clothing is all well and good, just as long as it is appropriate for the prevailing conditions. Clearly, a winter weight jacket is no substitute for a thin summer T-shirt, so I ended up sweating like a proverbial pig for the rest of the evening. In future, I will endeavour to include a spare, light weight shirt in the summer spare clothing reserves. At 8.00pm insult was added to injury as a medium sized Pike tore off with the method feeder and subsequently bit through the main line inside the landing net. Finally, at 9.35pm the middle rod burst into life. This time I managed to steer my quarry well away from the submerged stump, whereupon a spirited battle eventually produced a fine 14lb 2oz Mirror.
Night time was unexpectedly quiet for me, although Pat managed a couple during darkness and then went onto to bag up big time on the following day, when the carp finally got their heads down on his heavily baited patch. As for me, I was pleased to have caught two fine carp, but regretted losing a couple, when perhaps a different approach to playing them (e.g. walking backwards to bring them into open water sooner) might have been more successful. Oh well, you win some and you lose some!