In spite of the recent and persistent heat wave, my last two sessions have been unexpectedly productive. The abundance of wild fowl at Wetlands means that surface fishing is not allowed, but catching carp off the bottom in temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius can be a tall order. In my experience, success often comes at a price in hot weather, and I'm not just referring to temperature related discomfort. On my second outing there was quite literally a sting in the tail, as will become clear.
I normally fish on Monday mornings, through to Tuesday morning, but last week's session had to be delayed until Thursday due to an important musical engagement. Surprisingly, the lake was uncharacteristically quiet for a Thursday morning, when I pulled up in vacant peg 9. Amazingly, I immediately spotted signs of carp presence. Several were cruising slowly backwards and forwards near the end of the left hand peninsula. Others were circling in open water, around 20 yards out from the bank. Also, I'd been reliably informed that the right hand bays had produced five twenty pound carp for Pat during a recent 72 hour stint. Accordingly, a cunning game plan was soon conceived. Three areas were heavily baited with 18mm Wet Baits Tuna boilies and Skretting 10mm Course pellets. The former were delivered via throwing stick and the latter by catapult from the nearest point on the bank. Three rods, each bearing a single boilie and PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm pellets, were duly dispatched to the target areas. From left to right, the areas chosen included: the area near the peninsula; a spot just 20 yards out from the bank; and a small bay to the right.
The resident carp continued their surface excursions throughout the morning with no tell-tale bubbles to suggest that they might venture below for a bit of a feed. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when at 12.15pm the peninsula rod went into meltdown with a sudden take. As expected, the culprit attempted to get round the back of the peninsula into peg 8 water. Fortunately, after a few heart stopping moments, sustained pressure prevailed and the remainder of the battle went smoothly resulting in an 11lb 10oz Mirror. At 3.55pm the same rod produced a fine 16lb 4oz Linear Mirror, followed at 5.05pm by a 16lb 10oz Common. Only 10 minutes later, the middle rod came into play with a 13lb 0oz Common. At 6.05pm the right hand bay rod burst into life, but alas, the hook pulled early on in the fight. Then at 6.30pm the left hand and middle rods both registered a run simultaneously. Thankfully, I managed to bundle a 13lb 4oz Linear Mirror from the peninsula area into the net before making contact with a 13lb 4oz Mirror from the middle area. At 7.45pm, I finally managed to bank a carp from the right hand bay, namely a 14lb 12oz Common. Then at 8.05pm and 8.25pm I lost two carp in quick succession to hook pulls. The first was from the middle area and the second from the right hand bay. Sadly, the bay fish felt and appeared to be a much heavier carp which fell off at the net. Thereafter, I had to wait until 11.00pm before my carp catching account was closed for the session with a 14lb 4oz Mirror from the right hand bay. At least I got an uninterrupted night's sleep and departed the next morning feeling well satisfied with the outcome.
The next session started on Monday morning, as usual, but turned out to be a distinct departure from normal. At Richard's request, I spent the morning fishing in the stock pond adjacent to his house, to remove some of the carp hatchlings that had now grown big enough to be introduced into the match lake. Not surprisingly, the task was not difficult, given the naïve nature of the fish concerned and I eventually transferred a net full of small carp into their new home.
Before my diversion to the stock pond, I had hastily selected a peg for my main session. I have to confess that the choice was influenced more by nearness to the stock pond than anything else. Having said that, I had fancied another crack at peg 9, but found it to be occupied. Accordingly, peg 10 was claimed and I set about introducing a bit of bait, before departing for stock pond duties. As before, three areas were selected for baiting with a combination of Wet Bait Tuna fish boilies and Skretting 10mm Course pellets. From left to right, the areas comprised: the area to the left of mushroom island; a spot to the left of the dot island; and the right hand bay.
Midday had slipped well past, by the time I returned to peg 10 for proper carp fishing. It took me quite a while to get all three rods accurately on their spots. Naturally, each was baited with a single 18mm Wet Baits Tuna boilie and PVA mesh bag of Skretting 4.5mm Protec pellets. I was hoping that as a result of leaving my pre-bated my spots with no lines in the water, carp might have been encouraged to feed upon them unhindered. Nevertheless, I still had to wait until 3.15pm before any action occurred. First away was the middle rod next to the dot island. Inevitably, the offender did it's best to get round the corner of the boat house channel and almost succeeded in doing so. Thankfully, after some initial grating of the line, I managed to lead my adversary back into open water and complete the fight successfully. A 13lb 12oz Common eventually joined me on the bank. At 3.35pm the rod covering the right hand bay signaled a very fast take; so fast in fact that I lost the carp concerned around the back of the protruding corner. And then, at 4.20pm I had a take on the dot island rod, followed seconds later by another take from the right hand bay. Inevitably, by the time I had landed a magnificent 18lb 12oz Mirror, the carp attached to the bay rod had long since made it's escape.
At 6.10pm, I once again had a simultaneous double take. Miraculously, I managed to net a 17lb 12oz Mirror from mushroom island and go on to tame a 14lb 0oz Mirror from dot island. What a relief! At 8.10pm I received the last take of the day in the shape of a 15lb 8oz Mirror from mushroom island. No further runs transpired until 6.00am when a magnificent 19lb Mirror succumbed to the dot island rod.
Now you might think that the lack of overnight action afforded me a decent night's sleep. Unfortunately that was not the case; far from it! In the first place, it must have been one of the warmest, most humid nights of the year, highly non-conducive to sleep. Secondly, it became apparent that, at some time during the day, I had been severely bitten by rogue ants, that had managed to infiltrate my trouser legs. Both knees displayed multiple red spots that swelled up and itched like crazy! Finally, (and not forgetting the stinging nettle rashes that already covered my bare arms), the moment I entered my bivvy, a swarm of Mosquitoes decided to invade my personal space, hoping for a juicy meal. What a tortuous situation followed! I had omitted to bring any insect repellent, antihistamine cream or netting and it was far too hot to take refuge inside my sleeping bag. In the end, I resorted to covering my head and chest with a thin jacket, having dispensed with my sweat soaked T-shirt. The high pitched sound of buzzing mosquitoes serenaded me for several hours before sleep eventually rescued me from my sweltering, neurotic state.
In hindsight, better preparation would have spared me some of the insect induced agony, but all the same, in purely carp fishing terms, I'd engineered a great result, with 14 carp caught (to 19lbs) and 5 lost over one and a half productive daytime periods. What more could a humble carp angler wish for?