To be honest, I've always found May and early June to be distinctly "Hit & Miss" in the carp catching stakes.
Certainly, I have many memories of being sat behind motionless bite indicators whilst indecisive carp mull over the question of whether to 'spawn or not to spawn'. This is especially the case where there are brief periods of tantalisingly warm sunshine interspersed by contrasting colder periods, when the sun disappears behind thick clouds. Under such conditions (humanly speaking), one minute a woolly jumper is required and the next a T-shirt is more appropriate. Without question, in the case of carp with potential sex in mind, feeding appears to be remarkably low on their list of priorities and there is very little that a frustrated angler can do to change things.By the same token I have also experienced some amazing hauls of carp, prior to spawning when stable sunny conditions have prevailed. A couple of years ago I caught 24 carp in a day session at Barlow lakes and went on to repeat the exercise a week or so later. Furthermore, a certain celebrity angler (who shall remain nameless) once caught more than 30 carp from Wetlands peg 10 on a daytime session in the run up to spawning. Anyway, whatever glories might lurk in the past, the sad fact was that since 1st May, I had not caught a single Wetlands carp and my confidence levels had dropped through the floor. Granted, I had been away on holiday on one of the Mondays concerned, and I had avoided another, as it was a busy Bank Holiday, but a carp-less summertime month is hard to swallow. When I arrived at Wetlands on Monday at 7.00 am, I was pleasantly surprised to find only one other angler present (on peg 7) and I was particularly keen to locate carp before making a peg choice. According to the weather forecast, I could expect low pressure and a blustery south westerly wind. Sure enough, the most obvious signs of fish activity were right in front of peg 7 and the wind was blowing directly into the adjacent corner. Nevertheless, the angler concerned was present for a day session only, so I figured that if I dropped into peg 8, I would be able to put one rod across into the corner bay over night. Knowing that I would have to sit on my hands until evening, before this prime opportunity materialised, I opted to put 3 rods into fairly standard positions for the daytime hours. Hence, the left hand rod put a bait 40 yds out in the direction of peg 4; the middle rod covered the spot at the end of the right hand peninsula; and the right hand rod (a designated bream rod) was simply given an underarm cast into the right hand bay area. The bream rod bore the customary method feeder (loaded with scalded pellet paste) baited with a small blood worm dumb bell on a size 10 hook. The other two rods were baited with double 18 mm blood worm boilies on a 6 inch braided hook link, to a size 8 Krank hook. A PVA mesh bag of Robin Red pellets was nicked on to each hook for tangle resistance and additional attraction. It soon became apparent that the majority of fish activity was bream related. Not surprisingly, this theory was supported by action on the bream rod. Throughout the course of the day, it produced enough bream and large roach to make my (match sized) keep net feel rather heavy, when I later transferred its contents to the match lake. By early evening, the peg 6 angler had packed up (without catching) and Wayne and Pat had joined me on the lake in pegs 3 and 5 respectively. To his credit Pat Pat managed to winkle one out (a 12 lb ghostie) on a short zig rig.As soon as peg 7 became vacant , I reeled in my middle rod and used my bait boat to re-position it in the left hand corner only a foot or so out from the margin. Not long before darkness descended Richard came round to my peg with some Wetlands special 18 mm trial boilies. I chose the Crab, Shellfish, Krill and Robin Red version to try out and switched over to them on the rod at 40 yards out towards peg 4. I used a throwing stick to scatter approximately 20 free baits around the target area. At 5 minutes past mid night, it was the trial bait that finally came up trumps. The take was a twitchy, tentative one that I thought was yet another bream. There wasn't much to convince me otherwise until I drew it into the shallower water in front of me. At this point it went mental, ploughing back and forth for 5 minutes or so until it finally gave in and was duly scooped into the landing net. It turned out to be a very pale lightly scaled Mirror of 14 lb 2 oz. At 03.15 am the same rod produced an almost identical, feeble bite indication followed by shallow margin gymnastics. This time though a rather better looking, Linear Mirror tipped the scales at 14 lb 4 oz. Consequently, I packed up at 6.00 am, much happier for having broken a frustrating run of blank sessions. Hopefully, as the summer progresses, the carp will begin to feed with rather more conviction than they have done, thus far. As ever the only predictable aspect of carp fishing is its inherent unpredictability.