One aspect of carp fishing that never fails to astound me, is the way that a hooked carp seems to instinctively know exactly which direction to race off in, in order to avoid being netted. It's as if they have received weeks of intensive training via an escapology masterclass. Certainly, if there is the even the remotest possibility of deploying some part of their surroundings to facilitate freedom, they will find it with unerring accuracy, be it the corner of an island, an overhanging branch or a sundry, submerged object. I have lost count of the number of times that a well hooked carp has miraculously substituted itself for a discarded branch, or some other, equally obnoxious inanimate object. What's more, a carp hooked in open water is very far from being a foregone netted conclusion. Under such circumstances our quarry is highly likely to kite very rapidly to the right or left and maintain that trajectory come what may. The end result is that we find ourselves in a bizarre race against time, as we strive desperately to gain sufficient line, to prevent our adversary from finding sanctuary up our own bank side feature, so to speak. I mention this because this week I witnessed the phenomenon of advanced escape tactics no less than three times in succession. All will become clear.
Anyway, having experienced a frustrating blank session two weeks ago, followed by a holiday week away, I needed the reassurance of a decent carp haul. However, there appeared to be a number of distinct challenges. Firstly, the weather man had given warning of a cool north westerly wind, together with cloudier conditions. Additionally, pegs 10 and 9 were already taken by Wayne and Pat respectively, and a couple of other anglers seemed to be laying claim to pegs 3, and 5.
With this in mind, I had a good look at pegs 7 and 8. It didn't take long to work out that peg 6 was on the receiving end of a cool wind whereas peg 8 was fairly calm and unruffled. Furthermore, plenty of bream activity was visible, especially over towards the right hand peninsula. So, in the hope that bream activity might also mean carp activity, I parked up and unloaded the gear. Whilst I'm very aware that Wetlands carp tend to avoid being on the end of a cold wind in winter, this isn't always the case in summer.
Accordingly, I followed standard procedure and went for 3 established and widely spaced hot spots. With no anglers present on pegs 6 and 7, I was able to use my left hand rod to put a bait in the far left hand corner. The middle rod covered an open water spot 40 yards, directly out in front. The right hand rod (dedicated to bream removal duties), was fished method-style and simply given a short underarm cast down the right hand margin. The left and middle rods were baited with double 18mm Nash Key boilies on a simple braided rig. Around each spot I scattered 20 or so Krill boilies from the Wetlands range. I prefer to use hardened baits on the hook itself, to prevent them from being whittled down by nuisance fish, but I have no qualms about using much softer boilies as loose feed. Before long I was catching bream after bream from the right hand rod (and transferring them repeatedly to the match lake), such that it took ages to get my bivvy erected,
At 12.00 midday a small Common carp joined the bream party and was also treated to a new home in the match lake. Then, at 12.50pm, soon after bream activity had subsided, it was the turn of the middle rod to signal a significant back drop. By the time I had wound in enough line to make contact with what was obviously an angry carp, it had kited a considerable distance to the right and showed no sign of slowing down. Not surprisingly, I started winding much faster and only just succeeded in halting it's progress before it reached the end of the peninsula to my right. Once it reached the shallow water beneath my feet it ploughed backwards and forwards, playing havoc with my other lines. Eventually, I coaxed it into the waiting net and hauled it onto the bank. A magnificent near Linear Mirror gleamed on the unhooking cradle and tipped the scales at 22lb 2oz. Pat very kindly did the honours with my camera and after returning the beast I put the rod back on its spot. At 15.30pm the same rod rattled off and once I had lifted the rod tip it did exactly the same as the previous carp, namely kite rapidly to the right. Hence the fight was virtually a carbon copy of the previous one. This time though, a fine 18lb 2oz Common was responsible. At 17.00pm the middle rod once again signalled a rapid take followed by identical shenanigans from what turned out to be a 16lb 4oz Common. Finally, at 20.15pm the rod fished to the left hand corner gave a stuttery indication, before the attached carp gained sanctuary under overhanging trees. Much to my relief, I managed to coax it out and subsequently with no further drama I added an 11lb 10oz Common to my tally. After that, the skies cleared and the temperature plummeted before nightfall, so that no further action ensued. Hence I retired early and enjoyed an uninterrupted nights sleep before waking to a surprisingly cold morning. All the same, it had been a most enjoyable session with 5 carp caught to a maximum of 22lb 2oz.
I only hope that future weeks bring more of the same.