24Hr Session, Wetlands Peg 2 - Wednesday 17/07 to Thursday 18/07
Occasionally, peg choice is entirely out of our hands, in consequence of the number of anglers present on the lake. Interestingly, that's not always a bad thing. On more than the odd occasion, serendipity (defined as: "the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance") has played its part in facilitating memorable carp captures on my behalf. Would this week's session fall into this category? Such was my thinking as I turned up at Wetlands this week. Unusually, it was a Wednesday not my usual Monday (I'd had an early morning practice and gig on Tuesday morning in Sheffield). What's more, the specimen lake was abnormally crowded, with pegs 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 & 3 already occupied. Due to the current water levels , peg 1 is awkward to fish, so effectively this left peg 2 as the only realistic option. Nevertheless, Dean reported seeing plenty of carp activity in peg 2 during the previous 24 hours, so it seemed like a reasonable prospect, even though the choice had been made for me. Encouragingly, I could see a few small carp under the trees to the left, as soon as I set foot on its banks. From time to time, more carp became visible in the main body of water, as they traversed from one side to the other, just below the surface. Quite possibly, I should have gone in with 3 zig rigs set high in the water, but as ever, I didn't have the confidence to go for it. Instead, I went with the usual bottom bait approach. I justified my action by reminding myself that the present hazy sunshine was predicted to give way to rain later in the day. Accordingly, the left hand rod was used to place a bait on the fringe of the overhanging trees and the rod was fished "locked up". The middle rod was used to cast a bait 40 yards or so straight ahead into the main bay, whereas the right hand rod placed one to the back of the right hand bay. In each case the hook bait comprised double, hardened, Nash Key boilies, nicked into a PVA mesh bag of 4 and 2 mm pellets. Around each spot I catapulted a spread of Mainline Active 8 18 mm boilies as free feed. By midday, I was beginning to think that I chosen the wrong tactics and very nearly talked myself into changing to a zig based approach. My persistence was seemingly rewarded at 12.30 pm when the right hand rod tightened up, leaving the indicator suspended at the top of its travel. When it vibrated and let out another bleep, I lifted the rod tip and after retrieving some line found myself attached to a rather energetic, angry carp, which suddenly made a dash for the small dot islands bordering peg 3. All I could do was to hang on, refusing to give it any line and hope that the hook didn't pull under the strain. Thankfully, after 30 seconds of stale mate, it allowed me to ease it back towards me. As it neared the bank, it thrashed around in the shallow margin water until it tired sufficiently to scoop it into the net. A fine Mirror subsequently recorded a weight of 14lb 12oz and I returned it to its watery home. Naturally, I was pleased to be off the mark, bearing in mind that the fishing had apparently been rather slow during the previous week. The forecast rain came punctually around 5.00 pm, accompanied by a blustery wind that blew spots of rain into the bank side hut. Unfortunately, I had made the decision not to erect my bivvy, choosing, instead to place my bed chair in the hut. All the same, I couldn't be bothered to retrieve it from the car and erect it in the rain, so I resigned myself to little dampness overnight. At 5.30 pm the cooling effect of the rain may have triggered a feeding response, as the left hand rod was violently yanked by a bolting carp. The handle was flipped out of the rubber gripper and the butt ring slammed into the bite alarm. I caught the handle in mid air and promptly put the rod under full curvature. In hindsight I should have started walking backwards immediately, but instead I pause in shock and paid the price of hesitation. The carp crashed on the surface before disappearing under the leafy canopy. Alas, after a few seconds the hook came flying back towards me, devoid of lead and worse still, devoid of carp. After that, all went quiet apart from the constant patter of rain and I eventually retired to my bed chair, fully expecting an undisturbed night of sleep. At 02.10 am, I was awakened by an absolute one note screamer of a take on the middle rod. Instinctively, I threw my legs out of bed forgetting that there was an extra 1 foot drop in consequence of the bed chair being perched on the very edge of the wooden floor. Stunned by the unexpected fall, I tumbled into a heap and hurriedly picked myself up in order to grab the still screaming rod. By this time the culprit had ventured further into peg 1 water than I would have wanted. Further more, a grating sensation was transmitted up the taught line as I pumped it back towards me. Much to my relief, my quarry freed itself and I drew it into close quarters. Once again, the carp went mental in the shallow water beneath my feet. Worse still, it took several attempts to scoop up what was obviously a decent sized fish into a net in extremely shallow water. I heaved my prize onto the bank along with a bucketful of ghastly green slime. My attempts a cleaning its body on the unhooking cradle were not wholly successful and I photographed a rather filthy looking Miirror, before weighing it at a very acceptable 20lb 2oz. The next morning I woke to further drizzly rain, but who cares? I had bagged a couple of decent carp including a desirable 20lb specimen from an unpopular peg in the rain. Serendipity had undoubtedly played a major part, once again.