Sidelined from any form of physical effort, due to a damaged tendon in my fishing arm, I was finally free of it’s protective sling and under advice from the doctor to begin some moderate exercise this week. With this in mind, I emptied my tackle box of all but my pole fishing essentials, loaded up the trolley and set off on foot toward the local pond. The weather forecaster on TV, had just assured me that it would be mainly dry with the odd spit and spot of rain, so in the interests of a light load, the waterproofs had been evicted from my bag to be replaced by a once shower proof jacket.
Two other anglers sat side by side in my intended spot and I moved twenty yards round the bend, where there were gaps in a weed bed, although in front of me was a solid wall of greenery and brambles. Also turfed out of the tackle box had been a sturdy pair of secateurs, leaving me with only a 2 inch bladed penknife to cut an opening through the tangled jungle. Fortunately, during my enforced recuperation, a review of my tackle had relieved a couple of hours of boredom, during which this usually blunt knife, won many years ago at a Christmas Match, had been honed on a stone to a dangerous level of sharpness. Making short work of the green saplings and more stubborn brambles, 15 minutes with the knife produced a hole large enough for the pole, which coincided with the spits and spots of rain turning into a steady downpour.
Rough bread crumb, hempseed and a bag of sweet corn had been retrieved from the freezer before lunch, the combination now added to ground fish pellets to make a soft ground bait, ideal for this shallow pond, with four good balls lobbed 8 metres out to the edge of the weed bed. With immediate effect, rudd were splashing on the surface mopping up the larger pieces of still floating bread, which allowed time to set up my stall, selecting a small home made waggler rig with the hook line to hand on the top three sections. The hook was a size 14 barbless, just right for sweetcorn.
By the time I was ready to fish, the surface seemed clear of rudd, but the float sliding across the surface said otherwise and I lifted into a better specimen, that skated into the weeds, throwing the hook. Half a dozen smaller rudd stayed on long enough to be swung to hand, before a cast that saw the float settle and sink to the tip. It bobbed, then lifted a fraction, to moved slowly away and under, a classic carp bite. The strike was met by a rapid, elastic stripping run into weed on my left and keeping an angle on the pole, fed it back behind, where the high bank forced me to unship two sections, then another two, as the common carp was drawn toward the bank. Now with the top three sections in hand, the 12-18 elastic did it’s work and the pound fish was guided to the net.
Next cast, a similar bite, another carp in the weeds, but this time just a bunch of weed, the hook being dumped. Back in, a dithering bite resulted in the juddering fight of a decent crucian carp, that was soon in the net, the hook only in the skin of the lip.
Bubbles were now popping up among the raindrops and the fish had their heads down, intercepting the sweetcorn on the drop, as I had slid the shot up around the base of the float. Next out was another small common, still fighting when the hook was removed.
I now lost three crucians on the trot. They were gliding away with the corn, only lightly hooked and twisting off, even against the elastic, the hook falling out of the next, once the pressure was off in the net.
I cut off the barbless and tied on a size 14 whisker barb hook, my wet hands coping with the whip knot more by muscle memory ,than anything else. This did the trick and even the lightest penetration held.
This carp had a massive fan tail, testament to the mix of fish in the pond. I also caught a few small tench, like a bar of wet soap, they slip through the fingers, writhing with the strength of fish much larger, unable to capture a picture for the camera. The rain kept falling, while crucians were first to the bait.
This was the best crucian carp; of around a pound, it made it to the weed bed, coming in festooned with the stuff, the fish not having a scale out of place. By 5:30 pm, the rain had soaked through to my back and arms, deciding that the next fish would be my last, being rewarded by another clonker.
The other two anglers had packed up soon after the rain had started, watching me for a while, before heading off to their cars. Fishing maggots, they had been plagued by small rudd, plus the odd good one, but had no carp. I bet they have some corn next time. Pulling in my keepnet, I could hear that I had a decent bag, the net bouncing my 15 lb scales.