Back to basics for carp in the local pond.

June 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

Nestled between the railway line to London and houses bordering the local recreation ground, is a small pond, where mothers take their children to feed the ducks, unaware of the monsters, that swim among the lily pads. Fed by a small stream, flowing from a much larger lake and inaccessible by road, this 100 yard long pool remains untested, apart from those anglers prepared to travel light. I’d discovered this hidden gem, while on a scenic walk to the neighbourhood Tesco, the glint of water through the trees, gaining my attention.

Being a quarter of a mile from my house, it is an easy walk and with a trolley to take my tackle box, I only need to carry a landing net and  a pole. Being a fly angler, this style of fishing suits my mood, being that it can be done on a whim. A can of sweet corn, or luncheon meat is usually on hand at home for an instant bait supply. Bread also works well here, but also attracts the nibbling smaller rudd, while I prefer the larger common and crucian carp, these fish happy to take any bait, unlike the hard pressed commercial fisheries visited by the majority of fishermen these days. On this occasion my bait needs were satisfied from the freezer, boiled hemp seed and cubed luncheon meat from a previous outing, thawed in a saucepan by boiling water, had me ready in minutes.

Being mid afternoon, I set up beside a shade giving tree, the late June sun giving blasts of unaccustomed heat, whenever it appeared from behind the clouds. The swim was edged by lilies, which grow out to the edge of a deeper channel in the shallow pond, about a metre at it’s deepest. My aim was to feed an area with hemp seed, eight metres out towards the drop off and along the lilies, with the occasional free offering of luncheon meat loose fed from time to time. I had two flavours of luncheon meat, termeric and strawberry, the prepared cubes having been placed in bags, a spoon full of each flavouring added and shaken, coating the cubes. These had been done on my previous outing and were well infused. My float rig was a simple affair, a dibber float cocked by two BB shot, with a No 6 down the line, 150 mm from the size 14 barbless hook.

Having fed the area as I set up my tackle, it was no surprise, when the float zoomed away on my first cast, with a 2 oz rudd hooking itself. I continued to keep a steady supply of feed going in and after about a dozen rudd, the float slid slowly away in the direction of the lilies, followed by the bright orange elastic stretching out, when I lifted into a good sized common carp, which broached on the other side of the bed. This was a an untested top two pole section, with heavy 16-18 elastic and decided to hold the pole at right angles to the carp, pulling hard through the lily bed, letting the elastic do the work. This was a mistake, the fish gave another lunge and the hook pulled out. With the pond so shallow, the carp go away at tremendous speed, unable to use their weight in deep water. I resolved next time to follow the fish through it’s run, with the pole, to reduce the load on the hook.

I didn’t have long to wait to test my theory, a bit more feed and the float sank out of  sight to be met by solid resistance, the elastic tracing the path of the fleeing carp. This time I followed with my pole, reducing the pressure, the fish cutting  through the lily bed in seconds to come out on the other side. As the elastic reduced in length, so I brought back my pole, until the chunky common carp was in the open water in front of me. Feeding the main length of pole behind me, I detached the top 3 metres and played the fish on the elastic to the net.

 More  commons followed, I still lost a couple of nice fish, despite my efforts, two 4lb hook links snapping like cotton, when the elastic shot out to it’s limit on possible double figure fish. An hour in, the bites changed as a shoal of crucian carp moved onto my feed, gone was the steady sinking away of my float, to be replaced by bobs and lifts as they played cat and mouse with the bait. The crucians seemed to prefer the strawberry flavoured meat, lifting the bait off the bottom, along with the No 6 shot and sucking the small cubes, the float rising slightly each time. A strike would often result in a bump and no fish, or a short stabbing fight before the fish came off. This did not put them off, and I landed more than I missed, most hooks dropping out in the landing net, these 6 to 8 oz crucians scrapping hard. I was still being bothered by rudd, but some were a reasonable size, my best being fin perfect at around 8 oz.

A lone tench gave a solid fight, but it was the crucian carp that made the running, with the occasional common rushing off to provide a bit of excitement and a few Oooos and Aaaahs from a varied gallery of onlookers, that had gathered, or were passing along the raised ground behind me. The warm evening had brought everyone out to enjoy their particular pastime, but at eight o’clock, with the bites still coming, I called a halt on mine and pulled in my keepnet, accompanied by a few gasps of my audience. I’d only kept the  carp and the scales swung round to show over 18 lbs in the net, so including those roach and rudd thrown back, over 20 lbs in four hours was good going from such a small pond.