Carp reward last resort

January 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Finding a few hours when it wasn’t teeming with rain, or blowing a gale, sometimes both, put a block on my sporting efforts this week. A shooting expedition saw me holed up in a farmhouse kitchen drinking tea, while I waited for an unforecasted storm to pass, giving up when the biscuits came out. Supposed dry days turned out to be wet, while the wet ones were.  At last a day came where heavy morning rain was driven away by a gusting cold wind, with bright sunshine and I ventured out, first to my local river, where, as expected, it was rushing through level with the bank, then backtracking to the lake that I had fish last week. Here the level was up by about a foot, the balance pond absorbing the flash flood water of the stream that flows into it. The eastern side now transformed into a slow moving river, whipped by the wind. With houses set on a high bank, the western side was in the lee and the surface relatively calm.

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The water was now a mucky brown, not very encouraging, but the sun was still shining along this bank and I decided to give it an hour, setting up a hundred yards from the car park. Unlike last week, there were no cruising carp, the air temperature well down and the influx of fresh cold water bringing the change. The same rig went onto the Normark twelve and a half footer, 6 lb line to a 14 barbless under a chunky pellet waggler, which as it turned out was right for the windy conditions, but wrong for the now fussy carp. I mashed up some white bread slices and threw the balls out toward the island, the floating crusts ignored by fish and ducks alike, casting the punch baited rig into the area. After 10 minutes without a movement, I was getting restless, then the float dipped and popped back up a second later. I waited for another five minutes and reeled back in to find the bread gone. Another cast, another wait. The float disappeared and I sat looking at an empty space, before it registered on my brain, striking just as it popped up again. Fish were active, but only sucking at the bait. Was it only small rudd? Next cast, I studied the float intensely, it gave two sharp bobs and I struck. Bang! The line went solid, then V’d off toward the island, running round to the left, a good fish. Backwinding to ease the initial run, the rod took the strain, turning the fish into open water, stirring up the black mud in clouds and collecting a couple of twigs on the way back to the net.

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Well worth the visit, this fat 6 lb common carp literally took my breath away, running left and right in the shallow water, a cup of reviving tea needed before I was able to rebait, then cast back to the area. Bubbles were now beginning to break the surface and I wet, then mashed another slice, the ball disintegrating on contact.

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Punching out three 7 mm pellets and squeezing them onto the size 14 forged hook, the point was covered, giving the fish plenty to suck on, which they were obviously doing, without running off with the bait in true carp fashion. I looked in my box for a float that would be more sensitive, while carrying weight for casting and stability, coming up with a couple of candidates, but opted to stay with what was working, intending to strike at any prolonged activity.

Well into my second hour, the sun had sunk behind the houses and the cold was creeping into my bones. The bobbing bites had kept my interest, I’d missed several and hit another decent carp only to lose it close in. A couple of sharp taps of the float resulted in a strike that made contact again, this time a more manageable common of around 3 lbs. This one was enough for me and with a warm home beckoning less than half a mile away, I packed up.

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These carp are all built like battleships and in perfect condition, the lake among the houses, a little gem enjoyed by just a few local anglers, who are aware of it’s presence. With my preferred local water still fenced off undergoing work by the council, this is high on my list for another visit soon.