Carp substitute for last day chub

March 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm

The last day of the coarse fishing season was all planned out, buy a white loaf from the local supermarket, whizz it through the food processor, having saved a few slices for hook bait and drive the ten miles to a free stretch of a small river, where big chub are the target. Recent floods had kept me away, but today the sun was bright and the meandering river would have fined down enough for trotting a bread bait through some of it’s deep pools, which also hold some nice roach at this time of the year. Setting off, the van got to the end of the road and stopped. Restarted, it reached the next roundabout and stopped again. My anticipation was disappearing fast as I struggled to keep the engine going at the traffic lights. There was nothing for it, but to abandon the mission and return home, the engine dying again as I drove onto my drive.

All you petrol heads out there will be shouting “Idle control valve!” Yes I know too, but by the time the offending item had been located, stripped and cleaned out with carb cleaner, and the van test driven, the sun was already dropping in the sky. If I was going to fish, it had to be close and where better than the duck pond with it’s fat, bread fed carp? The mums were out in force feeding the ducks and I walked to a deserted area of bank within casting distance of a small weir, which drains water from the surrounding housing estate.

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Before setting up, the coarse crumb intended for chub, was mixed with ground carp pellets and water, the soft balls thrown in a line from the outlet twenty yards away, the geese and ducks concentrating on the free offerings being presented on the other side of the island. The rig was simple, a 3 AA peacock waggler attached to a foot of 4 lb line with a size 14 barbless.

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Casting out, I settled down to wait for a bite, pleased to be fishing at last, all be it far from the intended river and those winter chub. A bitterly cold east wind was blowing in my face and now was aware of the heavy clothing discarded to work on the van in the sheltered sunshine of the driveway, not replacing it in my haste to get fishing. Time to call home. My wonderful wife answered and agreed to walk over with a thick hoody, just as the float sank from view. Missed it! I was probably on my fourth missed bite, when the cavalry arrived, baring extra clothing and a custard tart to improve my mood. My wife didn’t stay long, we were now in the shade of the houses behind and it was getting colder. I agreed that I needed my brains tested to be sitting there and she left, the float sinking away minutes after, to be met by the satisfying sight of the rod bent double, as a powerful fish ran for the island. This was what I came for and countered each run with a backwind, the carp’s scales standing out in the sunlight, when it rolled.

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These carp are like barrels and in perfect fighting trim, the hook dropping from a tenuous hold in the outside of it’s lip. I am sure they do not need the food, but enjoy playing with the pellet of bread, getting caught being the occasional hazard of their sport of exasperating the angler. Returning this carp, I was surrounded by curious school girls, who for a minute broke away from their chatter to take selfies with the strange old man and his fish, before continuing home.

Cheered by the interlude, I recast only to miss another bite as I settled the rod. They were on the 6 mm punched bread, as soon as the float settled, the tip dipping and jarring, often to be ignored for minutes on end afterwards. The rig would be retrieved with the bait still on the hook, but would come off with the slightest wipe of my finger. This game continued, the float holding down with the line tightening, unmissable. Strike. Nothing there. The float was still illuminated by the sun, but I was being chilled by the wind in the shade. A smaller hook and pellet may have worked, but all I now wanted was another fish and to go home.

At last the rod went over and I was into a much smaller common that began zigzagging it’s way toward the landing net, making a last gasp dive beneath it, just to keep me on my toes.als 001

Honour regained, I slipped this two pounder back and hastily packed up, pausing to remember previous last days of the coarse season over the years, most of them sunny and warm. Walking to the van, I stopped to take a picture of a harbinger of spring, wild primroses, their pale yellow flowers shining out from along the path.

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