Last minute carp

November 17, 2017 at 1:15 pm

A glorious November morning had been taken up with an organised walk around a local beauty spot, taking in the exceptional autumn colours enhanced by the bright sunshine. My wife’s mind turned to tending her winter flower garden, mine thought of all the carp that would be cruising around a shallow lake near my home, woken up by the mild spell.

Soon after a hurried lunch, I was setting up my carp rig, an ancient 12.5 ft Normark float rod with 6 lb line through to a heavy pole float, modified to be a shallow waggler, the 12 inch 3 lb hook link tied to a size 16 barbless hook. The lake is about three feet deep, with about half of it silt and have found that bread punch fished close to the surface with no weight down the line works here.

Walking to my swim, I had passed two anglers, each with a pair of rods aimed at the island. They’d had the same idea as me, that the carp would be “on”, but had so far failed to get a bite, despite pouches of pellets fired over toward the island. Every man to his own. I carried on round to where the water exits the lake, this corner usually a good holding spot, but today leaves clogged the outlet and backed up into the lake.


I squeezed up a few large balls of liquidised bread and lobbed them out in front of me, watching them break up in the air to cover an area 15 to 20 yards out, sinking slowly to settle on the mud below. There was little drift on the lake, although surface leaves kept accumulating around the line, needing to be lifted clear. After half an hour bubbles began to appear on the surface close to my float. Following another ball of bread with my float, I sat and stared at the antenna. Did it dip half an inch? Yes it did. The bait was being pushed around, the float sliding and bobbing. Come on take it! It vanished. Missed it, the 7 mm pellet of bread still intact.

Another ball, another cast, this time with a 5 mm diameter punch. A few more dips, then nothing. Brought back, the bait was gone. Back to the 7 mm punch. The bubbles continued to burst. There was still interest, the float half holding down. Missed another. The time was getting on, the earlier sun had gone behind a leadened sky. Each bite was taking 15 minutes to develope and now it was starting to drizzle with fine rain. Time to go. Beginning to put my bait away, I looked up to see the float was gone. The line was not moving. I reeled and lifted the rod. Whoa! A boil of black mud and I was backwinding furiously as a carp arrowed off to the right into the raft of leaves near the outlet. The rod took the strain as the line collected a washing line of dead leaves and twigs, dulling the kicks of the carp as it powered through the shallows, the fish turning to swim back along the wall toward me, reeling, then backwinding as it passed only feet from the bank. A nice common carp, it began to roll, but the size 16 in the corner of its mouth held and I netted it.

 One of the other anglers came round to see what all the commotion had been about, nodding in approval at the carp, but looking bemused at my unconventional rig. They were still biteless. It had been frustrating for me, I had expected more, but this one would do.