Mirror carp and skimmer bream play in the rain at Kings Pond

October 15, 2022 at 6:49 pm

My only opportunity to fish this week was forecast for intermittent rain later in the day and I figured that I could squeeze in a few hours at the prolific Farnham water, Kings Pond, before it began. Unloading the van before 11 am, heavy mist, was already turning to drizzle and by the time that I had set up my pole, the first drops of real rain were falling. There were no other anglers present and had to rely on the bailiff for a heads up on how it was fishing. “It’s been hard mate. The frost has killed it!” Brilliant. I was here now, so had to make the best of it.

Wearing plenty of thick layers, I ignored the wet stuff and got on with making up my groundbait, 60% liquidised bread, 30% ground carp pellets and 10% ground hemp, with a sprinkling of strawberry flavouring. The rain helped dampen down the mix and I formed up a couple of firm balls, which I put in alongside the lily bed to my right. At least there was little wind and I set up with a 4 x 14 fine antenna float to a size 18 barbless hook, punching out a 5 mm pellet of bread. At five metres the depth was 1.2 metres dropping off at the end of the lilies. Swinging out the rig into the drop off to fall through, a slide away bite brought a small rudd.

The rudd was the first of many. If these were feeding, then it was likely that I would prove the bailiff wrong. I bulked the shot in an effort to avoid the smaller fish going up to a 6 mm punch and had to wait for a bite, but when it came, a stronger pull on the pole, saw the landing net out for the first time with a larger, colourful rudd.

Following another ball of feed, the float dived under as a small fish hooked itself. It was a mini mirror carp.

The next bite took its time before it sank away. The elastic came out momentarily as a larger mirror made off towards the deeper water.

This little fellow packed a punch, diving for the safety of the lily bed, before being pulled into open water. It had taken 30 minutes for these recently stocked fish to find the feed, but now they were taking on the drop. I strung out the shot to allow a the bait to fall through slower and got a bite immediately, with the float half cocked. I lifted and the pole tip rapped round with the elastic following into the deeper water. The mirrors were getting bigger.

I was now getting into a rhythm, waiting for gentle dips of the antenna to progress to a rapid move away, before sinking out of sight. Once hooked these carp exploded into life, running for deeper water. They fought furiously, rushing all over the swim, until they gave in to the heavy elastic, often swimming straight into the awaiting landing net. Each time the tiny size 18 hook barbless held firm.

I now had two strange bites, that dithered around with the float, lifting and dropping the antenna. I thought small roach, crucians, or bream. The first lift bite I missed, with the bait gone. The second I waited for the float to move off and under. Missed again with the bait still there. Small bubbles were rising and I dropped the float among them. More dithering and a slow move off, but I waited until the float had faded into the coloured water. Contact!  After an initial rattling fight, a silver flank broke the surface and a decent skimmer bream was soon sliding across the surface to the net.

A smaller skimmer bream followed, as did heavier spots of rain and I reached for my waterproof jacket. The jacket has very stiff material and I struggled to get my left arm into the sleeve, bearing in mind that I was already wearing long sleeved thermals, a woolly shirt, a thick jacket with a collar and a zipped up hoody, with the hood over my cap. I finally got my left hand into the sleeve, rotating on the spot, as I tried for deeper penetration, fighting to work the heavy camo jacket over my back. This effort seemed to take an age and worthy of inclusion in the You’ve Been Framed TV programme!

At last I was back on my tackle box, laying the sides of the jacket to cover the two side trays, one with the all important bread for the punch. I put in another ball of feed and replaced the punch bread with a fresh one from the wallet in my bait apron, which was also doing a good job of keeping my legs dry.

At last I was fishing again and playing another nice mirror. This was turning into a good session, the bream had been pushed out, or more likely the mirrors were getting there first.

The shower was over as quickly as it had arrived, a patch of blue with sunshine taking its place. The jacket came off far quicker than it went on. It was very restrictive of movement and celebrated with yet another mirror.

Here we go again, it was tipping down as black clouds filled the far horizon. The jacket was on quickly this time, the stiff material having kept the shape of my arms.

The first of three small commons fought it’s way to the landing net, these streamlined carp giving an even better account of themselves, than the mirrors. Next year should be interesting, once they put on a bit more weight.

As the rain hammered on my hood, the float almost disappeared as the rain lashed down and I needed to watch the line for movement. More than one carp hooking itself.

Staring out from the hood, I felt that I was in a cocoon, remote from the pond. At least the rain was warm and the float kept going down, regular balls of feed keeping the fish concentrated into a small area, competing for the offerings from above.

Another decent skimmer bream made it through to the bread bait, taking on the drop, laying the float flat, then moving off to the deeper water on the strike. This one fought well despite a stab wound to the back by a heron.

My eyes were constantly on the sky to the west, looking for a break in the clouds, the forecast for intermittent showers should have read continuous. I’d had my fun and was ready to go home.

This big skimmer eased the pressure to leave, splashing on the surface, when it took mid water, then rushing off against the elastic, the hook keeping hold in the top lip. More mirrors and another small common carp helped the wait for the eventual dry spell. Sitting on my box with everything protected from the rain was bearable, packing up in the rain is not. I was able to dry the sections of the pole and not rush packing my box. I hate fishing in the rain!

A soggy bait tray evidence of a busy session.

The afternoon began slowly, then became relentless, a bit like the rain.