Friday, 30 April 2010

Learning Curve

Friday 30th April, bank holiday weekend so rain was imminent! I left work at the usual 12:30pm, hit the tackle shop and supermarket and on for the M3. Just before the A34 turn off I hit tail backs, after a while of not really getting anywhere I started to move only getting hampered by more queues for the rest of the journey. I finally pulled into the car par at 3pm to find 7 other cars present. It was obvious that with the bank holiday it would be busy. I did have a few spots in mind but didn’t hold much hope of getting one.
Over the bridge I saw that Common Corner and Lazymans were unoccupied, pushing on Birches and The Point had anglers in so I carried on round hoping Golf Tee’s or NF’s were empty. Luck had it Golf Tee’s was empty so I dropped my bivvy in there and stood watching the water for a few minutes. I looked across to the Beach and NF’s which were both occupied, just then a Carp crashed out just in front of my island, that’ll do nicely!

I returned to the car to grab the rest of the gear. Back in the swim it started to rain a little so I quickly set up the house and crammed everything inside. I had a feel around with the marker rod and found quite a bit of weed out in front but clearer areas by the island so I tied up 2 chods and cast these as close as I could. The third rod was flicked to a nice clean just the right hand margin with a handful of freebies over the top.

My Swim
Five pm and the rods were finally fishing. Just then Stewi arrived; he had his eye on Nigels. We had a cuppa and my margin rod let out a few bleeps. I ran out to the rod but it was just a liner, good start though. The sky was full of big grey clouds, rain was definitely on its way but I had my waterproofs and bivvy so I cared not. I heard that a couple of originals had been out during the week and at good weights so I was quite optimistic. There were 5 swans on the lake, all of which were in my swim upending and catching my lines which was a nuisance.

The evening brought both light and heavy showers; I now had 2 rods in the margin and one chod out near the island which remained getting pestered by the swans. Every so often the breeze would pick up blowing larger raindrops from the trees onto the roof of the bivvy with a loud echo. I could hear the Bats flying by outside although the birdlife was now quiet. It was 10pm; the rods were still as was the surface of the lake.

6am on Saturday morning I heard a commotion coming from behind me, I got up and peered round the bivvy and was met by a family of Canada Geese passing by, I quickly grabbed the camera and took a few snaps of the chicks, very cute.

Stewi popped round for a quick cuppa before heading off, we chatted about rigs and baits for a while and just before 10am he left for home. I had a nice marker rod session and found a lovely clear spot towards the Party swims at around 40 yards. I set up one of the margin rods with a chod and cast onto the newly found spot feeling a nice solid donk on the way down. So the plan for the day was one next to the island, one in the margin and one on this nice clean spot, as well as having the floater rod set up just in case. A late breakfast of bacon rolls and tea was consumed and I sat back and awaited the showers that were looming. I was visited by a Blackcap that morning, a first for me.

At 1pm the church bells rang, the sun shone and the showers that threatened never came. The swans left me alone all morning but were soon back upending and causing havoc. Long Tailed Tits played in the nearby trees and I thought about big, old carp, carp with history, carp that had resided here for years, carp I hoped may come my way. I set about a plan, footie on the radio, lunch and a freshen up of the baits ready for the evening. I was happy with the spots and had 2 more nights to go so was well prepared to see out the remainder of the session in this swim. I pretty much had the corner of the lake to myself which suited me fine.

I did, every so often, fire out a few mixers but nothing rose and soon after introducing the baits they were eaten by the Coots or Geese. At a little before 2pm I heard a big fish crash down in the corner to my right, just to the left of the gate swim. I would in the rods and armed with one of the chods, a net and the mat I crept round to the spot, flicked out the rig and sat back to await events. After 45 minutes all was still and there were no more signs of fish. I returned to my swim, repositioned the rods and got the kettle on.

My Chod
That afternoon I met Bidders, head bailiff. He fished a few hours in the swim to the left that afternoon. As I walked into The Mats he had a fish on, although it was stuck fast in the weed. After a lot of pulling he managed to free the fish, it then kited left into some snags close to the bank, I reached out with the net and the fish came free. After a good battle under the rod tip I slipped the net under a gorgeous 15lb mirror. It looked an old one by the colours and size of its fins. We weighed it, took some pics and watched it swim away.

The evening was peaceful, the swans were at the other end of the lake annoying Spike, a million insects busily worked the surface of the lake, the sky was dark grey bringing the odd shower and the breeze was gentle. I watched a few fish top between the 2 islands but this was water I didn’t control. Just over 24 hours into the session and still no action, I could have easily started to question my methods but with fish showing not too far away the mood was of optimism for the time remaining.

Sunday morning and the wind had strengthened and completely changed direction. It was now coming straight at me from the corner bay, a chilly wind too. I did received vicious liners on all 3 rods during the night but still I was yet to get off the mark. At around 8am I nipped up to the loo and stopped at the Reeds swim for a cuppa and a chat with Spike and immediately saw fish start topping between Birches and the Mangrove opposite. While we chatted the rain started, and got progressively heavier, with it came gusty wind. We said our farewells after an hour or so and I returned to my swim. The weather was hideous, the wind and rain driving straight into my bivvy. I sat inside for a while not even having the rods out and was starting to feel a little sorry for myself. I had to do something and fast. I decided to start clearing things up inside the bivvy putting cooking things away in its bag and tackle things away in theirs. I had an urge to move into The Birches for the last night. With bed, sleeping bag and all other bags loaded onto the barrow I trudged round to the Birches getting rather damp and cursing every time I stepped in a deep puddle, I really should have changed out of my crocs!!

Once in the new swim I left the barrow and returned to Golf Tee’s for the bivvy, all I did was pull the pegs out and carry it, fully made up on my back to the new swim. I must have looked like a giant Turtle! In the Birches I set up the bivvy, threw everything inside and returned one last time for the rods. What a mission. In went the bank sticks and just as I was about to cast the first rod a fish crashed twice just off the Mangrove. I cast a chod into the ripples and cast the other 2 rods to spots I found last time here. With the rods out I sat inside in the dry and got the kettle going feeling quite happy with myself for making the effort, just hoping it may pay off.

By1:30pm I had a single bleep on the middle rod, I walked over to it just as the bobbing rose and the tip went round. I picked up the rod but the line had caught around the left hand rod tip, I freed it but the resistance on the other end was gone. I wound in, recast the rod and settled back down trying to keep warm. The wind kept on changing direction that afternoon and it was extremely cold. Spike popped round for a cuppa and a biscuit at 5 and once again I sat and picked his brains for an hour.

6pm and the rods were in position for my last night of this trip. At 9pm I received a slow pull on the chod cast toward the Mangrove. I pulled into a fish and felt a kick but suddenly all went loose. It just wasn’t meant to be. The same rod let out a few bleeps through the night but action time was at 3am when Stewi rang with news of a new PB mirror at 26lb 15oz. I wound in and popped round to help out with the weighing and pics. We had a cuppa and as I left for my swim I congratulated him on a proper result. 4:15am the rods were back out and then I climbed back into my bed.

I awoke at 7:30am and had breakfast. I sat there on a very windy day and willed one of the rods to burst into life but it never happened. At midday I reeled in and had a walk around the lake looking into little spots around the margin in the hope to find something to stalk but found nothing. 2pm I started to pack up and headed for the car. The session was a grueller, I had learnt a whole lot more about the lake and the blank session had only made me even keener to get back and have another crack and the wonderful carp that live here. I had a nice steady drive home and all the way planned the tactics for next time. 

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