Friday, 3 September 2010

Patience pays off with a glorious common

September is probably my favourite month for Carp fishing, for it is around this time the fish start to get their heads down for a good feed before the colder weather sets in. It was Friday 3rd and I arrived at the lake sometime before 2pm. A quick stroll around the lake found that most of the swims I had I mind were taken, The Birches and The Point were where I really wanted to be but I also had my eye on Golf Tees, successful for me a few weeks before and since then it had been raked out to allow fishing a bit further out.
I barrowed my gear round to the swim and quickly set up a marker rod. I was pleased to find two channels in the line of weed that runs parallel with the bank 15 yards out. On inspection the area just behind these clearings were nice gravel patches leading out to around 25 yards. Two rods were cast onto each of these spots and the third rod was flicked up along the right hand margin under the overhang.

Now, with the rods fishing I set up the house and made a cuppa. By now it was 6pm so getting close to the productive time of day. During the afternoon I saw a couple of fish top out in front of the Party swims so they were in the area. The sky was blue, the wind gentle and was bowing into my bank and I was thinking that we could be in for a chilly night.

By 8:30pm the light had begun gradually to fade until all that was visible was the outline of the trees on the far side of the lake. At just after 10pm I received a liner on the right hand rod, the bobbin pulled up a few inches but nothing else occurred. I slackened it back off, sat by the rods for a while and returned to the bivvy. Ducks and Coots played noisily behind me on The Nursery Lake and planes flew low overhead. Every so often a light breeze blew through the trees above me, not much, but enough to send the scent of the Mozzie Coil into the bivvy. A fairly unpleasant smell but it was doing its job well.

At 3:30am the left hand rod was in action again, I got to the rod as the bobbin returned to the floor A couple of seconds later it lifted back up to the rod, I picked it up, felt a resistance momentarily but it was gone soon after. I reeled in and found the silicone had been pushed up the shank and that the hair stop was deep inside the boilie, a sure sign that it was a Carp!! Maybe the hook just grazed its lip and didn’t penetrate properly. I recast the rod and went back to sleep.

I woke at around 7am to a gorgeous morning. I sat by the rods for a bit and saw quite a few bubblers and shows but they were all much further out than where I was fishing. The plan was to find some new spots during the day, more towards the further line of weed.

The first job was to reel in the middle rod and attach a Chod, I used as light a lead as possible, an ounce and a half, and cast it out to where I’d seen the bubblers. At 10am I reeled all the rods in and put out the marker. I found just what I was looking for, at sixty yards straight out in front there was a nice silt and gravel channel running almost directly in front of the weed, two metres back from this the weed started, that was the middle rod sorted. I then found a nice clean patch just off the island at around the same distance as the other spot I’d just found, this makes spodding much easier having only one clip mark. I spodded some pellet and hemp over each spot and introduced a few bottom baits.

With the spots primed I went to the tackle shop with Spike and Craig to get some things for a bag mix. The bag mix is something Spike has been having success with, everything inside a small PVA bag just to create a tight, small feeding spot amongst some loose feed. We returned from the shop, had a cuppa and by 2pm I was back in my swim. As I looked out I saw that the spot that my middle rod would be fishing to already had fish fizzing on. I fired out a few more boilies to try and semi-spook them before casting out the bags. I felt really confident of a take sometime during the evening.

From 3pm until about 5 I kicked back and had a nice afternoon nap. 5 until 6 was spent watching the water and there were still patches of bubbles appearing over both of my open water spots. I like a little sleep through less productive times; it keeps me more alert through peak times. You tend to work out these times, 6pm through until 9am tends to be the best time here, with the odd take coming around 3 in the afternoon if conditions are right.  

At 7:30pm a huge flock of Jackdaws flew over, maybe a hundred or more birds. The lake was dead calm and the light was fading fast. The rods were still but still I felt confident of a fish sometime before I’d have to head home. I just hoped I could convert a take into a fish on the bank. At 8:20 it started to rain quite out of the blue, not heavy rain, just a brief shower. It had quite a nice feel to it too, kind of cleared the air, maybe just what was needed. It was just about dark by then; I sat on the step next to the rods with a cup of tea and waited for a take, would it come? Who knows, but that night felt good, fish had visited the spots regularly during the day and the short spell of rain added to the feeling that something was about to happen.

Then the fun begun, at around 10pm I had a single beep on the left hand rod, the receiver light went out shortly after and then, a few second later all the lights lit up and continued to do so every 60 or so seconds. This meant that the battery was low and I had no spares!! I couldn’t imagine getting to sleep with it beeping all the time so I popped next door to the guy fishing in The Mats and to see if he had one I could pinch. He rooted through his bag and found one. I thanked him, returned to the bivvy and fixed the receiver, soon after I went to sleep.

At just after 3am I woke to another single beep, light went out and the 60 second beeps were back once more, the battery was a duff!! It was too early to go around asking for batteries so I sat there and tried to block it out. It was no good, after 10 minutes it was really getting to me and actually sounded like it was getting louder. Then I had a little fiddle with the button on the side and managed to turn on the vibrate mode, I turned the volume off, put the receiver in my pocket and went to sleep knowing that if I had any action it would soon let me know. Before I fell asleep I heard 3 or 4 fish crash out in the lake somewhere.

8:30am I rose, my pocket was still and I looked out over a motionless lake. A quick cuppa and the thinking cap on. I had a small amount of spod mix left so I baited each spot and decided to sit on the rods all day. The plan was to leave for home somewhere around 6pm which still gave me time to save the session, although I did feel that Sunday had come round very quickly. I felt sure that over the previous two nights something would have happened, but my instincts failed me. To be honest though, if I did fail to catch it would only be my third blank here since April and my first one with the Sausage oil. Lots of folk blank on here, I’d just been lucky and with winter just around the corner I’d have to get used to a few dry nets.

The day started nice but was overcast making the chance of a daytime take much better than if it had been a sunny one. After spodding the previous morning then leaving the swim to rest for a few hours I’d returned to lots of activity and bubblers, this day I planned to be ready for them.

“The weed covered lake in autumn; a daunting affair for it is beneath these great rafts of green candy floss the Carp feed strongest. The angler, fishing the clearer areas, may be visited briefly at some strange hour, but, for the main part they stay safe among the underwater green clouds they call home. Leaves will soon begin to fall, days will become shorter and the fish will start to push further out into deeper water. But although they will be trickier to catch, harder to locate and almost impossible to fool, it will be a time of plenty on the banks. Visited by old friends the all familiar Robin will become even more welcoming looking to charm the anger out of some titbits that will help sustain him though the long, cold months. He will even venture into the shelter such will be his desire to befriend you. Other seasonal visitors include Redwing, Fieldfare and trees clad in golds and browns. The surface of the lake will be covered in fallen leaves, yet another obstacle for the angler. Numb fingers and visible breath will be next, along with frosty mats and stiff nets. Setting up and packing away in total darkness will become the norm but all this is nothing a hot bath and a hot dinner on your return home will not remedy. Then, all too soon, buds will begin to appear, spring will be near as the seasons change and as the world transforms we will, once again, go forth with optimism. Another winter over, not forgotten but enjoyed”

At almost 10am it started to rain, among the falling raindrops I noticed some fizzing near the middle rod. After 10 minutes the rain stopped but the fizzing continued. Throughout the morning the showers came and passed, and all the while the bubbling continued but still I received no take. I even switched one rod to a grain of sweetcorn to try and induce a bite but still the rods lay quiet. At midday I wound the middle rod in and cast it a bit further, within inches of the weed bed, just to try to eliminate the fact that I could have been fishing too far away from it. I glanced over to the spot near the island and saw fizzing there too, I smiled and thought that I could yet still salvage the session.

Whilst looking out, watching the signs my gaze fixed on a submerged tree root just outside the bivvy entrance. The more I looked at it the more it looked like a Dragon!! No, Id not been smoking anything, take a look yourself, look closely and you’ll see it.

By 4:30pm I was sick of watching fish sheet up over by spots and not get hooked. I would in, put a yellow pop up on both rods and chucked them back out for the last hour whilst I packed the bivvy and other stuff away.

6 pm came and the barrow was loaded, all that was left were the rods and net. “I’ll just give it ten more minutes” I said to myself. 6:10 came and just as I though of reeling the rods in the left had one was away!! I lifted into a good fish and straight away it tried to reach the weed bed in front. I kept a tight line and it kited right along the edge of the weed all the time trying to bore into it, but I kept the pressure on, as much pressure as I could without pulling that size 10 hook out!!! Once the fish swam the length of the weed bed in front me it then decided it wanted to bore into the one to my right, Again I kept a tight line and steered the fish clear of any danger. A guy called Martin who was fishing the Nursery was waking past just at the end of the fight and helped out with the netting. I couldn’t see too much from where I was but did catch the glimpse of a dark looking Common.

Job done I set about sorting the matt, sling and scales and I lifted my prize from the water. I was quite surprised at the weight of it, and once I laid the net on the mat and peeled back the mesh I saw her for the first time. The most beautiful bronze Common I’ve ever seen. We weighed her at 27lb 6oz, a Match Lake PB for me, and Martin did the honours with some cracking pictures.

I watched her swim strongly away, thanked Martin for his help and finished packing away one happy man. Quite bizarre that every other Sunday I’d have been well gone by midday, but this time I just felt I had to stay. And boy am I glad I did. Needless to say I stopped off and KFC on the way home!!!

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