Saturday, 25 June 2011

Quest for a Mirror

The alarm sounded very unpleasant, 3:30am is no time to be getting up….but I was going fishing, round two at the legendary Waggoners Wells. Through weary eyes I managed to make a flask of coffee without spilling any or scalding myself so I knew, there and then, that I was in good form…..On the way the wiper blades reminded me that they needed replacing, a horrible sound almost like that of nails being scraped along a blackboard, but I had no choice, the rain was persistent, I needed to get to where I was going and there was no chance Halfords would be open at that hour. Any other day the dim light and wet conditions would have made for a very drab journey but spirits were high. I arrived at the car park at 4:45am. Although I had only the bare essentials and carefully thought out what to take my equipment was still fairly heavy and the ten minute walk to the pond was one of aching shoulders and tree roots trying their best to trip me up. At the pond I was delighted to find nobody there, I fancied the swim next to the pads due to its deep nature, first impressions were that there were no fish cruising around just yet so they were more than likely in the deeper spots enjoying breakfast. With a rod just off the pads and one near the overhang I sat back, poured from my flask and settled back against a tree stump to daydream of big, heavily scaled, old Carp.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A New Dawn

There is an air of childlike innocence surrounding the use of old tackle for fishing. It’s hard to explain what I mean but I will try anyway. Recently I have taken to using traditional tackle, and by that I mean a split cane rod, old Mitchell reel and very basic end tackle. I would like to take this further by obtaining a vintage (but safe) net and a creel to sit on and stow tackle sometime in the near future. There is a largish pond of around 15 acres very close to my home that contains carp, not massive carp, the average is probably no more than 6 or 8lbs but bigger ones do exist there with reports of fish breaking the twenty pound barrier. But, being so close to home (3 minutes drive) and having mainly small carp in, I find it ideal to try out my new found passion.

A year ago I would have thought you mad if you told me I’d be more than happy catching single figure carp on a wooden rod but it’s true, it pleases me no end. The childlike innocence I mentioned comes from watching the bright float riding the ripples and holding onto a cane rod which I must say is much heavier than my carbon ones and using a reel that is very noisy and the clutch is terrible, but although I didn’t use such items of tackle in my youth I ca imagine that many did long before I was around. The water I have chosen also suits me due to the fact that there is little or no chance of bumping into anyone I know, it isn’t fished very much and there is always a nice spot to hide away, eliminating the possibility if someone recognising me and laughing at my equipment. The carp, although very small compared to the carp I usually fish for, fight like tigers, testing the vintage tackle to the limit, but if the old boys did it, I’m damn sure I’ll have a good go. Using such gear also allows me to tune into my surrounding better which I’m sure helps me blend in and go unnoticed, I like to think of it that way anyway, and why not.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Success on fine tackle

I made the eagerly awaited visit to Waggoners Wells, history water stocked from the nearby Surrey Trout Farm 50 years ago by Mr Donald Leney. Waggoners is a wonderful place, steeped in tales of old, visited regularly and written about by Chris Yates. These days the old strain still live there, deep in the woods surrounded on all sides by tall trees, but the fishing is very difficult, wily old Carp who have seen it all before and the copious amount of dog walkers throwing balls and sticks into the water for their dogs to fetch don’t help in the slightest. I have a love affair with Waggoners as I do all the historic Carp waters and my goal is to fish as many as I can and catch from them, although I knew Waggoners would be a tall order after my last visit, one half chance and they stuck two great big fingers up at me as they tormented me for the rest of that day, impossible Carp but Carp I dearly wanted to catch.

I woke early, 3:30am, made a small breakfast and a flask of coffee and drove through empty roads to my destination full of enthusiasm and optimism. I arrived at around 4:45am and a quick tour of the lake confirmed that all was quiet. Nothing moved so I sat and waited for the Carp to begin stir, and at around 6am they started to move around clearly visible in the gin clear water. I chose a spot on the left hand bank opposite the pads, my idea was to fish two rods in close toward my own bank using the overgrown banks as shelter from spooking the fish, then, if I managed to get them going on the surface I planned to fish with 4lb line which is why I chose the swim as far away from the pads as possible. For the first few hours the Carp did their usual, looking good in the sunlight and teasing me by swimming under my rods giving me full views if their pristine Leney characteristics. Commons, Mirrors, they were swimming past without a care in the world and I felt the frustration start as my stomach started to get tied in knots.