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.

At somewhere after 11am I fired out another pouchful of crust pieces but this time a group of three fish cruised through and showed interest. I quickly reeled one of the rods in, changed to the 4lb line and a size 6 Wide Gape and attached a piece of crust. Once all the bread was gone and the fish moved on I fired out another pouchful followed by my hookbait. After a few minutes they were back and scoffing again, I watched nervously as my hookbait disappeared and with a sweeping strike I connected with my first Waggoners carp. It tore of a load of line on that first run but before it could reach the far bank I slowed and turned it and gradually started to bring it back towards me. Within ten minutes or so I had the net in the water and the fish on the surface gulping, but it wasn’t quite close enough, I held the rod way back behind my head in order to gain the extra foot needed to encompass my prize only for it to tear off again and, once again, almost reach the far bank. With such light tackle I couldn’t bully the fish at all so had to do exactly what it wanted. I was beginning to think that fishing so light was stupid, but I knew it would take such extremities to hook one of these fish, and it worked, but landing it was another matter.

Next time I had the net ready the fish was again wallowing around on the surface just out of reach and went off on another half hearted run, but I could tell it was almost beaten. With one final push I reach out as far as possible with my net arm and she went in!! I looked into the net to find a wonderful Common Carp, classic in appearance with a two tone effect on its flanks. It gleamed and so did my smile. I called out to the only other angler on the pond and he kindly agreed to take some pictures for me. The funny thing was that weighing the fish was the last thing on my mind, it really didn’t matter what it weighed, I was just so happy that I’d actually caught one….

With the fish returned and my hands steady I continued fishing. A few times I had Carp rise for the loose feed but no more chances came my way. The last few hours of the day were spent stalking around fishing in the edge with bottom baits after seeing a few fish feeding but at 6pm I decided to call it a day, and what a fantastic day it was!!

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