Sunday, 14 August 2011

A carp from a tree

Yesterday I made the trek to Waggoners Wells, after the week at Redmire I felt I still had the urge to catch some Leney’s and Waggoners is the most accessible lake I have. I woke at 4am, loaded the car, had a light breakfast and headed for the motorway. I’d say it’s around 40 minutes for me so ideal for a nice long day session in the summer. I arrived shortly after 5am and found only one other angler there but he was on a different pond. I had a few walks around first to try to locate the fish but, as it was early, they weren’t showing, but they were bubbling in a few places.
I decided to start at the deeper end off the causeway and flicked two rigs in the edge with a handful of baits over each one. While I waited I saw a few fish start to cruise so I started to fire out a few mixers four at a time with my little match catty, I love the match catty, less noise and less disturbance, although she’s getting a little tired now so will soon need a newer model moved in. After a few minutes, one carp started to take a few of the mixers, not really having it, but certainly starting to show an interest. I wound in one of the margin rods and quickly set up the floater rod. I cast out a freelined mixer and sat to watch events unfold.

I was concentrating on watching the mixers, which ones were disappearing and straining my eyes a little in the low light levels when I heard a strange noise coming from behind me. I looked round and realised it was the Ultegra spool spinning, dropped the floater rod and started to do battle with a Waggoners Carp. They really do fight for all their worth in there and it gave me a right old run around. I was quite surprised at its size when I first saw it but was so pleased when she glided into the net as I’d landed another of those tricky carp, making it thee in as many trips. I weighed her at just under 12lbs, did a quick self take and slipped her back. Needless to say, as is the cunning of these fish, the spot completely dried up.

Soon after, I went for a wander trying to locate where they’d gone and found them round behind the pads. I flicked a few pieces of crust into the pads and waited for them to disappear. I waited quite a while, leant across a tree trunk to get a good view over the water and to keep out of sight, when I happened to glance down and see two fish feeding on a clear spot right below where I was, not even a rod length out. I retracted myself from the tree, waited for the fish to move off, which felt like an eternity, and gently lowered a rig into position followed by a handful of chops.

I waited a good hour for those fish to return and had almost given up thinking they must have seen me when they were back, and let me tell you, they were both dark, scaly, old carp in the 15 to 20lb bracket and I could see every scale on them from where I was sat. They took turns to upend and I watched as their gills flared and they chewed the free baits. After a moment they were off again and I topped up the freebies whilst waiting for them to come back. At this stage it all went a bit weird as I was distracted by something, I forget what it was, but I just caught out of the corner of my eye one of the carp spooking off the spot, for a split second I thought they’d sussed the rig and did the off, that was until I noticed my rod tip swing round and line departing from the reel. I picked up the rod and had already done the hard job of keeping it out of the pads, it rolled on the surface showing off its black back and large scales just as the hook pulled leaving me cursing and throwing the rod down in disgust.

After licking my wounds a while I set off around the lake again and settled on the swim in the far corner near the picket fence. I saw a few fish visiting a spot close in as I had done before on a previous session. There is no pattern to the fish behaviour here, it’s just a case of staying mobile, being as quiet as possible and, if you did manage to spook them, to get back on the move. Again, I gently lowered a couple of rigs onto the spots, baited them up and sat back behind the ferns to watch. In came a big mirror, upended on one of the spots and up came the bubbles. I heard my heart beat and could feel the sweat forming on my forehead, then she was gone. A few minutes later she returned with a friend and this time, with two fish feeding on the spot I felt sure it would happen this time. But, as before, they just graciously trudged off chewing the free offerings without a care in the world.

By now it was getting kind of late, I didn’t want a late one what with work the next day and the fact I’d just been away for 5 days, so I decided to pack away and wander back to the car park. As I got to the shallows I looked at the big fallen Oak and wondered if there could be anything cruising around in the shallow waters on the pond. From my new high vantage point I could see forever.


The Swim
As I was lying across its branches I spotted a common approach, circle under me and head off. I took some crust from my pocket, threw a few pieces in and waited to see if he came back. He did, and within no time started gulping down crusts. He would eat three pieces, swim off in a large circle and then return for more. During one of these circles I climbed back to the base of the tree, set up the floater rod and net and crept back into position. I froze when I got back as he was right there staring up at me as he ate another piece of bread, but somehow he didn’t spot me.

The next time he swam away I lowered the bait in and held the line out of the water, this is a deadly method but you must remember to give a little slack when they try to suck the bait in, the times I’ve missed chances through not doing this. Soon enough I worked out that he was only taking the ones that had drifted towards the bank and not the ones directly below me so on the next turn I flicked it out towards the margin and awaited my new friend. Only this time he returned with a friend, a mirror, about twice the size that he was!!

Both fish started to take crusts and I dearly hoped that the big mirror would take the hookbait, but it was my little friend that was tricked and an epic scrap from the tree took place. Somehow I liked the look of the tree and the prospect of getting into a good position fishing from it, what I didn’t think about was landing any hooked fish! At first the fish swam all the way to within a few feet of the pads, that’s all I’d have needed, to lose that fish straight away after going to all this effort. But, I managed to stop him and guide him into open water where he just charged this way and that way. I knew I’d have to totally play him out to ease netting, any sudden bursts down among those big old branches and it would be all over. I soon had him wallowing on the surface and with a really awkward stretched out hand I netted him first time. The first thing I did was to bite the line and lay the rod out of the way on another branch, then I peered into the net and was so happy, not at the size of the fish but of the colour, a lovely shade of bronze, he also had a classic shape. I did a quick self take on dry land, released him into the nearest swim and packed away for the final time, after scaling the tree once more to get my rod and net handle.

So, two fish in one session, I was well impressed with that, and it so could have been three had that hook not pulled on the scaly one. One thing that loss did though was to ensure that I’ll certainly be back. With the clarity of the water and the wonderful fish that live there, you are hooked from the moment you peer into those depths, for the beauty you see, you ultimately want.

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