Wednesday, 4 April 2012

This Weekend's Adventures...

This weekend was a very untidy one, I hadn’t really thought through exactly what I wanted to achieve. There is not too much to report really, but I’ll document the weekend to keep the diary up to date.  I knew I wanted to catch some fish, wasn’t really too bothered about large ones, just so long as I found some action. So the schedule was to fish Dryad on Friday night through to Saturday afternoon and on Sunday a trip to a private water was arranged through an invitation from a friend where something very old could well turn up.

Dryad Friday 30th March
I finished work at the usual midday on Friday, grabbed the essentials from home and made my way to Southwick Park. There were already half a dozen or so anglers fishing but the area I wanted to set up stall in was available, although it was almost the furthest walk from the car park, across the golf course, over the bridge and then all the way down the other side of the fairways with most of it across uneven terrain. I arrived in the swim knackered, I had just enough energy to ready the brew kit and prepare a much needed cuppa whilst scanning the lake. There were a few fish cruising and with half a bucket of mixers in tow I proceeded to catapult them out whilst sipping on that cup of sweet nectar. The carp seemed disinterested, their feathery companions, however, were more than up for it and between setting up the house and preparing the rods the ducks and gulls got through almost half of the mixers I’d brought. Eventually the wildfowl seemed to have had their fill, slowly one by one they waddled off to find somewhere comfy to sit and rub their bellies. Meanwhile the carp had begun to show interest, albeit late on in the day, it was around 5pm when I started to cast the controller float around at various showing fish, fish that gradually started to take the little floating canine nibbles with earnest. It was, though, quite late, almost into darkness when I finally hooked one. A small common of around 5lbs which gave me a right old run-around on the light outfit, but it was great fun. I went on to catch one more of similar size before the light faded and I could no longer see well enough to continue fishing effectively. 
With a spot baited previously with mini Spombfulls of pellets at around 30 yards and the rod clipped up to suit I casted my yellow popup and prepared my dinner. The night was chilly and started off very quiet so by around 9:30 I was all tucked up and started to drift off. The first run came at 10:45; a common of around 7lbs was landed and out went a top up of pellets followed by the 10 mil Pineapple popup. I had just started to get warm again when a series of bleeps had me up again, and another lovely common of similar size was brought to shore. The bites came throughout the night and by 7:15am I’d landed 7 commons all of roughly the same size and shape. I was surprised at the lack of mirrors and that I’d not caught any doubles, but was still happy with the nights fishing, although I did feel very tired.
I had planned to fish on until lunchtime but I knew there was a work party starting at 8:30 on one of the club’s waters so with nine fish in total I packed away and went to lend a hand. The morning was a productive one, there was the usual banter flying around but swims fronts were rebuilt, scalpings laid and by midday there were ten weary bodies eager to get home. I spent the afternoon unloading the car and generally chilling out, but there was something niggling me, I still had the urge to catch something, something a bit more substantial, and at 4pm I headed for Carron Row for an evening’s stalking.
Carron Row Saturday 31st March
There were quite a few angers already fishing when I got there, although a few looked to be wrapping in for the day and with no anglers looking like they were stopping the night, which meant more stalking room for later. John was already there skulking among the undergrowth and Chris arrived a little later so if fishing was slow we could all have a natter. My first job was to slowly meander pond four, an orange koi type ghostie named Nemo had been mentioned numerous times in the past and, despite looking for it, and with it being so blatantly obvious , I’d never managed to spot it. I did the tour, looking in all the likely spots and even the spot I was told it was hiding fairly recently, but alas I drew a blank and didn’t see anything at all. Next up was the third pond, and although there was someone set up for the night, there was still more than enough usual holding areas to check. But as before, all seemed quiet. The water across all the lakes was coloured which didn’t help with fish spotting, and I have a mind-set of late that curbs the impulse to fish blind and wait until I see some kind of sign to alert me of the fish’s presence. It has served me well so far this year and is something I shall incorporate more in my fishing rather than just getting there, casting out and waiting.
Eventually, after seeing nothing to cast to, no tell tale signs at all on pond three I found myself wandering around two and bumped into John for a quick chat. The reeds looked a good bet, they always are and after feeding a few free offerings I watched a ghostie and a common glide through and one piece of crust disappeared. In the next half an hour I had two different commons snatch at the floating crust, but somehow they both managed to miss completely, I’ve heard something in the past about the fact that they can’t see straight in front of them due to where their eyes are situated, but it was still very odd and hugely frustrating. As the sky started to darken and I no longer needed the Polaroids the odd fish started to swirl and top out in the main body of the lake. I fired out a few mixers and was pleased to see them being taken fairly rapidly, all the time knowing that my time would be limited due to the failing light. I rigged up two lassoed mixers to the back of a size 6 conti and, free-line style, cast among the feeding fish. This method has caught me countless carp from the venue in the past, but this wasn’t any other day; this was a day of torment. When I finally couldn’t see the hook-bait or the line any longer I decided enough was enough. It had been fun chasing those wary old carp around, brought back memories and reminded me how much fun carp can be if you stay mobile. To the extent that I almost felt sorry for the static anglers, not that I don’t fish static, just not on that particular venue. So with a brief chat and a couple of handshakes I bid Chris and John farewell and headed home for dinner.
Private Water Sunday 1st April
Jon had messaged me through the week and asked if I wanted to join him on a water local to him with some old carp swimming around trying their best to stay un-captured. I agreed and took up the challenge of trying to outwit said warriors. I set off, after an early breakfast, at around 6:10am and headed to the venue. The journey was pleasant with the sun shining upwards onto the overnight cloud causing two large pink bands to light up the morning sky, it was quite spectacular and aside from making me smile I tried my best to concentrate on the road ahead.
Almost there I drove over a bridge and caught a glimpse of a beautiful river, looking splendid in the morning mist. So much so that I had to turn around and the next opportunity, drive back to the bridge and park up in the lay-by so I could have a closer look and take a few pictures.

I got to where he told me to meet him at a few minutes past seven, Jon said he’d be there before me but all was deathly quiet. I took the liberty, whilst waiting for my host, to have a brief look at the pool and take a few pictures, and it was lucky I did as there was an eerie looking mist crawling its way across the surface in a bid for freedom. Soon after Jon arrived the sun appeared and burnt all the mist away revealing this lovely little pool of around 4 acres shrouded by trees and looking exquisite in the early spring morning sunshine.
After introductions we headed to the swims Jon had prepared and set up our respective pitches. First job, even before casting out, was to make tea. Over that first cuppa we chatted about carp, fish we’d caught, places we’d fished and, ultimately, places we’d like to fish. We eventually began fishing and sat back to wait for signs that the carp were interested. But not much appeared, in fact, what with the bright sunshine, conditions were poor, with the carp only interested in soaking up the sun’s rays in the out of bounds sections. A pleasant day was had in good company and I’m pleased to say that yet another friend has been made, as do many along the journey of carp fishing. The only action of the day was a slow take on my right hand rod just before tea-time which turned out to be a small pike of around one pound, hooked fair and square in the chops on a single boilie!!
As darkness fell we made our way back to the car park, thanked each-other for a wonderful day out among the woodland, not catching the carp we came for but observing deer, foxes, kingfishers and many other creatures that made an appearance. I told Jon that I’d host him later in the summer and we headed off home. Another weekend gone but another fun filled time with even more hours clocked up doing my favourite things.

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