Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Return to the Barns

Sunny, that’s not something that had been branded about for a while, but that was the outlook for most of the week. “Floater weather” I thought whilst trying to persuade the Mrs to let me get a few hours in after work. As Saturday afternoon proved successful I opted for the same venue and the same tactics, I arrived just after 4pm and found only one angler on the top pond, but he was in the spot I had the fish from on Saturday. It didn’t matter too much, there was evidence of fish cruising and topping around most of the pool, but the wind was on the other guy’s back and that always helps when floater fishing with fine gear. I browsed various spots and set up in the corner furthest away from the weedy swim, a large tree hangs over the water to which I saw a group of fish swim under and back out again. As soon as they’d swam out and into open water I made a cast just a few inches from where the lowest branches almost touch the water, the wind was swirling but this corner was sheltered so it had little effect on my free-lined crust.

A few moments passed and I spotted the group of fish, there were six and one fish in particular looked up for it, a mirror of around 20lbs. It was mouthing the surface and was heading straight for my hook-bait, my heart started beating quickly as it drew nearer until a foot from the bait it rose in the water, opened its mouth and then spooked off at the last second. Off went the group and the chance had gone. You win some, you lose some, but I really wanted to capture that mirror. I decided to pop down to the middle pond for a look see, there were a couple of other anglers fishing but still plenty of room. The issue here was the amount of rudd and the resident goose. If the rudd didn’t obliterate my crust then the goose found it, his mate is sitting on eggs so is very aggressive and territorial. I gave it half an hour but it was a pointless exercise so I poodled back to the top pond to see how things were looking there.

The corner was looking quiet so I moved along a bit and attached the Natural Wood Controller to give me the desired casting weight and lobbed it out into the centre of the pond. Fish cruised through, some stopped to look and some just ignored it, but nothing looked like taking, it was hot, very hot. As always when things are looking tough I was on the move, walking around, slowly and quietly hoping a situation would arise, they usually do, I just need to keep my eyes open and sniff them out. The sun had already started its decent into the treeline when the young lad fishing the weedy swim left. I walked round for a look but it didn’t appeal to me, the spot looks to be much better when the sun is shining on the water and you can work out patrol routes by watching them swim through the weed channels.

I did have a little cast there, only because I could, but I was soon on the move again and found myself back in the corner swim. A disturbance on the surface under the tree caught my eye. A bream moved out but there were still a few swirls on the surface. The cast was only ten yards away, if that, so I removed the controller and free-lined a crust as close to the bank as I could, and the cast was perfect, one of those casts you wish someone was watching, it couldn’t have landed any better and within seconds was disappearing down the throat of a carp. I struck with a tight clutch so to keep the fish away from snags and managed to steer it into open water quite comfortably. It was when I looked down and realised that I had quite thick pads between me and the fish when I started to panic! There was a gap large enough to net the carp so I planned to play the fish in open water, tire it out and then land it though the channel. It scrapped really well ripping line off on numerous occasions, and when I spotted it, a low double common, I was quite surprised at the grief it was giving me. Towards the end it was trying to bore into the pads but I kept the pressure on and soon had it safely in the net. It was a gorgeous common, somewhat over ten pounds with lovely colours and streamlined, built to scrap. I took a quick self-take and released the fish in the next swim along, just in caser there was another chance.


I sat for a while and watched a couple of crusts bob around but nothing showed an interest so off I went on my travels. For some reason I was drawn back to the middle pond, the light was fading fast but I thought there could be a chance. The goose had settled for the night but the rudd were as active as ever attacking everything I cast at them. I used larger pieces of crust in the hope there was something on the hook longer, but still they smashed it up. Then I noticed, right under my feet, three carp swim through a channel in the weed. I looked closer and another group swam through. I could have quite literally poked my rod into the water and touched them they were so close. I wound in the crust and attached a flake that would sink, dropped it into the channel and held the line between my fingers. The next group of three fish that swam through all upended and as they scarpered my line tightened up and fish number two was hooked. It was another common, lovely colours and very strong. I bundled it into the net, gawped at its lovely features, took another quick snap and released it back into the water.


Soon after the light had faded quite considerably, I had no head torch so decided to call it a day. It was then I noticed my friend Rod fishing opposite. I popped round for a quick chat but was met with “Jammy git!” he’d been there since 2pm and hadn’t seen anyone catch anything, then I pop along and catch a nice carp. We said our farewells after a brief chat and I headed back to the car. I’m back there on Friday for a quick overnighter, hoping one of those scaly mirrors will slip up….

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