Monday, 1 July 2013

A Perfect Common...

Sunday, a day of rest, a day to spend with the family, that’s what Sunday means to me these days, so when Corrinna asked if I wanted to go fishing this Sunday afternoon I was shocked, but pleasantly shocked. Of course I had a good look through the TV guide first just in case I was missing anything important, but as nothing caught my eye I reached for the rod and left the house around midday.

I headed for the moat, it was a warm sunny day and throughout the journey I pictured those carp cruising amid shoals of bream looking for a crust to shlurp down. The beauty of the moat is the quietness of the place, there were only one or two anglers there going about their business, which left 99% of the place available for me to roam, wander and stalk.

The surface was black with bream in places, I swear you could walk across them, the birds were singing, jays flew from one side to another, woodpeckers hammered away at loose bark and, although I didn’t spot one, I could hear the distinct shrill of a kingfisher on more than one occasion. I was a beautiful day to be beside a beautiful place. The fishing was just something to do whilst visiting, to help while away the hours and, if I got lucky, well that would just be a bonus.

I noticed in the corner near peg 28 that there were a few carp swimming parallel with the drop off into the pads and back out again, a patrol route. The rest of the moat was fairly quiet where the carp were concerned, I half expected them to be cruising but for whatever reason they were concentrated in this corner, so I looked no further.

A few pieces of crust were thrown as near to the pads as I could get them and I tucked into my pork pie whilst waiting for them to be eaten. A few carp approached but somehow seemed reluctant to feed from the top. I did spot, however, one piece I squeezed too tightly that drifted to the bottom, and as it was fairly shallow and clear, I could see where it sat. The next carp to cruise through upended straight away and chomped the bread.

With two rods set up, a Sharpe’s split cane stalking rod and a Mark IV, I free-lined two crusts a metre apart and sat back some more to enjoy the fabulous afternoon and see if anything else fancied a stopping by. Over the course of the next hour I watched three groups of carp come through, mainly commons but with a sprinkling of stocky mirrors. It was the commons I was really after, weathered, dark warriors, not massive but very beautiful. As luck had it, it was a group of four commons and one mirror that took interest in my bait and the mirror that actually picked slipped up.

I picked up the Mark IV and set the hook, the fish charged off to my left and under a marginal tree causing a few uneasy moments, but within a few seconds it swung out into open water away from danger and did the rest of its fighting away from obstacles. Once in the net I peered in to find a plump mirror of around fifteen pounds, carried her up the bank onto the mat and took a quick self-take before returning her a little further down the bank. Not the common I was hoping for but still a nice fish to meet and share such a nice afternoon with.

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Once returned the area went quiet so I upped sticks and began wandering again. A little further down, between two large sets of pads, I spotted three commons enjoying the sunshine. They were cruising from one set of pads to the other snapping at leaves on the surface. With the dangers either side of me I opted for the stiffer Scottie rod with a Mitchell 300 spooled with 12lb line. I attached a crust, flicked it out to the edge of the pads and crouched down out of sight.

The first fish to show an interest was another chunky mirror, but I managed to pull the hook from its mouth without setting the hook. A few minutes later and what looked like a milk chocolate carp sucked in the crust, but this time I did make contact, a huge spray of foam and water erupted as the fish turned and headed for the sanctuary of the pads but with the stout tackle I was using I managed to avoid peril. Slowly, with the fish circling around in front of me I slip the net under and lifted. I peered into the net and fell in love right away.

It was the most beautiful common I’ve caught in a long while. Far from the biggest, but it had everything, the dark tones, the long lean shape, everything about it just oozed class. I laid her on the mat, told her how beautiful she was and after a self-take or two reluctantly slipped her into the crystal clear water.

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It was the fish I came for, it was the fish I always hope to cradle, I was happy and didn’t really need to fish on. It was approaching 6pm anyway and Corrinna would be made up if I returned in time to help putting Jessica to bed, so off I went with a smile from ear to ear with everyone happy.

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