Friday, 12 July 2013

A Short Stalking Trip....

I don't call myself indecisive for nothing!! Originally I'd planned to fish the moat, but when I visited to bait up yesterday it was wall to wall and top to bottom with weed. Not only could I not find any fish, but if I had hooked one, I doubt I’d have landed it.

I woke this morning with a weird feeling in my mouth, and upon inspection I found that an old filling in my front tooth had come loose. An emergency appointment meant I couldn't fish directly after work as planned and it was almost 1pm when I finally left the dentist with my smile back again.

I headed for Baffin’s pond, reports of some good carp cruising around the margins was just the challenge I needed and fitted perfectly into the few hours I had spare. When I got there I was horrified at the amount of bird-life present. So many different species all congregating on this tiny pond of just over an acre, and a quick tour of the margins revealed that there was nothing cruising anyway.

So, Tithe Barn was the next bright idea of mine, the previous two trips had been fruitless, but with this prolonged warm spell, they had to start moving sooner or later. I was surprised to find nobody on the whole complex, so three pools all to myself. The top pond is the first you come to from the car park, and the weedy top half of the pond showed signs of having fish present, they were on the move after all.

I fished various swims, cast at various fish but it was down in the left hand corner where the first take came, a powerful surging plod that really tested the old Mark IV. The reel I was using was a Mitchell 300 loaded with 12lb line, mainly due to the weed situation. Well finally, after a lot of persuasion, the fish flopped over the net and I hoisted her ashore. A lovely long, lean common of mid to upper doubles was photographed and released back into the warm water.

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Happy with my achievement I wandered down to the other two ponds, and had half a chance with a fully scaled mirror on the middle. But I managed to spook the fish before it could snaffle the bait, so once again I was back on my travels.

Back on the top pond I found a fish I'd been looking for, a linear mirror of over twenty pounds. It was nestled among weed with its back showing and I caught a glimpse of one of its flanks revealing that row of apple slice scales. I gently flicked the crust past her, drew it back level with the fish and as the lips opened and the crust sucked in everything went into slow motion. I should have struck right away, but instead I waited for the fish to close its mouth and turn away. It didn't, just spat the crust back off and bimbled away through the weed.

Soon after Danny arrived for some stalking. We chatted a while and he told me of a lovely common he'd caught recently at 26lb 2oz. I told him I'd seen a big common which looked all of that, and maybe more. After our brief chat I left Danny and fished a gap in the trees opposite him. I spotted a few carp channelling between two weed beds, flicked out a crust and within minutes I had a powerful carp surging its way down towards the dam end.

Danny rushed around to help with the netting. As the fish drew closer and the runs became shorter he caught glimpse of it and said that it could be the big common. A few more seconds and it was revealed that it was indeed the big girl. She didn't much feel like swimming into the awaiting net but on the third attempt Danny scooped her up and she was mine. As I don't carry scales Danny fetched his, just to see if she was up or down in weight. In fact she was exactly the same weight as when he had her, 26lb 2oz. Danny took some photos for me and we released her into the deep margin.

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I fished on for another hour or so, had one more take but lost whatever I'd hooked in the thick weed. At 7pm I bid farewell and good luck to Danny and headed for the car, very happy indeed.


  1. The man's a carp catching machine!

    Great stuff Stu, two beautiful looking commons.

  2. Lovely carp. A top session,

  3. Thanks Dave/Adam..

    These little short trips are the ones, I find, that usually produce the goods. The 'On a Whim' sessions where nothing much has been planned, just a few hours have presented themselves and you have to think quickly as to where you think the best chance will be. The watercraft starting well before you een chose a venue.