Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Waggoners - A Reunion

This weekend was always going to be a little changeable. The weather was just that, not knowing what it would do from one hour to the next. I had to be up early to take Mum and Dad to the airport, and by early I mean 4am, and Jessica was slightly under the weather so I could get a phone call at any moment to return home. But, having said all that, I still wanted to fish somewhere, I just didn’t know where.

I returned back from the airport at around 6am, sat on the couch and began to think about where to fish. It would mean carp fishing again as the float rods were still not ready to use. My sitting on the couch turned into lying as tiredness set in and soon enough I was fast asleep. I woke around 8am with Waggoners Wells on my mind, perhaps I’d dreamt about it, and with an omen like that I just had to get there.

I made a quick stop at Tesco on the way for fresh bread and some lunch and arrived at WW at a little before 9. I pulled into the little layby nobody else seems to use; this gives more direct access to the pools and cuts walking time down a tad. I peered into the first pool and it looked great, although this one is apparently devoid of fish, I could still sit here and quite happily watch a float for a morning. The light levels were perfect with a damp mist laying among the trees so I immediately set about capturing what I could with the camera before attempting to reach for a rod.

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I approached the middle pond, the scene of my most recent WW captures, and spotted a few carp doing their thing out in the centre. I spent an hour or so pacing up and down, back and forth scanning the water and looking for that opportunity whilst being quite happy just to be back at the place I hadn’t fished for over a year. There seemed to be little in the way of walkers which surprised me somewhat, but I was to later find that they must have been waiting for me to get going before they came along and ruined things.

I never made a cast in that first hour, although I did set the rod up. It was time to visit the bottom pond, the pond that holds the magic for me, with carp from a forgotten time and an aura all of its own. It dawned on me that I'd not yet managed a carp from the bottom pond on vintage tackle, If only I could find a way to ban dog walkers from unleashing Lassie on top of feeding carp. The first thing I saw was an old linear mirror just to the right of the steps (around a metre or so from where I caught 'The One') rubbing its flanks on the silt but also feeding. I watched for a while until it moved off, baited the spot and continued my tour.

That’s the beauty I find at WW, it really doesn’t see much angling pressure, I think that most folk get put off by the carp’s cunning, perhaps it’s the dog walkers, perhaps it was far enough into the season that most have been and done their thing, but whatever the reason, I was more than happy to have the place to myself. I spotted two more carp looking distinctly like though they were feeding, waited for them to move off and baited these spots making three to visit and keep an eye on in rotation.

It was whilst watching these spots and looking for new ones that I met the first of the walkers, and two big Dulux dogs decided to wade into two of my spots and cool themselves off. Then a small rat looking dog jumped into the remaining one causing a huge bow wave as what was obviously a large carp spooked off. With all this happening all at once I decided to leave the bottom pond alone for a while and return to the middle pool, just for some peace of nothing else.

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When I got there I spotted the opportunity I was waiting for, 8 carp in the centre of the pool seemingly mouthing at the surface. Whether they were feeding or not remained to be seen, but I find that a group of fish always gives a much better chance than a single, solitary one, so a free-lined crust was dipped and launched as far as I could get it which landed right amongst the carp without spooking them.

At first they circled under it and drifted off. After a time, I wound in the soggy lump and recast a fresh one whilst fish were in the immediate vicinity. I like to have as fresh a crust as possible out there as I’ve had them suck it clean off the hook without moving it in the past, whereas a fresher piece stays with the hook and will, ultimately, end up in their mouths. So with a new crust and renewed confidence I watched as the group of carp turned around and headed my way.

The first fish, a small common, raised in the water, nudged the bread and turned away. Just as thought it was going to be one of those days a mirror sidled up alongside the crust, thought about it for a second and then engulfed it without hesitation. I struck and the line cut at an angle though a calm pool with pace, the Mark IV arched over and the Delmatic sang. I was mindful of the obstacles the swim offered up, on either side were trees reaching into the water around three rod lengths out and the gap I was fishing through was around 12 feet across, so not ideal.

As the fish tore off to the right I ran left, lowered the rod and managed to turn it before the line became entangled. It was then I began foolishly celebrating as the fish charged the other way much quicker than I could get right and soon the line was pulled through a branch causing a horrible tangle. I tried to free the line from the branch whilst keeping the fish from going any further and causing me even more bother. Eventually the fish was just beyond the branch, I saw it roll and a dark flank and large scales made me even more determined to land this fish.

I was emptying my pockets and readying myself for going in when the inevitable happened, the fish became detached from the hook leaving me attached to the branch and nothing else. Just then a bike rider rode past behind me trying to circumvent the many twisting branches that adorn the floor; I heard a yelp and looked up as he, and his bike, rolled dangerously close to the water down the steep slope. He was fine, brushed himself off and carried on his way, but it made the loss feel a little easier knowing it wasn’t just me having a bad day.

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I made one more cast as the fish still seemed to be acting in the same way, but after just one more nudge I decided to return to the bottom pool for another look. Before managing to check my earlier spots I saw a carp feeding just left of the pads a rod length from the bank. I crept into position and as it moved off I deposited some free bait on the spot. Before I could get a rod into position two more fish came through, the mirror moved away but the smaller common dipped to feed. Even my breathing was quiet, this fish was feeding inches away from my face, I could see everything, something you can put into words, some you just can’t.

When the common finally moved on I lowered the rig into position, size 4 hook, two AAA shot and a chink of luncheon meat. I sunk the line and made sure none of the rod tip projected over the water leaving nothing to chance. I sat there for an hour and not one more fish came through, how on earth they knew I was there I’ll never get to the bottom of, but they did, somehow. Whilst looking for another opportunity the phone rang, Corrinna informed me that Jessica’s temperature was high. I was back home within the hour and took her to A&E for a check over.

For the rest of the weekend we’ve been looking after Jessica and I’m pleased to say that today she is back to her old self and will restart Nursery tomorrow.

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