Yep, it’s confession time. I really hoped I could see it through, and I was doing so well, so where did it all go wrong?
It started easy enough, a little dabble in the sea, there’s enough of it around me living on an island. I think the beginning of the end was the change in weather and the visits to the local moat to observe and photograph the carp there among the out of bounds section. A strong yearning to catch one resulted in a few hours after work just to get it out of my system, but two fish later (one being a mid-twenty common) meant that there was no going back. Like a smoker who says he’ll just have the one then going back to the habit he thought he’d kicked into touch.
The following day a couple more carp were banked and I was well and truly back on 20 a day. It then kicked in that I wasn’t doing it for myself, for my own beliefs, but to prove a point to others. It was in aid of what others thought, which in itself is wrong. I’m sensible enough to spot a group of carp, or any other fish for that matter, that have love on their minds, and can happily leave them to it. Therefore I don’t feel disappointed in myself for not lasting the whole 12 weeks, happy I saw out half of it yes, but I realised that life is too short and angling hours much fewer since Jessica came along to deprive myself of the odd afternoon during the most amazing time of year.
On Friday last I visited a water very local to me and sat for two hours watching a motionless float. I packed up but stopped to peer into the last swim on the way out just in case. Carp were cruising along the edge of the reeds, certainly not grouped up, ones and twos snapping at fluff on the surface every so often, it looked very good. Out went a pouchful of mixers and up came those rubbery lips to slurp up the mixers. I landed 8 of those carp in the next couple of hours and lost 2. They averaged 6-7lbs and were great fun on the Chapman 500 and Hardy Altex.
Saturday morning was special and very much anticipated. Abshot is a lovely small pool I fished last around 15 years ago. An issue with topmouth gudgeon meant the whole place needed draining, de-silting and filling back up. The opportunity was taken to stock the venue with tench, crucians and rudd, nothing else. With reeds and lily pads it had the makings of a very special little pool, and just the thing the avid traditionalist yearns for. It didn’t disappoint.
I arrived somewhat before 6:30bm (before Mick), Mick arrived around 7. The sun was already shining and the long grass around the pool was glistening. I chose my pitch beside some pads and after unloading my gear took the opportunity to have a wander and try to capture the delightful morning on my camera.
With that out of the way I started to set up my tackle. Tactics were simple, to fish a delicate float as close to the pads as possible as close to the bank as possible, none of that awkward centrepin casting which can cause no end of foul language. The rod was a Chapman 500, I’d like to have used something slightly less stiff, but my float rod is with Paul Cook, although soon to be back home. The reel was an Aerialite loaded with 6lbs line, a waggler float, 4lb hook link and size 14 hook completed the set up. I scattered pellet close to the pads followed by a handful of sweetcorn and threaded one grain onto my hook. I was ready.
As I began fishing I noticed clouds forming overhead, perfect conditions for the angling and just what I was hoping for. Rudd were the first fish to pull the float under, beautiful rudd with ruby red fins and flanks of burnished bronze. Not the intended quarry but a delightful distraction nonetheless. I realised that these rudd were taking the bait on the drop, and that if I ignored the first few dips the bait would eventually settled on the lake bed where the tench and crucians could find it.
The first of the crucians came along quite soon after this discovery, and I really don’t think I could have been happier. It was just the perfect moment, everything was just right. The fish, although not the biggest specimen I’d caught, was just as I’d dreamt it would be, antique golden scales, cute stubby nose, round saucer like shape….it was all there in my hand. I’d been dreaming of catching a whopper, something this season hopefully to beat my previous best of 2lb 1oz…but this thought couldn’t have been further from my thoughts at this precise moment, how could it be?
I could have quite happily packed away right then and sat back to enjoy the day with a smile, but it got better, the fish kept coming including a smattering of tench. More rudd were thrown into the mix too and I noticed Mick also getting some action.
One dip of the float caused me a few hairy moments, when I struck and thought I’d get pulled through the pads. A very much powerful fish was hooked, and with no carp in the pool it could only be a better tench. With steady pressure I held on and tried my best to stop the fish getting past the point of no return. Gradually I worked the fish back until it was in open water and clear of danger, but still it kept low. A few minutes later and it was safely in the net. I thought it might go 5lbs, but after a quick weight it was apparent I was out by 2oz. Still an incredible fish.
My friend John arrived for a walk and as we chatted so out came the sun and the bite became fewer and harder to hit. I think after the sun appeared I had just the one more crucian and one more tench, although the rudd kept me busy. John and I chatted and he was looking at my new camera just as I hooked the last tench of the day. Happily he pointed it at me and took a lovely action shot, then obliged with a nice photo of me holding the fish, the tail curled slightly but it’s still a nice shot. It was a very long tench but quite lean, it was around 3lbs.
Being FA Cup Final day and my being a Gooner, I was packed away and leaving the pond a little after 2pm. I took one more look at the pool before I left, certainly a favourite session at a new favourite pool. I’ll look forward to returning very much.