I was really looking forward to today's session. There was no fishing last weekend and a clear, bright crisp winters day was forecast. Lakeside was my chosen venue, the big roach there have shunned me for a good while now, but with most other species present, if the right spot is chosen it can provide a tremendous day's sport.
I never got there until after 10, a few things to see to beforehand and a visit from my brother delayed things. As you would guess, most of the pitches I had in mind were taken. I pulled over to check out a couple of other spots and was taken aback at just how clear the water was. Really clear, and for a long way out too. I didn't see much in the way of fish, but some really peachy fishy looking areas to remember and try once the warmer weather comes.
So to escape the crowds (there were at least 6 other anglers amidst the 12 or so acres) I opted for the disabled swims, which required a bit of a walk which is why they are rarely fished. I spotted a couple of carp close in whilst setting up, but a downpour clouded my vision which caused me to hide under the brolly and start on my flask of oxo.
Eventually the rain stopped and I ventured back outside for a look at my margin spots. I fed maggots into various areas, and although I saw half a dozen carp, nothing stopped to feed. I fished from a little platform for an hour or so, constantly feeding red maggots and casters, but no bites were forthcoming.
I broke camp, headed back to the car and popped down for a chinwag with Jim, he was fishing peg 3. Jim was fishing with a pole but was also finding that getting anything to bite was tough going. I peered into the swims either side of him and found a couple of carp in swim 4. The swim consisted of a gap some 20 feet wide with thick reed beds on either side. 5lb line might have struggled in summer, but now the dead reeds are brittle and the carp lethargic, so I fancied my chances.
I managed to get the carp feeding on red maggots, but couldn't get them to pick up my loaded size 14. I revisited the car and found a tin of luncheon meat. I opened it and tore off a chunk tiptoing back to the swim. The largest of the two commons snatched up the meat immediately, I paused, struck, and readied myself for fireworks.
To be honest, the fight was a tad disappointing, the carp seemed docile, it's system half shut down due to its winter state. It still took a few minutes to get under control, it still made the clutch sing, it still made my heart thump, it just wasn't as electrifying as an 8lb common hooked in the height of summer. Finally it wallowed towards the net and slipped safely in. A prime and beautifully conditioned fish, enough to warm the spirit on even the most bitter day.
Jim had just finished loading his car when he heard the Sealey Floatqueen clutch singing. He came over just as I hoisted my prize ashore, and he was thrilled to see such a lovely fish on the bank before heading off. For a few minutes the sun seemed warmer, brighter, as if it was congratulating me for capturing such a marvellous fish. Jim kindly offered to take a photo for me before releasing the splendid creature back into the crystal clear water.
Jim left me to it. There were still one or two carp present, mostly among the reeds venturing out occasionally, but they seemed on edge and failed to drop their guard again. It mattered not, I'd caught a truly superb specimen, I was quite happy to end the day there. But the day didn't end there, the point was now vacated, and I was gagging for a look.
I left the car, walked out onto the point and smiled. I had absolutely no intention whatsoever to fetch a rod, I'd found what I'd come for, the mesmerizing view only the point can offer. I sat a while, scanned the surface for fish, even half heartedly checked the margins, but it was that view that captured me. I sat there for the best part of half an hour, collected some reeds to make floats with, and reluctantly prized myself away and headed home. It was a special day.