I woke to rain, increasingly heavy rain, it didn’t bode well. I had planned go stalking after lunch, opting to fish the later part of the day as the mornings were still a touch chilly. As luck had it, the rain subsided and the sky cleared nicely by 11, and by midday the sun shone as I left the house and headed towards the moat.
It looked lovely when I got there, no other anglers were in sight and the gently ripped water reflected a million shards of sunlight. Among the sparkling margins I hoped the carp would be on the move, I crept around, all over and saw very little. I regrouped, had some lunch and began looking again. It was surprising what an hour can do, the spots I’d baited had fish on, fish that looked every bit the classic long lean fish I’d come to associate with the moat.
The first one was nosed up against a tuft of grass, tail waving behind him. I hooked a piece of bread crust, gave it a quick dunk and swung it in the direction of the tuft allowing it to land gently on top. A gentle tease allowed the crust to fall through the grass naturally causing very minimal disturbance. The carp’s fins stopped circling; it dipped a few inches making me think it would disappear out of sight, but then rose again, inched forward and grabbed the crust. I waited till the white had gone and struck.
The water erupted; the first run was a very strong one which saw me back-winding. After that first strong run I soon had the fish under control and eased her into the net first time. It was a common of unreal proportions, not huge, but extremely dark and built for sheer speed. These are the fish that light my fire, not big hefty carp, but character fish, those are the ones that make me keep going. I didn’t do the fish the injustice of putting a number on it, it deserved better than that. Instead I took a quick snap and said “Thank you” as I gently released my grip on her tail and watched her swim strongly back into those deep blue waters. That fish was a gift, something extra special that will stay with me a long time.
I could have left it there; the smile on my face was that of a man who had accomplished all he’d wanted to accomplish. But it was early, there was still more than enough time to turn this awesome session into an incredible one, and besides, I like it here. It was quiet, although the road isn’t far away, when tucked away down in those overgrown little swims its very peaceful.
A little further along, I noticed some disturbance in the edge. Upon closer inspection it was apparent that some fish had found my loose feed. I made a simple rig which comprised of a hook, a float rubber and a carefully selected twig. This rig has caught me many fish over the years, it’s a versatile rig that can be adjusted quickly, and it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to master.
With luncheon meat on the hook I guessed the depth and made my swing. Fishing doesn’t have to be over complicated, simple works and works really well too, especially on smaller intimate waters. The bait hit the deck and the float sat flat on the surface. As I watched the area went quiet, but then dark shapes came back, drifting through the swim sending up sheets of bubbles. It only took a few minutes, the float jerked forward a little, then a little more before upending and slowly going under, it was very exciting.
The fight itself was quite short; I had to make it that way, there were far too many dangers close by which could have caused me a fair amount of bother. Will bullyish tactics I managed to bundle the carp into the net without too much fuss, you can when fishing up close and personal, sometimes shocking them into the net before then realised what’s going on. It was yet another jaw dropping specimen, beautifully dark across its back and absolutely scale perfect. I admired her wonderful features a while, took the obligatory self snap and returned her to where she’d come from. Such a majestic fish.
I went on to hook two more carp, both mirrors, and both quite large, but the first one slipped the hook, and the other managed somehow to transfer the hook into a submerged branch. I don’t quite know how they manage to do that, but it’s a very clever trick that has happened too many times for it to be a fluke. So, licking my wounds a touch, but still overjoyed with the two I’d caught, I left the moat looking forward to returning whenever time and life allows me to.