Friday, 31 July 2015

A Tale of Two Halves


Due to finances and other arrangements I was unable to visit the wild carp of Wales this weekend, this of course saddened me, but with a full weekend of angling before me, the blow was softened somewhat. This morning I was up at 4am, flask filled, car loaded and I pulled up at Soake pond at around 5am. Sunrise wasn’t until a little before half 5, which gave me plenty of time to get set up and ready to begin. The lake looked amazing; it was a cold start, only 5 degrees and mist steamed all across the lakes surface.

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I began fishing and quite quickly had bubbles fizzing all over the swim, it looked just perfect. I peered at the little float tip through the mist and noticed it slide away, soon I was into what was quite obviously my first tench of the session. I was targeting the big roach that reside at Soake, but I can happily catch accidental tench all day long. It was a classic Soake tench, deep dark green, ruby red eyes and delightfully chunky.

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The next couple of bites produced roach, smallish ones around 8 - 12oz, but they were fin perfect and each one brought a beaming smile. The bites weren’t quite as frequent as the weekend previous, but then the conditions were completely different. Last Sunday was mild, overcast and I sat most of the day in the rain. This day was cold, and thinking back I don’t recall ever catching too much when heavy mist rises from the lake.

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As the morning opened before me I was greeted by an incredible day, clear blue skies and that early chill soon made way for a warm and gentle breeze. The sunlight caused the mist to intensify, columns started off circling low, close to the lakes surface soon to be drawn up in shafts reaching high culminating in being detached from the lake and evaporating shortly after.

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More bubbles rose, I knew there were tench there feeding on the pellets I’d been regularly feeding. The float tip kept rising out of the water like the Sword of Excalibur; I struck the lifts and hooked roach almost every time. Then the float dipped, rose again and disappeared out of sight, this strike connected with a tench, I was now savvy to which bites were from which fish.

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The battles from the tench were awesome; they certainly knew where the weed beds were and used them to great effect. Although I was using a 2.6lb bottom, I still managed to extract the tench from the weed, with steady pressure and by keeping the fish moving they posed me no problem and soon another beautiful emerald tinca was lying gracefully on the mat.

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The morning got warmer and brighter, regular dips into my flask were welcome and some fruit gave me much needed energy, it was a very early start and not the best night’s sleep. The bites began to get farther apart, things were slowing up. Some more roach came on the drop, but once more I found myself frustrated slightly at the lack of better fish, the ones I’d come for. The tench however, provided me with great sport throughout the morning keeping the rod arched and the adrenalin pumping.

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By 10am the bites were very fickle, and I was missing a lot. I decided to go for a wander, to stroll the pan handle and see if I could locate a carp or two. My findings were fruitful, carp were present, not in great numbers, but I felt sure I could at least find a chance or two to go at. With my base broken down I loaded most of the kit into the car and headed with the bare essentials to see if I could snare myself a carp.

This part of the day didn’t go to plan at all. As the wounds are still fresh I’ll not elaborate too much on the events, but a prĂ©cis will give you an idea of what occurred. First I found 3 good mirrors at the very head of the handle, one was just half a rod length from the bank feeding among surface weed. I hooked the fish quite quickly, played it out well and found myself with the fish jammed into a wedge of weed just out from the bank. I’m still asking myself why I went in with the net tail end first. The net touched the carp’s body; it bolted and broke the line. It was easily 20lbs and dark and scaly.

Next up I happened to chance upon The Daddy, the largest carp in the lake at over 30lbs. I spotted it through a gap in trees; it was clearly feeding on a silt patch between weed beds, feeding then coming up to chew, and repeating the process. I couldn’t get a rod to it, there was no way I could angle for it. I watched a while and in the end walked away. Then, to top it all off, I had the Classy Common, an old fish around 25lbs, feeding on dog biscuits, only for it to approach the hook-bait, have a sniff then turn and waddle off, never to be seen again.

So there you have it, a wonderful morning, quite possibly the perfect morning, followed by a lousy couple of hours chasing canny carp. It isn’t the first time carp fool me, a it certainly won’t be the last.

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  1. Lovely looking spot Stu and some cracking tench - the carp will be still there for next visit.

  2. Dave

    You're right there pal, and I'll certainly be back to make amends before the summer is out. Now if I could just find a spare weekend between now and Christmas.