I need to catch a decent carp for the bloggers challenge, one of about twenty pounds or more will give me the required amount of points I’m looking for. Not as easy a task as it may sound to some, especially for someone like me who rarely, if ever fishes for carp. I don’t really know why this is as I have always been fascinated by them, and in my earlier years as an angler was quite happy catching them up to about 10 lb on various methods during the rise of the commercial water in the late eighties and early nineties. I seem to have developed some kind of mental block with them over recent years though and have just not developed any desire to buy some modern carp gear suitable to either tackle them with, or be fashionable enough to be seen on the bank with.
On a recent zed session with Andy I happened to mention that I still needed a carp for the challenge but didn’t feel I had a decent enough rod to handle a bigger fish of say 20lb plus. He kindly offered to lend me a Wychwood Rogue that had been gathering dust in his shed, seemed a decent enough rod and better than any carp rod I have, which is none.
So with no more excuses I headed out on Sunday morning to tackle a local water known to contain a good head of fish up to 30lb. I arrived at dawn and walked a circuit of the lake sussing out the swims, wind direction and generally looking for any signs of fish showing. I decided to target a few areas on the windward bank as I knew fish visited these areas and with a warm breeze blowing that way it seemed a good place to start.
I opted for a semi stalking approach baiting a few clear spots in the weed that I could see close to the margin at no more than an under arm cast away. The first peg would be base camp and the other two I would rotate round to as and when any signs of fish appeared.
After about an hour the first signs in any of the spots were some carp breaching half out of the water at about 40 yards along the marginal reeds from my spot in peg one. I couldn’t get any closer to the fish than the peg I was in, so I went for broke and hoofed the bait out to the area where they were breaching. The cast landed pretty close and I hoped it was clear of weed. The line was laid slack to keep the fish from spooking and the end rig equipped with a pop up on a short heli rig (chod style I suppose you’d call it). I sat back and waited for the rod to tear off.
I would be waiting a long time until eventually curiosity got the better of me and I wound back in to find the rig weeded up. I re-baited and cast back out a bit nearer (as much as I dared) to the marginal reeds hoping to land it on the clear gravel. I was just answering a call of nature by the tree to my left when I noticed a shape near the baited area closer in. I froze and stared slack jawed as two large dark shapes drifted in under the overhanging willow branches onto the bait. It’s difficult to be accurate but I would guess them both to be near the target weight. Two lovely looking dark mirrors less than 20 feet from me and they were feeding confidently on my bait totally unaware of my presence. Only one problem, my bait was 40 yards away!
I carefully wound it back in and quickly re-rigged with an inline 1oz lead and 4 in braid hooklink baited with a pop up. The fish had drifted back under the branch by now so with a smooth underarm lob the bait was positioned neatly on top of the gravel patch. I watched as some more carp slowly made their way along the reed line towards the willow branch, but turned and headed back out over the weed where I lost sight of them. Time was now my enemy and so with 5 minutes left before I had to leave to get home in time to take my daughter to a birthday party (I was already pushing it), I had recast to the other side of the willow branch where the two mirrors were slowly drifting in and out of view. Sadly the fish never fed over my bait and time was up. I packed the rods away with the fish still visible along the reed line.
Although a blank it definitely wasn’t a wasted trip, I had successfully managed to find and bait a spot, attract and observe carp feeding from it confidently and then cast a bait to the spot without spooking the fish. You know, I think I could get into the carp fishing lark.