One of the things I love about my local syndicate water is that every now and then the carp here will show like nothing I have witnessed on any lake I’ve fished previously. You sometimes see some truly amazing sights. Nevertheless they can still be very tricky – it is not unusual to see more than 50 shows in your swim during the evening only to blank like a good ‘un while the bloke at the (apparently fishless) other end of the lake catches. This is not always the case however and I have caught a good deal of fish during these shows. My most successful tactic to date has been to travel as light as possible, remain alert and cast at anything that moves. An example would be my most successful session so far this season….
After a blank night at the northern end of the lake I checked the weather on the phone and saw that the wind was due to swing from light southerly to a strong north westerly. I had seen nothing to inspire me so in anticipation of the wind change I moved to a swim called The Snags. The Snags controls a gap between two islands and a northwesterly would be channelled between this gap right into my feet. Within a few hours of moving the wind had begun to swing round as forecast and all looked good in the swim. Several hours later I had seen only one fish and was beginning to wonder when (and if) the fish would turn up. I visited my mate Rob in the next swim and we stood outside his wendy house watching the water and talking to a new member, Mark. At about this time the heavens opened, but as Rob and I were deep in conversation we pretended that the rain did not bother us and carried on talking to Mark trying to impress him with how little the rain was affecting us! Eventually we decided it might actually be a good idea to get some shelter as we were getting absolutely soaked. As I went back to my swim the fact that we had seen very few fish was playing on my mind. In conditions like this I would expect them to be showing far more than they were. There was only one area of the lake that I could not see from my swim or Robs’ and that was the corner of the lake opposite me which was obscured from my swim by an island. A walk a little further up the lake would give me a view of this area so, as I was already soaked, I decided to have a quick look. As soon as I got sight of the water which had been in my “blind spot” I saw a big dark mirror poke its head out of the water, which was nice! The peg that controls this area was still free so I decided to count to 100 and count the further shows on my fingers telling myself that if I saw 3 more I would move. By the time I reached 61 I had run out of fingers and was running back to my swim to grab the gear.
Fifteen minutes later I’m in the new swim out of breath, soaking wet, shaking with excitement with a rod in my hand ready to cast a freshly baited rig to the next fish that showed. Right on cue a common stuck its head out 15 yards to my right and a 360 rig landed in the center of the ripples within seconds. The routine was repeated with the other rod, I quickly tied on a new rig, and waited no more than a few seconds before another fish conveniently poked its head out at about 30 yards straight in front of me. “That’ll do!” I thought as I launched a second 360 into the disappearing rings. I put only the front rests in and turned around to get my shelter up (it was still pouring with rain). Unfortunately I was unable to do this as the right hand rod suddenly lurched forward and the indicator screamed – I grabbed the rod but just before it flew into the water and I was away no more than 5 minutes after casting out! After a very impressive battle I soon coaxed a mid 20 common into the net – great start.
I have a routine that I always stick to whenever I land a fish which is to firstly ensure that the fish is safe and secure in the net, and secondly cut the line above the leader, tie on a new rig and recast immediately. This has two advantages; Firstly, it allows the fish time to recover from its exertions during the fight and secondly it gets the bait back into the water as quickly as possible. Experience has taught me that fish are rarely alone when feeding so the chance of a second bite is always
The rain began to subside as I prepared the mat, scales etc and as I reached for the camera I something caught the corner of my eye. I turned around as the butt on the left hand rod lifted from the ground before the buzzer screamed for a second time. Luckily I always carry a spare net in my bag so the fight was precarious to say the least as I attempted to control a bionic common with one hand whilst assembling my spare net with the other, I was rewarded with the rare sight of 2 fish in 2 nets in front of my swim, and the not so rare sight of utter carnage behind it as my gear was strewn all over the floor.
Eventually I managed to get sorted, and whilst neither fish was huge – commons of 21 and 25lb, the decision to move again had most certainly paid off.
There were still fish showing as it got dark so I was supremely confident of another take. Sure enough, 10.30pm the left hand rod was away and I landed a mirror of around 23lb, this was followed by an upper double common in the early hours of the morning.
Despite the lack of sleep I managed to drag myself out of bed at around 4.30 just before it got light and the sun began to rise I saw a fish poke it’s head out about 60yrds out. I quickly cast to it and carried on watching through the match sticks which I was using to prop open my eyes. After another hour or so I had not seen any more fish so all the gear except the rods was packed on the barrow ready for a move. The advantage of this swim is that you can see almost the whole lake so if they started to show elsewhere I was sure to spot them. Unusually I didn’t see a single other fish that morning, so decided to stay put for the time being as I could at least see quite a bit of water from here. Out of the blue, at about lunch time the rod that I had cast to the showing fish at first light was away and after a typically manic scrap I landed a 26lb common. So, with 5 fish in a little over 12 hours I was happy to say the least.
<insert 26 lb
Common with caption “Biggest fish of the session, a 26lb common rewarded the
effort of getting up early”