Just for a change I didn’t go fishing on Monday but waited until later in the week when a reasonable day was forecast. As it was, the sun shone for most of the day although it was a bit windy. I decided to go to the club’s nearest water which I only fished once last year although I did catch a nice double figure carp and a smaller one. I loaded all my gear in the car and drove the five minutes to the water. It looks like an old gravel pit but the water comes to the top and trees and bushes make it a pleasant place to be. On arrival I had a walk round to where I had fished before and chatted to a guy who I passed and hadn’t had much luck.
I found a swim which was sheltered from the wind and the sun and was just opposite an island about thirty yards out. I set up my carp rod with a method feeder and 12mm boilie and decided to have a go for silvers with my feeder rod and a small method feeder which I had been successful with last time out. Everything was in place and it was time for a sit down and contemplate the world, or at least my quiver tip! Nothing much happened apart from refilling the feeders with method mix and pellets every now and again so I decided to resort to my fail safe way of getting a bite and got the flask out for a cuppa! Even this didn’t work, I was getting nothing on either rod so decided to chuck in some groundbait and get out my float rod to see if that would do any better. While I was changing over the carp alarm buzzed a couple of times but didn’t turn into a bite.
I spent a little while plumbing the depth of the swim and setting the depth of the float as I think a split shot had come off since the last time I used it then I was away. I was using my 10ft Maver Reality match rod with my budget Shimano reel, 4lb line with 3lb hook length and a size 16 hook with red maggot. Nothing happened. I fed the swim a bit more, maggots, sweetcorn, groundbait, whatever I had in my bag and then just as I was thinking about packing up and moving to another water the float dipped and I was into my first fish, a little perch! These always seem to turn up to save me a blank so I took a photo in case it was my only fish! Then the carp buzzer sounded and kept sounding so I picked up the rod and felt a fish, well I think it was a fish but it could have been a small bag of potatoes for all the fight it put up. I reeled in and saw that it was a bream, a big one which weighed in at 6lb and easily my PB. I would have been more excited if the fish hadn’t look so rough, it had red marks around its tail and didn’t look happy so I put it back in the water as gently as I could and it slowly swam away. I set out the rod again and hoped that the next bite would be a carp.
Time passed pleasantly enough as I started catching small perch every so often and now and again the odd roach so I had something to keep me occupied but the carp rod stayed silent. I put the float rod down in its rest and was just enjoying the peace and quiet when suddenly the float disappeared and the rod started shaking so I grabbed it and started to reel in. Well, that’s what I intended but the fish had other ideas and was stripping line off the reel at a rate of knots! This wasn’t a small perch, it was something much bigger and stronger, was it a carp? The fish started off in another direction and I managed to gain some line but then it was off again and I could feel that shaking that is typical of a carp! If I had a carp on then I was going to have to play it gently with such light line and a small hook. I was really worried that the line was going to break or the hook let go at any time and so adjusted the clutch carefully so that the fish could take line but still feel a resistance and I could gain on it when I could. I looked at my watch, I must have been playing it five minutes already and it was showing no sign of tiring. Then I managed to gain on it and reached for my net which I put in the water ready. It was at a time like this that I wished another angler would happen round and take control of the net but I couldn’t see anyone except a guy opposite me in his bivvy. The carp was away again, this time sticking close to the bank so that I had to hold my rod out to draw him back out again. Then he crossed the line of the carp rod which started beeping and was away again. My arms were beginning to tire and we were falling into a pattern of me drawing the carp, for I had seen what it was by now, towards the net and him taking off again. Each time I had to handle him gently and not put too much pressure on and break the line. I noticed that the angler opposite had opened the door of his bivvy and was gazing across at me and wished that he would come and lend a hand with the net.
Eventually the fish tired more than I did and this time when I got him to the net he slipped in and was brought to the bank. Safe on the mat I looked for the hook only to see it caught in the tree above! It must have come out while he was in the net and funnily enough the bream which I caught earlier had also shed the hook in the net so I guess I was lucky to land them. He was a nice common and weighed in at 11lbs and I took a photo of him on the mat then the guy from the bivvy turned up. He was only a young lad and was amazed at what he had been watching as he could see that I was playing a big fish on a float rod. He was good enough to take some photos of me with the fish who was very camera shy and would not keep still. Back into the net and into the water then he was away. We kept chatting for a few minutes as I was very excited about landing the fish then he went back to his bivvy and I sat down to take it all in and have a relaxing cup of tea. I looked at my watch again and it was twenty minutes further on so I must have been playing the fish for at least fifteen to twenty minutes.
That was about it really. It was about mid-afternoon by now and getting towards home time so I decided that I wouldn’t top that and slowly packed up and went home. What a day! It had started slowly but turned out really well with a bream and carp on the wrong rods! Landing the carp was the best piece of angling that I have ever done and both the rod and reel had performed excellently. I felt mighty proud of myself and I couldn’t help telling the fisherman that I passed on the way back to the car all about it! He told me that the water was fishing very poorly this season after fishing well last year which made me feel even better about my catch! Thinking about it I think the carp may have been attracted to my swim by the mixture of groundbait which I put in for the silvers and was hoovering up the maggots until he came to the one with a hook on the end. Clearly my carp rod was in the wrong place and I should have been fishing it much closer in. I wonder if baiting the swim will attract the carp who ignored the method feeder? Perhaps that is worth a try next time.