Just The One!

Last updated on September 14, 2021

What with life, family and a flu jab which left me feeling rough for a couple of days I didn’t manage to go fishing last week so when I found that I had no commitments this Monday morning I thought that I would grab the chance. I hadn’t prepared anything as I had still been feeling under the weather and didn’t know how I would feel when I woke up but I was fine so I just loaded all my gear in the car, made some tea and sarnies and off I went. When I don’t have anything in mind I usually revert to my “go to” lake which is near at hand and not far to walk from the car, which is what I did this time.

Parking next to the lake I decided to have a look at the nearest swims and in one of them several carp were basking at the surface under some tree branches. I quietly crept away and got my landing net, and mat ready then looked for a rod that was set up for surface fishing and found that I didn’t have one. The nearest thing was an adjustable zig rig so I put that one together and made for the swim to find that the fish had gone!

Undaunted I cast out, right into the overhanging branches! Fortunately I was able to retrieve my rig and cast out again near to where the fish had been. Then I had a sit down and recovered my breath from all the running round I had been doing. I kept my eye on the water and although I could see carp around there were none near my rig! After a while I decided to put out my feeder rod only to find that the quiver tip had split in half! As I had no others with me I put that rod away and got out the float rod thinking that I would have some fun catching rudd and roach for a while. Well that was my idea but clearly not the fishes as I didn’t get so much as a bite for an hour then the float went under and I was in. Not a big fish and as it got closer I could see that it was a skimmer bream. I was dithering over whether to use the net or just swing it in and as I was thinking it got off the hook and swam away! I should have used the net!

It was still quiet and nearly lunchtime then I had another bite, the float was going sideways like it often does with a rudd. I struck but missed it so re-baited with a maggot and tried again. Nothing doing so I was thinking about what to do next, have lunch or go for a walk round and see what was happening. I took the rods out and laid them down, I knew they would be quite safe as I was the only one on the lake and there is no public access and went for a walk. I got right round the other end of the lake where it was sheltered and warm in the sun and could see carp on the surface in several swims. That decided it, there was no point in carrying on fishing where the fish weren’t! I hurriedly packed my gear into the car for the drive to the other side of the water although this still left me with about fifty yards to walk. I was glad that I had brought my barrow and soon had my gear at one of the swims and set up a rod with a bubble float for surface fishing. I looked in the next swim which was in the corner of the lake and there were fish about three feet from the bank. I went and got my rod, landing mat and net, baited the hook with bread and cast out near the fish. Nothing happened, a couple of them looked at it and turned away then there was a sudden swirl and they were gone.

Undaunted I retrieved the line and the bread fell off, which it tends to do, so I re-baited and cast out a bit further to where some fish were showing. This time I got a bit more interest, one fish looked at the bread then backed off, another fish took the bread then spat it out then the third fish came in and took the bait and I was in! I could feel the fish pulling and I was adjusting the clutch but it didn’t seem to be doing very much and the handle of the reel was going backwards every time I took my hand off it. I was a bit confused and the fish took full advantage of this to get into some rushes. I put some side strain on, putting the rod tip into the water and eventually the fish came free and it was time to think about landing it. I reached back for the net, which had got caught in some brambles and while I was freeing it the fish was off again and the reel handle was winding backwards. When I got the net sorted I looked down at the reel and saw a complete birds nest of a tangle around it so I gave up on it and started to play the fish pulling the line with my hand. Fortunately for me he wasn’t pulling too strongly by now and I was able to get him into the net and onto the bank, which was probably more than I deserved!

I always take the hook out of the fish first, I could see the shank of this one and could reach it with my forceps and it was soon out. I weighed him in the net and he came to 11lb, then time for a few photos before retuning him to the water, it was then that I noticed the dead and decomposing seagull next to me! 

I went back to the swim with all my gear and sat down to sort out the tangle and it was then that I realised that the reel was set to backwards wind, which I never put it on and explains why I was confused. I then set to re-bait the hook but there was no hook there! I must have broken the line with the forceps and when the line came free assumed that the hook was out. I felt really bad but there was nothing I could do about it now, just remember to check more carefully in future. 

It was now gone two o’clock and I hadn’t had any lunch so I decided that I ought to eat and have a break, so I did. After lunch I put a rod with a method feeder out and cast hopefully at carp who were patrolling in the distance but caught nothing else. The fish were no longer close in and the lake seemed to have gone quiet. I did get a visit from a bailiff again, the club are really going to town on checking its waters this year and soon it was time to go home and get the dinner. Only one fish but it was a good one so I felt happy, I really like catching carp on the surface, seeing them take the bait is a really exciting moment! 

If I was only going to catch one fish today then I am happy that it was this one!

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