I planned a session for Wednesday this week as the forecast was for it to be very mild for the time of year. I wanted to surface fish for carp using my new £25 NGT stalker rod and reel. I had set it up at home with one of those long surface fishing floats but didn’t have a swivel small enough to fit into the recess at the front so just tied the line to the hook length. When I got to the site the car park was full so I had to be creative with my parking! I started to walk the bank where I could see rows of anglers and came across a tripod with a pair of scales on it. This gave me a clue and it was soon confirmed by one of the fishermen, it was a match!
So, back into the car and away to a lake that I have driven by hundreds if not thousands of times. It was not far and I was soon there and could tell from the way the gate opened that it had not been fished recently. On with the wellies and time for a walk round. On one side there was a slope down to the water with some platforms. I walked the length of the lake and found that I had to retrace my steps as I couldn’t get round. None of the swims grabbed me, branches sticking out of the water, trees overhead and steep banks and when I got to the other side of the lake it was even worse! I had to walk along wooden duckboards, pallets and other odd pieces of wood to get to platforms in the swims only to find they were underwater! I decided to give this place a miss for the day and come back another time.
By now it was getting on for lunchtime and as I would have to drive past my house to get to other places to fish I thought that I would pop home for lunch. After lunch I couldn’t be bothered to drag myself out again so I didn’t!
The next day was cooler, 10 degrees, but sunny and bright so I wrapped up warm and made my way to the lake again. This time there was no-one there and I was soon at my favourite swim, tucked down out of the wind. I decided to put some groundbait and surface feeder biscuits out and before I could even get the rods set up I could hear carp slurping. Looking round I spotted them and threw some biscuits in their direction. They quickly started sucking them up so I decided not to bother with my feeder rod or float rod and go straight to my new stalker rod.
I spent the rest of the day casting out to fish on the top and catching them, I caught 20 in total plus a couple that slipped the hook but they don’t count! I tried various tactics during the session including using a pop up boilie for bait from which I got very little interest, in fact the white float got more attention, far from putting the fish off they would swim up to it and give it a suck and nibble then swim right past the bait! At least the boilie stayed on the hair rig which is more than can be said for bread! The line got rather twisted so I reeled some of it off and replaced the float with another one which I picked up from the tackle shop on the way and this one did have a swivel, which seemed to help. I also went from a hair rig to a plain hook as they seemed to be shy of the hook and I also did my best to cover it up with the bait. I found white bread the best bait, it was easier to shape and stayed on the hook better than wholemeal and also seemed to attract the fish more. I noticed the same thing as before, a single fish would often ignore the bait but several together would compete for it and one would get hooked. Again, they were not worried about me playing a fish in the swim even when I put the landing net in the water!
So, how about my £25 rod and reel? Well, I couldn’t be more pleased with it! The reel is smooth and the drag is even and can be gradually applied, unlike my spinning rod reel where the drag is either on or off. At 2lb test curve the rod is a bit stiff for these fish which ranged from a couple of pounds to six and a half and it would easily cope with larger fish. The rod did have a bit of a bend in it with the bigger fish and I will have no qualms about using it for larger fish on other lakes. £25 and it is a decent rod! What a bargain!
And the match from the day before? Well, the bailiff stopped by and told me that the winning weight was 23lbs with nine fish. I caught twenty and let’s underestimate and say that they weighed 3lb each, that makes 60lb! I would have smashed it! Perhaps I’ll give this match fishing lark a go!