This week I was half thinking of those bigger carp again when I went to a new water for a few hours on saturday. I didn't actually fish, I just sat and watched, firstly to see if I could actually locate the carp and secondly just to get a feel for the place. Angling pressure on this particular water is low, despite not many people fishing there, it does contain quite a few big carp. It was easy to see why not many anglers bothered fishing there!, the place was rammed out with dog walkers and screaming kids, not my idea of a peaceful days carp fishing!. I stayed and watched for around 2 hours, I did spot one carp which crashed out in what was probrably the quietest and most inaccessible corner of the lake...which is typical of a carp really!. After deciding this particular lake would respond better to a dusk till dawn overnighter I made a mental note to return in a few weeks and do a night on there, I'm sure the carp will leave their safe area under cover of darkness and I'd get the peace and quiet you expect carp fishing to bring!.
Having completed my recce of this new lake I headed back to a local runs water which was 5 minutes up the road, as I drove down the dirt track to the lake I stopped for a quick look, the wind was pushing south westerly and was actually quite strong, as I looked accross the lake there were carp breaking surface all over the flat calm water on the opposite bank. It's not often these carp back off the wind but today they had, it was clear straight away that they were there in numbers too. To confirm this there was an angler on the far bank playing a carp. That was enough for me, I reversed the car back up the track and drove round to a small point that put me within easy reach of the carp.
My plan was to just put one rod out to start and then feed mixers for a few hours to see if I could get them going on the top. I put the one rod out, a two bait pva mesh stringer with one piece of enterprise dayglo maize as a hookbait, I dipped the fake maize in some boilie dip then attached the boilie stringer and cast it amongst the carp that were milling round in front of me about 50 yards out.
With one rod out I got myself comfortable and started to feed mixers close in, the intention was to let them drift out on the wind towards the carp. Getting the carp going and bringing them within casting range can be a long process and requires a lot of patience, I've managed to do it on a few occaisions and been rewarded with a big hit of fish each time and I hoped the carp would be up for it today. I'd been feeding biscuits for perhaps 15 minutes when the rod I had out bleeped once then tore off, I was on it straight away, the fish kited round to my left on a long line and I had to move slightly in order to play it round a large bush on my left. The side strain I applied eventually paid off and I got the situation under control, the rest of the fight was un-eventful and I netted my first carp of the day, a common that weighed 11lb 12oz, not massive but a sizeable fish for this particular water and another step towards re-building my confidence.
I re-postioned the rod after that fish and started feeding the mixers again, despite me keeping the mixers going in I couldn't get the carp to show any more than a passing interest in them, eventually I relented and put my other rod out. This rod was the same as the other one, two bait boilie stringer with a piece of dayglo fake maize dunked in boilie dip. The second bait was out perhaps half an hour when the rod tip whipped round and I was away again, unfortunately I bumped the fish off on the strike. A quick check of the hook point revealed nothing so I attached another stringer and cast out again.
The wind changed slightly as the evening wore on, it began to swing round quite a bit before eventually dropping off completely. Just as the wind dropped I was away again, same rod/area as the first carp. I couldn't believe it but I managed to bump this one as well!. Another quick check of the hook point didn't provide any answer as to why I'd bumped off another carp on the strike, it was sharp enough so I put a new stringer on and re-cast the rod to the same area.
With no wind I thought about feeding the mixers again. I started putting them in close to my bank and the carp started to show some interest in them, again I'd only been feeding the biscuits for perhaps 20 minutes when I was away again. No such problem bumping the fish this time and I slowly led in a small common which I guess weighed around 5lb. That little 5lber turned out to be my last action, I just couldn't get the carp to really go for the mixers, two carp landed (both commons) with two lost wasn't exactly a great result but it was ok under the circumstances and it was another step towards restoring the faith that every carper should have in what he's doing.
Sometimes your faith gets lost on our harder carp waters, long periods of blanking gets you wondering what your doing wrong, finding that faith again can be a struggle and I find that lowering your expectations and catching smaller carp can help you re-discover your confidence. This week, I feel I've taken another step towards finding mine again.