I was back at the lake again on Saturday 29th December. I had a decision to make now, the bay had done me a big fish and I was a little surprised not to catch another as there seemed to be a few fish rolling during the afternoon and I’d had them covered. I stood in my usual peg for 10 minutes just looking for carp, a fish crashed at around 100yds range. Usually thats just about within casting range but there was a big wind pushing down the lake and I’d struggle to make the cast. I went and stood in the bay swim I’d caught my mid-twenty from a few days previous. Sure enough, a fish rolled in the bay only it was a lot closer and well within range. That was enough for me, I abandoned my usual winter carp swim and opted for the bay.
I started with a rod in the area the carp had just rolled, it seemed logical to go straight to the area where the fish was so I cast a pva mesh bag to where I’d seen the carp. The pva bag contained a couple of pieces of peparami and the rig was my standard 8” kryston silkworm hooklength with a piece of peparami on the hair rig. The second rod i cast to the area I’d seen fish but not caught on boxing day. Late on boxing day a few fish had rolled in a tight little area close in and I figured it was worth trying again in the absence of any other carp showing.
Over the first hour or two I noticed odd fish roll in the bay, they were around the first hookbait that had been cast to a showing fish. Despite seeing the odd carp it remained quite quiet, the wind was howling accross the lake, I didn’t mind the wind blowing a bit, I was well wrapped up in my igloo3 so I just sat in the teeth of it watching and listening for fish. Around 1.15pm I noticed the clouds getting thicker and blacker in the distance, they were just about on top of me and I knew the heavens were about to open. I grabbed my brolly out of the holdall and began taking it out of the bag. I never managed to get the brolly out before the first drops of rain started hitting me, it was quite heavy and made worse by a strong and gusting wind that was lashing it straight in my face. My brolly is a JRC stealth brolly and for those of you that don’t know, the stealth has a retaining screw that needs to be removed in order to open the brolly then replaced to make sure it stays open. With the wind and rain driving in my face I’d just managed to get the retaining screw off when the right hand delkim burst into life. I dropped the brolly and put the retaining screw in my pocket for safe keeping. I was on the rod quickly, the line was peeling off the spool at a nice steady rate, I put in a light strike and the rod hooped over with the line singing in the heavy wind. The fish was a fair way out but I made steady progress bringing it to the net, I couldn’t tell how big this carp was, there were big waves crashing over the bank and I didn’t even see the fish until it popped up ready for the net after 5 minutes or so. When the fish rolled into the net I recognised it as a common I’d caught a few weeks previous at 16lb 6oz.
I secured the landing net with the fish still in the water and went to sort out my gear, the rain was still coming down and everything was getting soaked, I got the stealth sorted first, once it was pegged down over my gear I got the weighing and camera gear ready, even though I’d caught the fish a few weeks earlier I still like to go through my routine and document everything accurately. Once I had everything ready I had a quick look in the landing net to double check that it was a repeat capture but before I could lift the fish out onto the waiting unhooking mat, my remaining rod slammed round suddenly as my other delkim went into meltdown. I secured the net and hit the rod. I was in a bit of a mess now, the second fish was a ‘charger’ it charged off and generally went mental which indicated a small fish and this was confirmed when I slipped the net under a low double mirror after a short but hectic fight.
I’ve been in the double take scenario quite a few times before so I was ok when it came to dealing with the situation. I carry an old Rod Hutchinson sling sack combo in the bottom of my holdall and this along with my landing net provides the solution for dealing with two carp reasonably safely. Once the sling sack was wet, I lifted the net with both fish onto the unhooking mat and unhooked them both, I threw the rods and rigs to one side, I could untangle them later. The common stayed wrapped in the net and zipped into the unhooking mat so it couldn’t move. The mirror i slipped into the sling sack which was then secured in the margins. My landing net has weighing/carrying handles stitched into the sides so I was able to weigh the fish, do a quick photo then return it and deduct the weight of the landing net afterwards. With the net deducted the common weighed 16lbs even, a loss of 6oz from when I last caught it in winter carp diary pt3.
The smaller mirror was retrieved from the water and weighed in the sling sack, again I deducted the weight of the sling after returning the fish and I was left with a weight of 11lb 2oz, not massive but not a repeat capture either.
Getting those two winter carp documented was hard work with a big wind blowing straight in my face but I eventually managed to get both fish returned. I got on with the job of untangling the rods and getting them cast out again. The two carp had come at roughly 1.30pm and 1.35pm so I still had a few productive hours left to fish. After preparing a few more pva mesh bags i put both rigs back in the areas I’d just caught fish from. I spent the rest of the day dodging the rain, when it came I sat under the brolly, when it stopped I sat out watching the water the best I could with that big wind blowing in my face. I saw a couple more fish show in the vacinity of my baits during the afternoon but disappointingly another run never came. This was the second time I’d fished the bay and had carp showing either near or right on top of my hookbait with no run coming and I wondered why I wasn’t getting pickups. I fished on until around 4.15pm and packed up.
Before I left I chopped up a few sticks of peparami and catapulted them around the area I’d seen most fish. My usual halibut pellets I put in my usual peg along with a small amount of dynamite hemp and maize as I was returning for my traditional new years eve day session on the 31st. Going fishing on new years eve day passes the time before the evening festivities and its something I’ve done for as many years as I’ve been carp fishing. Last year I fished new years day for the first time ever and this year I intended to do the same provided I wasn’t at risk of being over the limit on new years day morning. With my baiting up and preparation for my new years eve fishing completed I headed for home still wondering why I wasn’t getting pickups when fish were rolling on and around my baits. I hoped a little bit of free bait would encourage those winter carp to feed a bit heavier in the bay, which in turn, would hopefully bring me another good winter carp catch.