I’m not one for getting up early on my days off work so I had a leisurely start to the day and didn’t arrive at the lake until well gone midday. I had a good walk around but it was busy again with bivvy anglers in most swims. There was one swim at the very end of the shallows that looked good, the swim was empty and there were a few carp milling round the area. I still wasn’t sure about the swim, I knew nobody was going to fish the area as the swim was too small for a bivvy so I decided to go and check out another lake in the area before deciding where to fish.
I made a short drive to the second lake and had a look around, it was busy here too but there were fish showing. One area in particular was rammed with carp cruising round on the top, every swim in the area was occupied except one that was right bang in the middle of where the fish were!. I was on the opposite bank so I had to make my way round to the empty peg. I doubled back and collected my fishing gear and two bags of floating dog biscuits from the car on the way. As I walked round the lake and the swim came into view my heart sank, there in front of me was another angler carrying his gear and there could only be one place he was going!. I carried on walking towards the peg but he was ahead of me and there was nothing I could do about it, I’d missed getting on a swim full of carp by 20 seconds!.
With little else on offer at this water I headed back to the car and drove back to my original lake. At least I was right about the quiet peg in the shallows, it was still empty so I grabbed my gear and quietly dropped into the swim. The carp were still present so I kept well back whilst setting up. There was a bar running through the swim and the fish were skirting the far side of this bar and swimming to an overhanging bush in the margins then back out into the lake. I placed a couple of ccmoore odyssey xxx pop ups beyond the bar and right on the patrol route the carp were taking to reach the bush. Each hookbait just had a two bait pva mesh bag attached, I didn’t bother putting in any freebies, I was right on top of the fish and a couple of 2oz lead weights landing in the area was more disturbance than I really wanted.
Once I was set up I got comfortable and watched the fish, I spent a few hours watching them and I lost count of the number of times the fish passed over both of my hookbaits!. I expected a run sooner rather than later but for some unknown reason it just wasn’t happening?. After a couple of hours of carp constantly passing my hookbaits I was cracking up, all I could think was that something wasn’t quite right with how the rig was sitting, or maybe the line was lifting off the bottom on the other side of the bar?. I repositioned the right hand rod and made sure the line was fished as slack as possible so it would lie on the bottom. I didn’t have to wait very long to see if moving one of my rigs would work, only 20 minutes passed when the line tightened and the rod tip on my right hand rod slowly pulled round, as it did so the shallow water erupted to the tune of my delkim!.
I was on the rod and in control of the situation right from the start, the carp made a determined push for open water but the fish was fighting a loosing battle against my 15lb berkley big game line. Eventually I had the fish circling in front of me and another couple of minutes later a low double mirror was engulfed in the folds of my landing net.
The mirror weighed 13lb 12oz, probably an average size carp for the water, the fish looked like it had been in the wars a little with a less than perfect mouth and a slightly damaged tail, no doubt caused by recent spawning activity. I took a couple of pictures and returned the fish to the water quickly.
With a fish under my belt I decided to move swims for the last few hours of the day, the swim I’d caught 3 fish from last week had become vacant so I gathered my gear and headed round there. This turned out to be the wrong decision, I really should have stayed where I was. I’d expected the carp to move out of my corner and into a wider area of the shallows after all the commotion, they already had a habit of doing this in the evening anyway but on this occasion they stayed around the bar and I blanked the rest of the session having moved off them!. I know the move was a bad one as a mate was fishing the same area just down the bank from me and he cleaned up whilst I watched from an empty swim, it just goes to show you can't make the right decision every time!.
With work party restrictions either lifted or due to be lifted in the next couple of weeks I now find myself standing at a crossroads in my fishing. The sandhurst result from a few weeks ago was such a massive result for me and I felt like I’d been handed a lifetime achievement award following the capture of those fish. I’ve been taking stock recently and thinking about other carp lakes I’ll be able to fish and about other species of fish. I’ve never had any interest in them before but I’d quite like to catch a north west wels catfish, a new pb barbel would be nice too and I’ll definitely be spending more time fishing for pike rather than carp next winter. There are always new carp waters to try and crack and I’ve a few new venues lined up for my carping too. The summer months are full of promise and whichever angling target I decide to choose next you’ll be able to read my progress here.