I was up a couple of hours before first light making a flask and some sandwiches for the day ahead, I was fishing Capesthorne Hall at the time, I knew it was an hours drive to the lake and I wanted to be there before dawn. The drive to the lake was a little shorter than usual, the roads at that time of the morning are always quiet and with no Sunday drivers to get stuck behind I knocked a good 10 minutes off my usual journey time.
My plan was to fish the first part of the day on what is now one of the most talked about carp waters in the north west, capesthorne top pool, back in 1997 there was no night fishing allowed and the water was a shadow of the venue it is today. The top pool did have a tendency to produce fish from first light onwards until mid morning back then and the second part of my plan was to move onto capesthorne main lake during the afternoon as the main lake was a known late afternoon/evening carp water.
I’ve always been a short session carp angler and being days only the capesthorne waters were ideal for me, my fishing gear was stripped out to the minimum and this made the walk across the field to the top pool quite bearable, I walked through the small gate and dropped my gear in the boathouse peg so I could have a look around, it was starting to crack light and with nobody around I had the lake to myself, all I needed was a fish to roll and give me a clue and I could drop onto the area and be in with a chance of catching.
I was using tiger nuts at the time and these were fished on the D-rig that I finally published last week. The D-rig has been a nice little string to my bow for many years and during the mid to late 90's it was the darling of capesthorne, those spooky capes carp didn't seem to have an answer to the D-rig and it constantly tripped the carp up time and time again.
Right on cue a carp head and shouldered beyond the main pads to the right of the boat house so I grabbed my gear and moved down a couple of pegs and into the bay (peg 12). I cast a couple of single tiger nut D-rigs to were the carp had rolled and sat back to see what happened. I didn’t have to wait long, just 5 minutes after casting in the right hand rod pulled down and signalled a run. I was on it straight away, the fish took a bit of line but once it got bogged down in the weed the fight changed and the fish became quite subdued. I slowly pumped the carp and the accompanying weed back towards the net, apart from a nervous moment close in when the fish tried to make the branches of a fallen tree, I had no problems and I slipped the net under my prize after a fight that lasted about 5 minutes.
I peeled back the landing net mesh to find a nice common and on closer inspection I realised it was ‘the’ common, crinkle tail, a fish that is now quite famous and a target of every capesthorne top pool angler these days. Old crinkle tail looked in good shape and I thought I was looking down at my first ever 20lb common!. I weighed the old boy and the scales gave me 19lb 12oz, not quite my first 20lb common but still a pb common none the less. I did a few self takes and returned crinkle tail to the water, back in 1997 self takes were allowed and its only recently they’ve been banned on sotas waters.
I’d had a quick result, it was 7.30am when I’d caught crinkle tail and I fished on through dawn and through the morning with no further action. I had hoped to bank another fish having got crinkle at the start of my session but it wasn’t to be and early in the afternoon I gathered my gear together and moved onto the main lake for the rest of the day.
Capesthorne main lake was fishing quite hard and being Saturday afternoon I was up against it, I stood on the bridge looking for carp and wondering what to do, this was a position I’ve been in many times before and after spending an hour looking round I decided to drop onto the famous ornamental eagle peg in the garden pool. I knew from hours of watching capesthorne carp that they would move up from the shallows late afternoon and that I might stand a chance in the eagle. I knew the swim and I knew the margins in front of it were a prime area for carp moving through in the evenings. I fished a few benches to the left of the eagle so as not to disturb the area, I dropped both D rigs in the margins and sat back to watch the water, if I saw fish move elsewhere I could always move on them if necessary, otherwise I was sitting and waiting for the carp to come to me.
I was enjoying the day and with no radio on I was still free from the historical event that was unfolding in the real world. It was 6.50pm when my attention was caught by a single bleep from one of my delkims. I looked at the rods just as the left hand rod flew off. A carp had picked up one of my margin fished baits in front of the eagle and bolted for open water!. The fight was a cracker with no weed to get stuck in and the carp made several determined runs in a fruitless attempt to evade my landing net. The runs became shorter until eventually I slipped the net under a nice mirror, it wasn’t one of the bigger main lake fish and the scales revealed a weight of 15lb 8oz. Although it wasn’t a biggie, it was the first fish that had been out for a few days and its capture put the icing on the cake of a good days fishing for me.
A new pb common from the top pool and a nice mirror from the main lake later on was a great result and I was rightfully pleased with the day I’d just had, in fact I may have been the only person who was grinning from ear to ear on that famous day!.