Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Red Letter Days Pt5

I’ve had a week or two away from carp fishing recently, not because of any particular reason, I just haven’t felt like getting out recently so I’ve simply taken a break. As I like to add at least one entry to my carp blog every week I’ve decided to continue my ‘red letter days’ series and look back at another of those special days in carp fishing when things fall right.

This particular ‘red letter day’ goes back to the mid 1990’s, Saturday 4th March 1995 to be exact!. At this time I was fishing a little known carp water in North Wales. I’d done the winter on this under fished welsh carp water and I’d been catching steadily through the colder months. I’d got my winter winter carp location spot on, the carp had been stacked up in and around a weedbed and I’d done well fishing in and around the dead weed.

Urban carping in North Wales during the mid 1990's


After a long winter, runs from the weedbed I was fishing had dried up a little and the previous week I’d caught a carp in the teeth of a big south westerly wind. This time the wind was gale force north westerly so again I opted to fish in the teeth of it rather than go back to the weedbed, I figured the fish had woken up a bit and although they weren’t rolling I had a hunch they’d be on the wind.
I got myself set up as comfortably as I could with a gale force wind blowing in my face, my mate barney thought I was mad and he couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to fish to the weed but I had a feeling the carp would move with such a big wind blowing. He’d opted to fish off the back of the wind so he could watch the water comfortably. I was fishing in a corner of the lake and I placed my hookbaits at the bottom of the marginal shelf just along each bank with the third in open water, the water at the bottom of the shelf was about 8ft deep so it was a fair depth and I hoped a patrolling carp would pick up one of my margin baits sometime during the hours of darkness.

I didn’t sleep much during the night, I’d like to say my location was spot on and the carp kept me up all night but it was the wind continually hammering my old fox supabivvy that kept me awake. I had a quiet night and by early morning I was still runless. I wound the rods in and went to have a chat with barney, he’d blanked too but during the night he’d heard carp crashing out somewhere along the bank to his left. I was on his right and the position he was hinting at put the carp on the back of the wind. I asked barney if he was going to move swims and he said no, he was comfortable where he was so having offered him the choice I told him I would pack my gear and move along the bank to his left to see if I could locate the fish and maybe get a chance before we went home later that day.

I knew the new area I was moving into, it was the weedbed area I’d done well from all winter so I opted for one bait in the middle of the dead weedbed with the other two rods just off the right and left hand edge of it. I didn’t bother setting up a shelter, I just hid behind the bedchair to avoid the biting wind that was now going straight over my head. I figured if the carp had been crashing in this area then they should be around the weedbed again. By 12.30pm I was starting to doubt if the move would pay off, I’d caught literally every session throughout the winter but I felt I was staring a blank in the face this time.

I wasn’t feeling confident at all when out of the blue at 1.05pm the right hand rod on the edge of the weed suddenly burst into life!. After the initial shock of my old super compact bite alarm sounding I ran to the rod and hit it. Sure enough the rod slammed over and I found myself doing battle with another hard fighting winter carp. This fish was a bit strange, after running 30 yards against the clutch it suddenly turned upwards and almost tail walked like a pike. I could clearly see it was a big fish with a very dark coloured black back. I had a feeling it was the lake biggie, he was known to tail walk on the first run and I’d never had any of my other welsh carp behave like this. After breaking surface in spectacular fashion the carp kept deep in the water for the rest of the fight. The fish fought particularly well in the margins and it took me quite a while to wear him down and get him ready for the net. Amazingly, as the fight was coming to an end I saw a second fish swimming with the big one, I even recognised the fish as a twenty I’d caught back in November 1994, the other fish continually flanked the biggun as it ploughed up and down the margins and it was only when he rolled into the landing net that the smaller 20 actually pulled away and disappeared out of sight!.

I had a lump of a carp in the landing net, the fish was known to be 25lb+ which meant a new personal best for me. I called barney and he came to help with the weighing and photographing of my new PB. The scales gave me 25lb 6oz, it was a magic moment holding up the biggest fish in the lake for pictures and I’ll never forget that fish!. Barney did a great job with the pictures and I returned the biggie to the water. We still had a few hours left so I put a fresh ultraspice popup on and recast to the edge of the weedbed.

25lb 6oz Winter mirror from a little fished North Wales carp lake


The recast ultraspice boilie had only been out for 5 minutes when it was away again!. This carp also gave a good account of itself and after a spirited fight I landed a lovely looking 12lb 12oz mirror. The day had turned out to be a good one and I was glad barney had told me about hearing the carp crashing out in the night. With a new PB and a nice double already under my belt I thought I’d cast the rod out again.

12lb 12oz Welsh carp came 5 minutes later


I wasn’t expecting anything else to happen after picking up 2 fish but amazingly the rod in the middle of the weedbed was away just 20 minutes later. This carp kept deep the whole fight and it was just as difficult to bring to the surface as the big one had been. I caught sight of the fish in the deep water and amazingly I found myself staring down at the low twenty that had been flanking the big mirror towards the end of the fight just half an hour earlier!.
I kept the pressure steady as I watched the fish twist and turn in the clear water, eventually this carp came closer and closer to the surface and once the fish had a gulp of air it soon gave up and went into the net. I was bouncing, even though it was a repeat capture I’d just caught my first ever brace of twenties and from a water that only had 2 twenty pound fish in it!. First time round in November this fish went 21lb 2oz, at the end of the winter he’d lost a little and I weighed the fish in at 20lb 4oz. I called barney again to do the pictures and he did the honours with the camera as usual. He congratulated me on my first ever brace of twenties too, it was a massive result catching the two biggest fish in the lake half an hour apart and the session became the highlight of a very successful winter carp campaign.

20lb 4oz Mirror that had been flanking the biggun just half an hour earlier!


I did put the middle rod back out again but I didn’t receive any further action. I couldn’t complain, the quick move for just a few hours turned out to be brilliant decision and things went better than I could ever have dreamed. I’ve had many red letter days since March 1995, my PB is much bigger these days and I’ve had a few sessions equally as good as this one but that first ever twenties brace still ranks as one of my most special angling moments.

Tight Lines
Mark.

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