The angler who was on last week was on again, he was in the bay but he didn’t have a lot of water in front of him and I scratched my head wondering why he hadn’t dropped into my open water swim instead?. The answer to that question came soon enough as a carp rolled against the ice in the bay, I looked at the rolling fish and sure enough another 3 shows followed in quick succession. He’d beaten me to the fish again. I’m not one for getting up early to go fishing, I usually arrive at the lake sometime between 10 and 11am and this early bird was beating me to the fish!.
As well as no carp, my swim also had other problems namely a lot of ice that needed shifting, between me and my usual winter hotspot was a strip of ice that was roughly 20 yards long and about 10 yards wide, this sheet of ice was blocking me from casting so I needed to move it. I cast over the ice and slowly retrieved my rig until it got caught up in the ice. At this point I dropped the rod tip to water level and slowly applied pressure to the rod. At first nothing happened but after a few seconds the rod tip began to spring back so I applied some more pressure and again slowly the rod tip began to spring back. I literally pumped that big sheet of ice into the margins were I could break it up. It took me 15 minutes to move the ice from 40 yards out into the margins. It was 15 minutes well spent as I could now cast my rig onto my favourite spot which I duly did.
The second rod went out to the left as close to the edge of the ice as I could cast, as the ice melted I would recast this rod as far over to my left and as far towards the bay as I could possibly get as this was the area the fish were occupying and I had to get as close to them as possible to give myself a chance of catching.
The angler in the bay was having a good day, I saw him land at least 4 carp and I suspect he may have had a few more besides the ones I saw him land. This would be the kind of result I’d expect to have if I was on my own but my late arrivals meant a second best swim for me. I badly needed rid of the ice as it was preventing me from getting a bait into the area the carp were holding up. Just after midday I had the good fortune to feel a breeze on my face, over the next half an hour the breeze got stronger and slowly but surely a massive raft of floating ice slowly moved away from the bay and started to break up. By 1pm the lake was completely ice free!.
I wasted no time, as soon as I had a clear path to my left I wound in the roving rod and whacked a rig and mesh bag as hard as I could towards the entrance to the bay. The rig landed perfectly so I made a decision to leave it there for the rest of the session, I was still slightly off the fish but with an angler in the bay and no ice to hide under I was convinced the carp would push out to were my left hand bait was, with the hotspot already covered this was to be my last roll of the dice for the day and it was time to sit it out for that all important run.
By 3.30pm I was looking at my watch and thinking I’d blown it, there were carp in the area I’d cast the roving rod but nothing had happened, the hotspot rod had also remained spookily quiet and with less than an hour of my session left I was beginning to resign myself to a blank. Its funny how fishing goes sometimes, you expect a run and it doesn’t come, you don’t expect one and all of a sudden your bite alarm springs into life!. That’s pretty much how it was on this occasion, it was 15.50pm when the left hand rod tip suddenly pulled round and the alarm sounded. All I could think about was how much of a relief it was to finally get a run!.
The carp swam towards me very quickly, from roughly 100 yards range it was under my feet in less than a minute, I knew what was coming so I loosened off the clutch on my reel and sure enough, as I gained contact with the fish close in it ran hard and I had to give line quickly. The carp wasn’t a particularly big fish so I had it under control quite quickly, experience has taught me to loosen the clutch when a fish swims towards me because they invariably run when they’ve put up so little fight. With the carp in the margins I just kept a steady pressure on and wore the fish down until it popped up on top and went into the waiting landing net.
I was relieved to say the least, I really thought I was going to blank and I really didn’t deserve that!. I secured the net and got on with setting up the scales and camera. The carp weighed in at 13lb 6oz, another average size fish for the water. I have to say I made a complete mess of the pictures, for once I wasn’t paying attention and in my haste to get the fish back to the water I didn’t take the angle of the sun and the position of the tripod into consideration. The result being a shadow across the carps tail that is in the shape of the tripod. I realised I’d done this but I wasn’t going to subject my carp to any more time out of the water than necessary so I made do with the pictures I had and released the fish back to the water.
With one carp caught I suddenly felt another fish might be on the cards, my hook bait was still on so with time running out I quickly attached another pva mesh mesh bag and whacked the bait back out to the same distant spot. Again the cast was good and I sat down to see if my last half an hour would produce a bonus fish. Instead of packing up at 16.30pm I made do with putting my gear away and sitting it out a bit longer, I was convinced another run was just minutes away and I ended up staying until 17.00pm in the hope of another bite. Despite half an hours overtime the run never came and I finally conceded defeat and packed up.
I did my usual stint with the spod before leaving for home and it was completely dark by time I left. On the way home I thought long and hard about fishing this water for the rest of the winter. With another angler consistently being there earlier than me I was going to struggle and that’s something I’m not used to on this water having had it to myself for so long. I already have my fishing plans in place for 2009 and I’ve started to consider a change of venue for the rest of the winter. I’ve got a week or so to sit and reflect on the change of scenery I’m thinking about, it will certainly mean less runs but at the same time, bigger fish than low twenties would be a very real possibility and right now the thought of somewhere new to tackle is very appealing.