Sunday, 23 August 2009

Screaming Reels Pt2

Just picking up from Screaming Reels Pt1, I’d started fishing at 15.00pm on the afternoon of Saturday 1st August and by 19.45pm I’d racked up no fewer than 6 doubles. The carp were coming at a rate of more than 1 per hour, bearing in mind you have to play the fish in, weigh and photograph them before re-baiting and re-casting, you can understand just why I wanted a base camp set up!. After that sixth carp I wound the second rod in, packed everything away and lugged my gear a hundred yards further up the bank and dropped in next to my mate Barry who’d arrived a few hours previous.

The first thing I did was get the stealth brolly up, as I was doing this Barry shouted over to ask if I wanted a brew, what a star, I’d not had time to think about eating or having a drink so I gratefully accepted Barry’s offer and cracked on with getting my gear sorted out. Once the stealth was up I got my bedchair and my trakker sleeping bag set up then pushed them both under the brolly. The rods and pod were all quickly set up and within 5 minutes I was settled down and ready to start fishing again. Barry was literally 5 yards away from me as we were occupying adjacent swims and he popped his head round the brolly with a nice steaming cup of tea just as I was hair rigging a bait on my first rod. As I was fishing the margins casting and baiting was easy, the left hand rod went just off an overhanging tree in the margins and the right hand rod went straight out in front of me, the left rod had a small bed of red band pigeon conditioner with a few pellets fed over the top and a pellet on the hook whilst the right hand rod was just pellets, one on the hook and 20-30 scattered around the rig itself.

I managed to eat a bit of food whilst I was having my brew and I stood chatting to Barry about our chances for the night ahead. As the light faded we were both expecting a sleepless night, it was just a case of how many we’d catch rather than would we catch anything at all!. Barry was in first, as we stood chatting one of his antique Super XL bite alarms burst into life and he began doing battle with a decent fish. Like me Barry was fishing the margins so his fish took off like a rocket and gave a really good account of itself. It was another common and a decent fish at 18lb plus a few ounces. The fish was documented and returned to the water and not long after my left hand delkim gave a single bleep. This was the rod that was fished over the red band pigeon conditioner and I guessed it was a line bite. I didn’t have to wait long after that, just a few minutes later the left hand rod was away with a blistering take!. I was on it quickly and just like Barry’s fish a few minutes earlier, this one gave a really good account of itself as it bored up and down the margins for 5 minutes or so. With 15lb big game line on my spools there was no way any of my fish were going to get away and it was just a case of wearing the fish down until it was ready for the landing net. There were no problems and I netted my seventh carp of the session. The move next to Barry was looking like a good one when it came to the size of the carp, along with Barry’s 18lber, I’d also caught my biggest of the session so far, a common weighing 17lb 6oz.

Cheshire carp fishing again, 17lb 6oz


An upper double each was a good start to the night ahead, my 17 had arrived at 21.30pm and I had to wait another hour for any more action. I could hear carp crashing all over the lake and I was literally sat on my hands waiting for another bite. It was the right hand rod this time, this was the rod that was just a pellet fished over more pellets. There was no warning, the alarm just went off and the spool on my infinity baitrunner reel just fizzed, I have my delkims on low so the sound of my spool ticking is as loud as the alarms themselves and under cover of darkness a full blooded run still sounded like it could wake the dead!. This fish played out just like the last one, it felt slightly heavier than the carp I’d caught during the afternoon and after a good scrap in the margins my thoughts were confirmed when I weighed and photographed another 17lb fish, this one was slightly heavier than the last at 17lb 12oz.

17lb 12oz North West Common


I re-baited my rig and a gentle underarm cast had another pellet back in position, I topped up with another 20-30 pellets and sat back to await the next run. This was my plan for the night, keep the traps reasonably small and fish for them one at a time rather than bait heavily, I was only fishing the margins anyway so it was very easy to keep just a little bit of feed in the swim, enough to get them on the bait but not enough that I might have to wait long for a bite!.

After my second 17lber I didn’t have to wait very long for another fish, I think we knew things would most likely kick off big time and no sooner had I dropped my rig back in when it was away again!. Being out in the Cheshire countryside it would have been pitch black if it wasn’t for the moon which was just about giving enough light to land my fish. Like the two 17’s this fish fought really well in the margins and it was great to see these fish taking line off the spool rather than just wallowing into the net from long range. I eventually netted this fish after playing knit one pearl one with my left hand rod. I’d positioned my unhooking mat at the back of my brolly and just left it there, I didn’t see the point in hanging it up to dry when I knew full well more fish were likely to follow so by now I had a system going and was able to get through weighing and photographing pretty quickly. I switched my head torch on to unhook my fish and noticed that I’d caught another mirror my third of the session in all, it weighed in at 14lb even which was the same kind of weight range as the previous two mirrors I’d had in the daytime.

14lb South Cheshire mirror carp


It was getting ridiculous, every time I dropped in I barely had chance to get in the sleeping bag before one of the alarms would start up and the reel would scream. Another common of 11lb 6oz quickly followed the mirror and after I returned it I felt like I was completely shot!. I couldn’t cope with any more runs and Barry was having a quiet time next door. It just seemed that I was intercepting the fish as they came along the margins and with my bait being the first they came across I was getting most of the runs. Just before midnight I decided to wind in and have a bit of a kip, I was tired, my back was aching and I just felt like I really needed to close my eyes so I dived in the bag and settled down to a few hours sleep.

This story seems to be turning into an episode of war and peace (lol) so I’ve decided to split it into 3 as there’s more to come, until next time, tight lines everybody.

Mark.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Screaming Reels Pt1

If you are a regular reader of my north west carp blog it won’t have escaped your notice that there haven’t been as many updates this year. Going back to my last winter entry, Winter Carping Pt7, I was thinking of changing waters and starting on my new syndicate early. It was the syndicate that stopped my writing in its tracks simply because there is a strict publicity ban. I did indeed ‘go syndicate’ and I’ve spent late winter, spring and most of the summer time quietly trying to get amongst some decent syndicate carp. My fortunes have been mixed, I haven’t struggled to catch fish but I have struggled to catch any of the big ones and I’ve only managed a couple of big carp since February. There has been one major milestone to happen on the syndicate and that was the capture of my first north west 30. The 30lb barrier is a target I’ve been trying to reach on 'home soil' for 13 years now and one day in July I finally slipped the net under one of the only remaining targets I actually had in my angling life. It was a special moment and one that meant a lot given the amount of time I’d been chasing this particular goal.

Following the capture of my first north west 30 I started to think about my fishing a little, after 6 months solid fishing on the syndicate I was ready for a break so I organised a bit of a social session with a couple of mates. Steve and Barry were up for a trip to a runs water so we decided to have a night on my winter runs water, it was always productive in the cold and we expected some serious action from the carp hence the ‘Screaming Reels’ title for this entry!.

It had been 6 months since I’d last visited Cheshire and I must admit I’ve missed the shire a lot, Cheshire has some stunning countryside and some nice lakes and I was happy to be back in this carp anglers paradise. My sat nav still had all my old haunts programmed in so I plotted my usual course to the lake and set off just after 1pm on Saturday 1st August. The journey to the lake was only delayed by some road works but that didn’t matter, I had the rest of the day and all night and I knew full well I wasn’t going to blank on such a prolific north west runs water.

I arrived literally a minute before Steve, as he arrived I was sitting in the car scanning the lake for signs of carp. There were plenty of fish crashing everywhere but one area in particular was looking like a Jacuzzi with all the fizzing that was going on, occasionally a carp would poke its head up and roll before a mass of bubbles would hit the surface. That area meant an easy choice of swims for us and Steve took one side of the bubbling area and I took the other.

I started off fishing just as I do in winter, a pellet bottom bait with another couple of pellets in a pva mesh bag cast right on top of the hot area. I had both rods in by 15.05pm, it had started to rain a little so I moved my tackle underneath a tree to help keep it dry, I only got my rucksack moved when the right hand delkim let out a series of bleeps, I turned round to see my monkey climber just reaching the floor so I jumped on the rod, wound down and hit it!. Sure enough I had my first carp of the day on and despite the fish being hooked 50 yards out I quickly gained control of the situation and made easy headway when it came to getting the carp into the margins, in fact my first fish didn’t fight much at all and after a few minutes I landed a nice common that looked roughly average size for the water. I got my unhooking mat, scales and camera out and quickly weighed and photographed the fish before returning my prize to the water. My first fish was a common that tipped the scales at 13lb exactly. I jokingly shouted to Steve next door that he should pull his finger out as I’d already had one within 3 minutes of getting the rods out but it turned out he’d had one too and he’d hooked his quicker than mine!.

13lb Common, my first fish of the day


With my first fish caught I quickly baited my rig with another pellet, added another pva mesh bag and whacked the rod back out again. With so many fish bubbling up in the area I was literally sitting on my hands waiting for the next run to come. It took another 45 minutes before my left hand rod rattled off, no drop back this time, just a screaming reel as the bait runner fizzed away. I was on it straight away and the carp gave me a little trouble as it kited to the left and tried to get beyond an overhanging marginal tree. I reacted to this quickly and applied some moderate side strain to keep the fish on my side of the tree and when I saw I’d accomplished this I eased off on the pressure and just played the carp in with no trouble, I saw the fish was a mirror as it slipped into the landing net and it looked a little bigger than my first fish. I quickly ran through the weigh and photograph routine and my mirror turned the scales to 14lb 8oz.

14lb 8oz Northern mirror carp


Things went a little quiet after the mirror and I actually managed to sit down for an hour or two, I got the stove out, made a brew and contemplated the night ahead. I really wanted to fish the margins during the night and I decided not to set up the brolly until I’d moved later in the evening. I planned to just leave the rods out until Barry arrived then pick a more comfortable margin swim when he was settled in. Having decided on a plan of action I just sat watching the carp bubbling away and I wondered why my third run hadn’t come, there were fish all over the area and with 2 carp caught inside the first 50 minutes I expected more. I had to wait two and a half hours for any more action and it was the left hand rod that melted away again. It was a bit like groundhog day as this fish did exactly the same as the last one trying to get the other side of the marginal tree. I was having none of it and more side strain kept the fish coming to the waiting net. It was another mirror roughly the same size as the previous 2 fish and after a quick trip to the mat I weighed it at 13lb 14oz, a very pretty mirror it was too!.

13lb 14oz Scaley cheshire mirror carp


That 13lb 14oz mirror kicked off an intense feeding period, the mirror arrived at 18.30pm and I followed it with commons of 12lb, 10lb 4oz and 10lb 6oz all in the next hour, it was getting to the stage were I couldn’t keep my rods in, I just seemed to be either playing or weighing and photographing a carp!. By 19.45pm I was knackered, luckily Barry had arrived and set up so I wound in and looked at moving swims. I felt like I needed my stealth brolly up with my bedchair under it, I’d been literally standing up for the last few hours and I really needed a base camp. With this in mind I dropped in next to Barry for the night and what a night it turned out to be!. I’ll continue with Part 2 of ‘Screaming Reels’ for my next blog entry, until then, tight lines.

Mark.