A very lucky chuck and another chunk of a carp…
I can’t quite believe that I’m sat here tapping away on the old keyboard, starting another piece for the website. As you may have guessed already, inevitably it means that I have enjoyed some success at the Park Lake. I’m no angling hero – but I am fishing consistently and in tune with the lake so although it would be easy for me to ‘give it large’ please read this in eth context of a competent angler that can’t quite believe the run of fabulous fortune that I’m enjoying.
Right, so last time I wrote, I did a work night on Tuesday night. I set up in the ‘Up and Over’ in Bramble Bay, after seeing fish bubbling in Turtle Corner to the right of the swim. Naturally, I tend to always sling a rod up there; that or hope to pick the fish off as they come and go. I had liners all night, heard fish jump in the corner and couldn’t quite work out why I didn’t catch one.
To the car for 7 and off to work like normal I was timed out for the next 4 nights and didn’t have any intention of going fishing the next night but… But when I got home and really fancied going back to Pit 4. The lake was being a bitch, and I had done enough nights there since catching Tatty with NO success that it was starting to bug me…
Despite my success on Welly I found myself questioning my overnight approach of scattering boilies and fishing Ronnies on really long hooklinks (to combat the candyfloss and general weed). I arrived, walking on from the Hatches, and wandered around looking for a sign. I stood on ‘Homo-Point’ for ages and then noticed a fish bow waving towards No Carp bay so took a walk. As I crept into the swim I noticed a carpy swirl close in and soon saw half a dozen carp (and more) milling about in the bay.
So I ran and grabbed the barrow and cautiously flicked small leads and long links close in covering eth areas that fish were evident in… They didn’t do the normal ‘Houdini’ – but they did edge back a couple of rod lengths. This was good as normally they’d be long gone. I woke the next morning and saw a fish show in the same spots they were on the night before. It had been really warm (30C+ daytime and 17 at night) and they must have stayed all night.
As I reeled in my first rod a big fish jumped a couple of foot from where I had whipped the rod in from… SIGH… and then another rolled by the middle rod [shakes fist at world icon].
The next night – well I may have already had an inkling I wanted to fish, as I threw in a bit of bait when I left – I was straight back to No Carp after work but there was a Westerly breeze blowing in and the area didn’t feel right (and the ripple was hiding me being able to see anything that was there). So, in the absence of any other sightings I went round to Sam’s where I had seen a fish show that morning. A couple of liners and – nothing. Aaaarrrggghhhhh!
Sometimes you need to be realistic about work nights – and at the time a large proportion of bites on Pit 4 in areas I had fished were daytime (well after I would be gone and on way to work) so I decided to carry on but started to consider new areas that may be more viable for a night bite. That or just wait for night feeding to become more predominant as the nights draw in.
Either way not catching on 4 was starting to be irksome! Occasional pep talks (to myself) about location – location – location just weren’t helping… Sometimes you just have to carry on and fish.
In the meantime, after another day in work I popped home to ‘freshen up’ knowing it would mean a late arrival at Welly – but arriving after dark doesn’t worry me (I’m well practiced).
By the time I had delivered provisions to Kristian on the other side of the lake the full moon was above the trees and the NW wind was chugging into Animal Farm. Now the Welly carp often back off the wind, but this was glorious (but chilly) and as I was the last one down and the other swims I fancied were taken I was happy to do a night and re-assess in the morning.
I set 3 traps well of the tree line and heard a couple of subtle rolls and a whacker jump on the tree line to my left. It was so bright I couldn’t sleep until it clouded up at about 3AM on Saturday morning – and I was getting the odd bleep that I’m sure was a couple of big fish brushing the back leaded lines. The next morning I had a savage liner and then some twitches on the same rod. Maybe the resident crayfish were doing me, as I looked at the spot I thought I’d cast to I could see a couple of big clusters of bubbles to so I was certain I needed to leave the rods in place.
About 9:30, I decided to move to the Grassy as my specimen uber angling hero (Neil ‘The Fishing God’ Stephens) was leaving soon and I was really confident that there would be a chance of a bite from that area when the wind swung more northerly.
I packed the rods away last, leaving the left hand one till last. When I lifted the back lead I was horrified to see the line cut to the trees several rod lengths away from the spot I’d cast too! I went round and had a good look in eth back of the snags and saw no movement. When I was convinced there was nothing there I gave the rod the beans. Still nothing and I went and checked and still saw nothing in the woodwork, so that was that. I was truly GUTTED. Each and every loss on a water with the pedigree of Welly really stings!
When Neil departed from the Grassy (eventually) I didn’t delay in getting the rods out that were all wrapped up ready from the wait. A cast slightly too high saw one rig land in the Alcove tree (I’m blaming the Northerly that was from behind) and then the second rod did the same on the end of the island. FFS!
I redid them and the Alcove rod went in super sweet. It was dreamy… Then the longer rod on the end landed in a spot I didn’t think was possible to get too. It was the jammiest, luckiest, flukiest cast of the year and I turned round to Betty (Kris) and asked if he thought the line was caught up. He said it was in clean and even said something nice about the cast! I could see from the way the line was sinking back towards me that it was in there and I carefully added a Drop Out back lead and settled the lines – adding a larger Bug Indicator to make sure the drop backs would show better at the range (about 120 yards).
Zelda (aka Stotty), Betty (aka Kris)and I baited at the same time to try and minimise the grief off the birds – and it worked to a degree. Mainly because they concentrated on Kris for some reason! Ha ha…
All three rods had Ronnie’s and Carp Co Caviar and Cranberry pop ups on. I tend to fish with just a lead clip (no tubing etc) at range these days as it’s so subtle and I was really confident as I drifted off.
At 11:30 a series of bleeps heralded a drop back and I pickled the rod up and walked back just to make sure that I was drawing the fish away from any snags on the island. I heavy plodding fight (with the odd heavy powerful short run) lasted about 10 minutes and ended with a big back coming in over the net cord.
This was like a dream – and I’ll never tire of seeing these awe inspiring fish! I unhooked the fish (nailed on a Ronnie) and did all the zeroing slings and stuff with the fish folded in the net in the water. When I lifted here up she spun the needle on my nice new Reuben’s to just over 49! 49lb 4oz to be exact and Betty did the honours with my camera and we identified her as a big framed fish called ‘The Unknown’! Luckily this was another new one from the amazing A-team Welly big fish list. What a lake!
I packed up relatively early Sunday to go to the new Ikea in Theale – YAY – which was surprisingly fairly painless (all except for my wallet). When we got back I was Pit 4 bound as Alan and I were doing product videos Monday and I like to get out and try to get a fish (or at least put myself in with a chance) for the cameras. I think it portrays the company extremely positively if I can demonstrate the products and methods with a fish occasionally so used it as the perfect excuse to do my 6th night on the bounce! LOL.
I got to Pit 4 just gone 6 – so didn’t have loads of time to look – but still walked about till it was almost dark trying to spot a gift (a sign to react to). In the end all I saw was a couple of very subtle “maybe’s” out long off of one bank and I elected to set up there as it would offer good light for videoing the following day.
It was just light enough to see the first 2 rods go out, but it was pitch black by the time I got the third rod unzipped from my Hauling Rod Sleeve. Oh well. Casting in the dark is no different to casting in the light (as long as it’s not windy anyway).
In the end I elected to set traps with bait spodded over the rods rather than the normal scattering, and by the time all of the bait was spodded out it had been dark a couple of hours. This strategic decision was based on the fact I was sure I would have fish move through the area (based on observation of their movements most days) and I could leave the rods out whilst concentrating on doing a decent volume of video work with Alan…
One rod went in super sweet – thumping down in about 8ft of water – and I was hopeful of a bit. Just before dawn I woke to a steady run and cajoled a partially weeded fish from range all the way into the net with very little difficulty.
YES! A pit 4 fish at last… And the timing was spot on with the fish being temporarily retained for the arrival of Norma (Alan) a short while later when we did the shots and got her back. What a lovely common she was and consequently my head is now firmly in the clouds, sometimes a fish doesn’t need to be a monster to ‘light your fire’.
Before I had cast out I had shortened the booms, but I honestly don’t think the bite was because of a rig tweak which was really just to alleviate tangles at range – it was more likely I was simply in a night zone. We watched fizzers out there the next morning but didn’t get another bite (unsurprisingly really). It’s certainly an area I really fancy for this week – hence not naming the swim – and I may well bait it ready.
The nights are drawing in and casting in the daylight will certainly soon be a distant memory and the wife may well have to contend with me being at home a bit more often (and about time too – as she has already exhibited the patience of Jobe in the last few months)
What a year it’s been! I still can’t quite believe the quantity and the quality of fish I’ve caught. It’s been truly fantastic.