It was last knockings as usual, around 7.30pm and I decided to get in a quick over night session before work the following day. I’ve been struggling of late and the with a weather forecast of thunder and lightning I thought to myself ‘If you can’t catch anything tonight, you never will!’
With this in mind, I grabbed a kilo or so of Cell and Hybrid from the freezer and off I went on a mission to set up before the storm arrived. No such luck, I arrived at the lake around 30 minutes after the rain had started to fall. With no time to waste I donned the chest waders and my Downpour Jacket, grabbed my Tempest Air and quickly set up with the strong easterly wind pushing directly onto the rear of it. Once the bivvy was up I then made a dash with the rest of my kit and threw it under the bivvy before it was too wet. In all honestly I didn’t have much kit with me, just the Flat bed with my Sub Zero bag nicely tucked away inside out of the rain, brew kit and a bit of tackle. I was set up in literally a few minutes.
I decided to use just bottom baits straight out of the bag, 18mm Cell, and a chopped down Orange Special pop up to make a snowman rig. I constructed my hook links using the awesome size 8 Covert Mugga hook which I touched up with the Point Doctor 2, 20lb Silt Trickster Heavy braid and 20lb Trick-Link to form a combi-link. It’s a little fiddly to tie to start with but instead of using a knotless knot I decided to tie the braid to the hook with a Palomar knot. The reason I did it this way is I think it sits nicer than a knotless knot when using a very soft material such as braid, more secure if you like. I pass the tag end of the knot back through the front of the hook eye and tie an over-hand loop to form the hair. Lastly I half hitch the hair to the hook so the hair exits the hook from the back and approximately opposite the barb. I finish the rig by using an Albright knot to attach the braid to the Trick-Link and then gain the desired length of the hook link with a figure of 8 loop at the other end. This attaches to my lead set up using a Gardner Kwik-Lok Swivel.
I use the Pro XM main line and I loop to loop a CamFlex lead free leader to it, only a short length of around 2-3 feet. From here I set up a helicopter rig consisting of a Target Line Stop, a Covert bead, Kwik-Lok swivel, another Covert bead, XL Buffer bead, Q-ring and a Drop Out Chod Safety Clip. All in all a reliable, safe set up.
I was fishing in what I call the North bay of Argal Reservoir. The lake itself is 65 acres and the bay is several acres and much shallower than the rest of the lake. It’s also full of rocks and stumps, so knowing where to put my baits was paramount. The ‘banker’ rod is usually the right hander, however on this occasion the middle looked favourite because the water level is down a few feet and the usual right hander area was a touch too shallow, so I couldn’t get to that exact spot.
I cast the middle rod around 70 yards out onto a lovely flat sandy/hard silt area set between some stumps. The gap is around two rod lengths between the stumps so plenty of room for one bait. The rig sailed out perfectly and I stopped the lead in flight around 6 feet above the water and gave a drag back on the rod, so I could feel the lead down on a tight line. The lead came down with a beautiful thud, bang on the money I thought! The other rods went out in similar fashion. I then peppered a kilo or so of free offerings over all three rods.
Luckily as I finished getting the rods in and I tucked myself under cover as storm really picked up and it absolutely hammered down with rain, accompanied with some extremely loud bangs and lightning that literally hurt my eyes. It was all a bit exciting for a minute there! I also had what I would describe as a river running through my bivvy and under my bed but it just seemed to miss my kit, which was lucky!
Just as the worst of the storm was passing and I was watching the lightning move further away my ATTS box let out a single beep. It was the middle rod and I noticed the Bug Indicator had lifted slightly. The line hadn’t pulled out of the clip, so I went to investigate. The line was tight, very tight, and although the line was still in the clip there must have been a fish of some description on the end, so I lifted the rod into it. There was a solid resistance on the end and I remember thinking to myself ‘That’s not a bream’ and then I thought ‘Keep the rod down you noddy!’ I had a little chuckle to myself thinking what a way to go, bent into a good carp then BOOM it’s all over!
I continued to play the fish as it kited from right to left and went on some powerful runs, and I mean powerful. At one point my clutch was tight and the fish tore off line before I had the chance to slacken the clutch, I honestly couldn’t believe the hook didn’t pull. Anyway, I eventually slipped the net under the fish, flicked on my head torch and could see I had the Silver Common. It’s a fish I’ve caught before but after the run of luck I’ve had of late she was more than welcome. I did some self takes in the dark as it was far too early to think about sacking a fish. I treated the hook hold with Gardner Medic and slipped her back. Incidentally the hook hold was slap bang centre of the bottom lip around 1.5 inches back. The perfect hook hold, she was never coming off!
I re-cast the rod and tried to get some sleep. The wind was still smashing into the back of the bivvy so I was snoozing at best until the same rod was away again at 4.30am. This time a stunning little mirror brought a smile to my face. At first I thought this fish was a stocky, and if it was it was doing well with a summer weight of 16lb. The largest stocky mirror that went in was 12lb. However on checking through the stocking photos I couldn’t find this mirror, so I have to assume it’s an actual Argal spawned fish which I was over the moon about.
After suffering a few blanks, carp fishing reminded me that by sticking with the things I know, not chopping and changing for the hell of it and staying confident. By digging in a bit and putting the effort in success was always guaranteed.
I couldn’t really sleep after the capture of the mirror, so I watched the morning come to life with a few brews, packed up and headed home for a shower, then work. After several blanks I felt like I was back in the game!