I chose to try a relatively un-fished venue which is known not for the size of its fish but the beauty of the carp that live there (a bit off a change to my normal angling). In the past I have been previously unsuccessful on this venue and wanted a challenge.
This 2 acre, oval shaped lake has a tree lined bank on one side and an open grass bank on the other with an outflow at one end. As summer arrives the lily pads coming up and cover two thirds of the lake, which poses a real challenge when playing fish. The lake is only 2 feet deep, crystal clear with a very silty bottom and some heavy weed beds. The fish like to move through channels and gaps in the pads.
I had a day session planned, but decided to go over for a few hours the afternoon before on a fact finding visit, just to see what technique’s to employ the following day. Of course I took a couple of rods in the hope of grabbing a chance of a bite!
After a lap of the lake I noticed carp moving through open water and some bubbling on the edge of the pads as well as some cloudy water created by feeding fish. There was no specific pattern or area of feeding so I employed a range of methods, from solid bags (to attract the odd patrolling carp), surface fishing, stalking in a gap in the pads next to the bank and zig’s to fool any carp moving around off of the lake bed.
After a quick walk it was straight down to business with a solid bag of oily trout pellets and a balanced fake corn set up on a simple hair rig on one rod and zig on the other flicked out there and fishing.
After an hour behind motionless rods, and not being one to sit around and do nothing, I upped sticks and went stalking to try and make things happen. After 10 minutes of heart stopping activity on the spot the first fish that mouthed the hook bait was nailed in the bottom lip with a size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip on a rig I made up (half of the supple coated braid stripped with some Critical Mass Putty in the middle of it and a small amount of shrink tube to aid the hooking of the fish). Soon a little single figure stunner graced the net.
With the fish moving out of the pads it was back to the solid bag and zig approach. Before long a strong ‘single’ mirror was caught on the zig. About 15 minutes after the return of that fish the solid bag rod roared into life with a corking dark wild looking mirror battling at the other end of the line and before long a little 9lber was in the net.
I used a supple coated hook link with only the hair striped back a small piece of Gardner Critical Mass tungsten putty placed halfway up the hook link to pin everything down and an anti-tangle sleeve to push everything away from the lead. I used a lead clip to dump the lead (a 3oz Flat Pear) just in case I encountered any snags during the fight and also to avoid dragging the rig into the silt. My leader of choice was 4 feet of Gardner CamFlex leadcore tied safely so the lead can fall off of the leadcore in an event of a snap off, which shouldn’t occur because I used strong tackle that was up to the job of playing fish out of snags.
With the visit being so successful, I set myself the challenge of a double figure fish, a tall order for that lake as the biggest is around mid-double.
Arriving the next morning I adopted the same successful tactics that I had finished with the evening before. Only minutes after the solid bag was cast out into a gap in the pads it absolutely roared off with a stunning 12lb mirror and with that my challenge was complete in under an hour!
Back out went another bag to the same spot and it was not long before I was in again with an 11lb mirror. There really are not many doubles in the lake and they are very wary so two runs and two doubles was brilliant, I was already made up with my captures!
After the rods were cast back out and I’d enjoyed a cup of tea (Grandad was on catering and netting duties whilst also fishing!!) it was evident the fish were drifting into the pads again, so in the rods came and I went off in search of another carp. It was not long before I had another one in the net, this time a hard battling 8lb mirror.
The action then slowed down and they stopped feeding and I needed to think fast; surface fishing it was then to try and pick off a single fish. A bit of crusty bread was just too tempting for a beautiful single figure carp that was also soon sliding into the net at 9lb. With a couple of people turning up I moved back to the solid bag approach as stalking was slowing up a bit.
I caught another 3 fish to 9lb all on the solid bags before I left. In all I had 10 fish with 2 doubles, so I was delighted with the session. I put a lot of effort in and rewards came. There were 3 others on the lake and nobody else caught anything, so I was really satisfied with my efforts!