With that in mind, let’s talk rigs:
To begin with our rigs were simple. Well proven presentations that caught the odd fish; comprising short, supple hooklinks and semi-fixed leads. We used poles when required to sink the leader into the gravel, and even back then, over a decade ago, we were using wickedly sharpened hooks. Efficient and reliable would have been a fair summary of our rigs, I think.
Bear in mind the clarity of the lake and the eyeball to eyeball nature of the fishing; this gave us the chance to watch the fish react to our baited hooks. Truly, these were bum clenching, sweaty palmed moments that will never be forgotten.
One September afternoon Andy and I were in our usual position, namely bellies to the ground and noses poking out the marginal greenery. On this occasion Andy’s small bottom bait was so close to us that, if he had held my feet, I could have picked his rig up by hand. Sitting over the top of the bait was a mirror carp, well over forty pounds and utterly exquisite. The hookbait was visible amongst a scattering of crumbled boilies and we watched the fish hoover up some of the broken bits with a delicacy that seemed at odds with its sheer size. Whilst we watched transfixed Andy started emitting a series of bat-like squeaks; he has never been a man to contain himself.
*To balance this, I would like to add that he is an angling machine and the safest pair of hands there is though if brutal honesty was acceptable, you probably wouldn’t trust him round a tethered goat.
The fish then did a lazy circle of about a rod length and came back for another mouthful. In total, there was only six or seven boilies worth of bits in the swim, yet after a full hour of sporadic feeding the fish was still on the bait. The slow movement meant that we saw the boilie enter, then exit, the huge mouth a few times before he finally made an error. This time, the bait was not coming out and it was almost possible to register the change of facial expression as the hook did its job. Do carp swear? If so, then that was the moment. Forty-four pounds of stunning mirror then took off at high speed and chaos ensued… To be continued in Part 2