Earlier in the year I had promised Wiggy a guest trip up the river and the talk of me catching the odd river carp had whetted his appetite, so a date was firmly set in early October. The mission was for Wiggy to catch a river carp, which was not going to be an easy feat at all. Heading down the river, to the carp zone, it looked completely dead and I just knew it was a waste of time being there. We stood around watching for signs of carp for some time, but to no avail. The decision was made to put a bit to bait in and head upstream, to see if we could get any barbel feeding. We had a walk around and settled in a weir where I had seen fish during the previous few weeks. I will just add, although though it was a guesty, I never took any gear with me, so I was the gillie for the day.
We got some barbel feeding in the weir and Wiggy lowered his rig into place. Within 15 minutes he was doing battle with what turned out to be an 11lb+ barbel. We had just finished the pictures and returned the barbel when Pete, the river keeper, called so we met up with him further down river and spent most of the day walking around the river and generally taking in the surroundings.
Towards late afternoon we headed back to the carp zone, and this time we found some fish feeding; one being a dark mid-20 common. With the fish moving off Wiggy lowered his rig onto the spot and we sat back waiting to see if we could catch one of these black carp swimming around in the deep clear water. In true style Wiggy he had a twitchy bite and as he wound down and lifted the rod up the big dark common also lifted in the water, and within seconds it was in the net! In my 36” barbel net it looked huge! As Wiggy got his bits ready whilst I held on to the net and the longer I looked into the net the bigger this dark mahogany coloured carp was getting.
When we lifted the fish out of the water, I remember thinking it might even be 30lb’er. Once unhooked we weighed the common at 28lb 12oz and then with the pictures done we let it waddle off. Both of us were buzzing and I could not have been happier for Wiggy. The way I had seen it feeding, prior to Wiggy catching it, I thought it won’t be long and it will be mine. Oh how wrong could I be…
All in all, I don’t think that the day could have gone much better, and that evening Wiggy was offered a ticket himself. I told him that the events of today will never happen again!
A few times that year I managed to get that common feeding, but not as hard as I had prior to Wiggy’s capture. On one occasion I watched a golden koi of about 14lb push fish off the spot when my rig was present. The year was getting on and with the extra flow and dead weed coming down the river it was becoming near on impossible to fish the area effectively.
The following year I baited the area heavily and fished regularly. The clear spot, that started off the size of a bin lid, had managed to become the size of a transit van – if not bigger! By the end of the season it almost stretched across the river, and I struggled, big time!
I had four bites all year; two by single figure carp and one about mid-double that managed unfortunately to get in a snag that had rolled down the river during the winter. My fourth bite was on the evening of the 4th November. This felt like a better fish, staying deep and just plodding up and down. With the light dropping I could not see what I had hooked. But after a deep spirited fight it finally surfaced and was spitting water on the surface as I guided it over the net. However, this was no carp, but a pretty decent barbel. I set my self-take kit up and took some photos and weighed the barbel at over 13lb.