After careful consideration of all the myriad factors, if I do reel in, I already have a plan scoped out in my head. Normally, this often seems to entail leaving my gear in the current swim and going for a long walk to position myself somewhere where I can get a decent view of a different part of the lake, or even an area where I can see the majority, if not all of the water. Then it is a case of eyes open and looking for those tell tail signs again.
Obviously, it varies, but I like to invest at least 1-2 hours to give it time for something to give me a sign. If no signs are apparent, I normally retreat back and check my current swim for any activity, then sometimes repeat the process of going for another walk. Carp angling is certainly a pursuit in which you reap what you sow, and on tricky waters that means making the effort and looking hard.
It does not always play out like this, but during my 3-year spell on Welly I did exactly this and thankfully, this approach paid off a few times. However, on one incredibly special day, it resulted in my own ‘most wanted’ carp from the lake. The Linear at a weight irrelevant 46lb 8oz, so it certainly proves that adage that effort = reward. In fact, I did exactly as I’ve set out above. After carefully watching my current swim, which admittedly did feel bang on for a bite, but had offered me no signs of active carp in the zone, in the end I elected to go for a walk (that ended up as two walks), opting to plonk myself in a swim 300 yards or so around the corner, in a peg that opened up the possibility of me seeing most of the lake. After a couple of hours of observation, I spotted a very subtle show and the water boiled as it went over. It was clearly a big carp and it was in the section of water my gear was already in, but much further out. Knowing what range I had been fishing the night before, I estimated the additional wraps needed to reach the fish, and within 5 minutes a single washed-out pink pop up dropped into the vicinity of that earlier show.
With that rod deployed, I was in the process of wrapping my second rod when incredibly my first rod was away. After a very good scrap from a fish that has the length, but a small tail, it was over the net cord and was mine! Someone was looking down on me that day.
One thing that I do know is, without taking that calculated risk that day, that special and sought-after carp would probably not be in my photo album now.