While the world slowly returns to some sense of normality, returning to Wellington Country Park this season for another dabble seemed like a sensible thing to do. I only live a short 30-minute drive from the park, which means my family can also duck in to see me and enjoy everything else the park has to offer. I already had other plans and have other syndicate tickets, but those other venues are safely secured and the opportunity to return to Welly doesn’t come around often. Since leaving the syndicate two years ago after three wonderful and successful years, sadly but not surprisingly several the original big A team fish have since passed on. But weirdly, a few of the big guns still going strong are ones I still need. After a quick chat at home, the decision was made to go back and have another dabble. Willow and the Big Common are the two main targets.
Clearly the makeup of the 35-acre lake remains the same, so all my old marks and distances noted in my phone have provided an invaluable starting point. However, the characteristics in terms of fish behaviour has evolved due to the reduced stock of original carp plus the now introduced handful of new stocked fish. It was also quickly evident the lakes stock of bream and tench had found its way up the food chain and they would need me to adapt my tactics to swerve catching them but use them to my advantage to lure in the carp. But the main change has been the lakebeds resurgence of the much-needed bed of weed. So previous specific spots or runs of gravel, or smooth glass silt areas have had to be reexplored. But last time I was on, the lake was completely baron and had none of the ‘green stuff’.
I like adapting to the green stuff in my angling, I always have. Adapting presentation, thinking about rig length and materials. Adapting lead weight, for the perfect drop and to aid more stealth getting rods into position. Adapting accuracy, in terms of locating and then presenting on spots with precision. And then finally, increasing confidence through simple techniques to build confidence that you are presented. Given a choice, I prefer to be presented across layers of the green stuff than on clear areas. I think its an edge, particularly if you can present on the green stuff close to known clear areas. In this scenario, I would offer free bait on the clear area but present my hook bait across the green stuff.
Since returning from the 1st July, I have only managed a handful of sessions either side of the summer holidays with the family. But I have been lucky, I have managed a carp bite on every trip and avoided catching the nuisance fish. Like any big fish water which is relatively low stock but has plenty of water and nooks and cranny’s to where the carp can hide. Always look, stay mobile and be as stealthy as possible. I am finding my insight on the lake very useful and depending on the weather and where the angling pressure is or has been. I tend to know where to look first.
August and early September historically has been very kind to me on Welly. In fact, my first bite first time around came on the 5th September 2016 when I landed my very first Welly carp. I was on about a 9-night blank at the time as I was clearly getting used to the place and the challenge that lay ahead, but this first bite was very special. I caught it from the little lake section, which is very dark at night and the bite came around 11pm from memory. A solid battle and it dropped over the net cord with just about enough light without needing my head torch. Once settled in the net, I vividly remember flicking on the head torch and illuminating these giant apple slides down both flanks, but with one side having a run of much larger slices. I knew instantly which one it was, as before joining I did endless amounts of research on the stock. It was aptly named ‘The Pretty Sutton’ at a weight irrelevant 38lb 4oz.