Carp, a species that is probably as prolific as flies, everywhere I have fished across this country seems to have them in. Rivers, Canals, Drains, Lakes and Reservoir's, they're everywhere. Arguably the most cunning but obliging species on their day, I have been partial to targeting Carp for over twenty years, much of that was targeting a couple of local lakes where they grew to over 30lb, by the age of 6 my personal best was in excess of 25lbs, a serious fish but I had my father to thank for that, specimen angling was very much blooded into me before I started secondary school.
|Stalking Carp in lakes when this picturesque can be a welcome distraction.|
|Releasing a mid-thirty.|
I can't say that I was disappointed in being taught to fine tune watercraft and sharpen my ability to catch the most smartest of fish whatever the species, whatever the condition. Summer was spent stalking large scaled Carp, the tactic is still one I use today......the one and only free-lined breadflake, the cost of 40p and it gave me enough bait to last me a week, perfect bait at a perfect price for a child, there would be times in the summer that I'd leave the house under darkness in preparation for sunrise where I could stalk the marauding fish, 4am in the morning and I would be twenty/thirty foot up a tree watching every move my targets were making and after working out what they were doing and where they fed it was time to get amongst them. At times it was very easy, I remember one morning when I believe I was 9 years old I had a quadruple of mid-upper 20's, the largest tipping the scales at 28lb 10oz, my father couldn't believe it but when the going was good a foot could hardly be put wrong.
|A lovely 22+|
Winter only meant that the fishing was slightly harder, a bit colder and shorter days. Catching was never a problem except for the odd occasion, there were times when I experienced blank sessions, those blanks only served as a reminder that I can't always catch, regardless of how much I thought I could. Sometimes conditions made fishing difficult but it can never be an excuse to not catch, it simply made want to find a way to still be successful, to tell the truth I found it easy at times.
|I needed all my Weetabix that morning.|
I think the reasons behind me not fishing so much for Carp now is that I fished so heavily for them as a youngster, the only times now that I fish for them is purely spontaneous, whether it be on a river or canal, lakes personally just don't offer enough of a challenge but that is just me, I'm sure that there are many big lakes in England that are rock-hard to fish and to nail just a handful in a season is often the case. For me though the thrill of stalking them on a canal or river is right up my street, clarity is often the deal breaker, gin clear water often puts anglers off, for me it gives me added stalking ability and location on a waterway like the Grand Union is paramount as Carp are extremely nomadic and a shoal may consist of 3-7 fish then nothing for miles before you'd stumble over another pod, that for me is fishing for Carp at it's best.
This season has only seen a few trips committed to just Carp and managed a stunning river Common Carp of 25lb 6oz, the canal Carp have thus far avoided me, having found a small shoal approaching the mid thirty pound mark it was the sort of Carp I've been searching for but I simply couldn't get them to commit, the largest was a huge Mirror that I estimate to be 34-36lb, a huge frame and one that I really wanted to catch, unfortunately over the course of five trips throughout July I didn't manage any of them, maybe next summer.
|A cracking Thames mid-twenty, stalked on breadflake.|
Going back to the days when I fished for them I found most tactics worked but stalking was by far the most successful and I have caught a few thirty pound plus Carp using the tactic, actually all my thirty plus Carp have come to free-line bread or dog biscuit. Great times and maybe at some point in the future I may rediscover my love for Carp fishing but if I were to it would only be stalking trips on canals and rivers, the lake Carp scene I can't deal with, I personally feel more at home, actively hunting rather than lying in wait. Who knows, maybe one day I will my angling philosophy may take a slight detour.
|Jungle warfare Carping.|