My carp campaign over the last two months has been successful, around two dozens sessions have been made covering a wide range of canal sections and a handful of lakes of differing sizes and stock levels.
The most recent of visits to the bank were in search of my first carp from this specific venue. 6 acres of lily pad cladded margins offered plenty of hiding places for the resident carp which are reputed to surpass the forty pound mark. My target was not necessarily to catch a monster on my first trip here, but certainly do enough research to mount a serious assault, which hopefully would culminate in either a new personal best or even better still a forty pound specimen which would be incredible.
Upon my first lap of the lake it became apparent the only places carp were spotted was amongst the pads, the open water looked devoid of fish as a stiff wind whipped up a chop, making stalking fish at distance practically impossible, so I was totally relying on feeding off scraps in the edge. To get an idea of depth I used a plummet and plodded it around to build up a picture of what I was working with when a couple of big carp cruised under a set of pads under my feet!
To say I was surprised by their size was an understatement as two specimens, both over 30lbs nudged the underside of the plants as they ambled through, the anticipation was incredible, a lump of flake couldn't have been cast out faster. My only concern wasn't whether I could tempt them, but it was the density of the lily's that I had to contend with.
The carp for a while remained active in front of where I was hidden, only trouble now was their lack of intent on feeding. For possibly half an hour I had two big carp and a couple of smaller ones tracking backwards and forewards, not at any time did one show interest, so I decided to waited it out and then introduce a small piece of slow sinking flake when one appeared. The largest of the carp was a common which was surely an upper 30, colossal in both length and depth, not at any point in my angling years so far had I been so close at targeting something so big for so long, normally its a 20 second window to make it count.
For the entire duration of their presence my legs felt like jelly, monsters circling like vultures around a carcass. Possibly an hour or so since poking my rod through the bushes I finally got my shot as a smaller common showed some intent by taking a couple of seeds off the top. I readied my bait and flicked it past the common and drew it back straight next to where it took the seeds, just a few seconds later it backed up enough to get my bait in view and its eyes transfixed by my offering she took it obligingly, a decent sized mouth closed and with no invitation I struck into what turned out to be a carp with not much intention of fighting, or she didn't know what was happening as the fight lasted but a minute, not that I was complaining. The lily pads could have made that very difficult.
|A hint of Koi in there somewhere.|
A nice common of 16lb 2oz on the bank and it was job done as far as I was concerned, a new water and success within an hour. A couple of snaps and the obligatory weighing and her ordeal was over, a quick sulk was followed by a right ol' soaking as she tore off....bit late, that was supposed to happen before landing her! But I don't mind.
After that bit of fun the remaining fish vanished and for a couple of hours I pottered around the lake with Brian as we looked for a showing fish. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the lake appeared and upon speaking to a couple of other anglers a mental picture was being built. The picture was of a hard water where not many carp were getting caught and average weight was pretty impressive at mid 20's with a healthy population of 30lb carp and a couple of 40's, whilst in conversation with these various anglers they were all doing the same thing....bottom baits or pop-ups and waiting for the opportunity, with a stable barometric pressure of 1015-1022 for well over 10 days and no immediate change in the forecast the carp were seldom going to feed on the bottom as they'd be up in the water column.
|Tempting the carp was just part of the jigsaw!|
All the gear and no idea. That quite often seems to be the case with a proportion of carp anglers, on the top is where the action is likely to happen owing to the high pressure and sunshine, I just don't get it, anyway, having walked a couple of full laps of the lake I decided to head back to roughly where I'd started, Brian wandered off for a look elsewhere on another lake and I hoped the carp I saw in the morning would revisit, that decision turned out to be a great one!
Just ten minutes after returning to initial peg we started at a large mirror and common cruised into view from the deeper water and barged their way through the densely padded margin, shortly afterwards they began to feed off the top, this scenario was tailor made for me and I could not wait to get a bait out.
As my waterlogged flake lay just under the surface a large mirror circled and with no pause she slowly glided up to the bait, one huge slurp was followed by a powerful surge, one that I would absolutely expect off of an angry carp, my 9ft Dwarf's 2.75 test curve was called into action as I battled tirelessly to keep her out of the denser area of pads where my 12lb line may have struggled to resist the constant strain. I knew straight away it was a thirty plus specimen and with that knowledge it put extra pressure on me to maintain the upper hand but that was not easy to impose, with the weight behind her the battle just kept going, on a long run which proved to be it's last she headed out towards an island where she began to round it before I had no choice but to clamp down and hope for the best, thankfully I had a favourable angle and managed to turn her head, thus forcing her to abort the attempt at freedom as I'm certain it would have been. That move turned out to be the deal maker, thirty yards of line gained and she approached the fringe of the pads once again, this time a little more tired there was no last minute gasp for freedom and on my first visit I had one of the lakes larger residents in the net.
|I'll take that, ta!|
Buzzing in this shot with a 31lb 10oz stalked mirror, still buzzing now to be fair a few days on!
|And a release shot :)|