River heartache is an experience I never wanted to endure, especially when it was possibly the very carp I wanted, big, old dark common. I have had a few broken sleeps because of it, so naturally I had to put my mind at ease and switch onto the still waters to break it up.
|530am, just beautiful.|
A couple of late afternoon/evenings and a couple of mornings of stalking gave me even more to ponder over. Ten weeks ago most of the lakes I frequent had scores of carp spawning, three days ago there was still plenty of reproducing going on, countless erupting weed beds as carp stormed their way through gave way to calm waters where the remaining population which would have finished were feeding quite confidentially, knowing some of these were only recently finished I opted to leave them be and probably answered the questions as to why I struggled to tempt anything in the early hours of dawn.
Change of scenery was called for and finally a water where the activity was entirely food related, numerous mouths mopping up the Daphnia blooms along the outskirts of the dense weedbeds was a sight to behold, the average stock is around the 19-23lb mark from what I have experienced so far and that is quite impressive with a smattering of 30lb+ specimens in the mix. My tactic was a simple piece of crust on a size 6 hook, my only change to the usual set-up was the crust was fed through a hookable band mounted on the shank to keep my point of the hook entirely free, so far it has worked fairly well.
|All set with the bait and wait approach.|
To begin with the carp were just within range, roughly twenty yards. Freelined crust is only really effective for close range angling as the distance factor does complicate proceedings and rules out feeding fish any further out than the max casting range, for that problem I do also carry a couple of 5g and 15g Korda Interceptor controller floats and the Korda Kruiser control 12lb BS floating line, yes any brand can be used and I've used loads of different brands in the past, however this line is pretty good at remaining straight and does lay nicely on the surface.
Within an hour the first opportunity came in the shape of a 15lb common carp, a good spirited battle which ultimately was won, a wet net is always a good remedy for such poor luck last time around, bad luck does unfortunately seem to manifest itself in many ways and on this particular morning, Tuesday to be precise, a large mirror came into view from a thick bank of weed, I have to say it probably was a thirty pound plus fish as I recognised it from a photo I had seen earlier in the season and know it was the same fish, then it went 33lb+, but based on the fact they've been spawning quite a lot an educated guess would suggest it wasn't quite thirty or it was just over.
She came up and made a bee-line for my crust and in no time at all my bait disappeared and the tension was taken up by a swift and firm strike to feel a good connection, just a few seconds passed when a massive swirl was followed by my line laying slack on the surface....I had lost her, initially I thought the hook pulled, however upon reeling in there was no hook attached. The break appeared to have occurred just above the knot on the line, I was quite peeved by this and took me five minutes to get another bait out.
When I did get a new hook on and cast a lump of crust out I was quickly rewarded with a mint male common weighing at 20lb 3oz, complete with dribbles of milt on my mat......
For that session it was over....it wasn't before I had the annoying pleasure of losing two more carp, thankfully these weren't anywhere near as big so to get really down about it would have just been counter-productive. I'll get my chance again!