Angling is full of highs and lows, some of the highs are so high you feel nothing can ruin your vibe, then the polar opposite of that is experiencing those moments in angling when you question everything as it seems someone or something is conspiring against you, of late, I have felt like that. My pace out of the traps at the beginning of this challenge was pretty quick, however I currently find myself struggling to get out as little time has been available as readily as I'm used to.
The highs have been enjoyed as much as I can, knowing full well that these are usually punctuated by a stroke of mis-fortune or user error, the lows tend to happen when I least want it to. Last weekend I had a free shot at whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted, so I chose to head on to a river in search of that elusive thirty pounder that I'm sure exists. My journey north was rather quick and before I knew it I was trickling in a couple of handfuls Nash Scopex Squid to hopefully get some fish cruise into the area, this was around 830 in the morning, within five minutes I was setting up my rod and tying an 18'' hook length so I could keep the lead away from the bait to hopefully give the fish more confidence when out the corner of my eye a massive black common came downstream straight into the baited patch and began feeding!
Never have I experienced such a quick response to baiting on a river and this fish was almost if not the very fish I travelled for, anything between 28-32lbs of pure solidness, she was wide enough to put a saddle on and ride, long enough to know she was big and gut to match! It was almost as if it was a mirage or I was dreaming but it certainly existed and was grubbing up right in front of me and caught me so by surprise I froze with the rig making material still in my hand as I watched this animal in complete awe.
I began to shake almost uncontrollably as many scenarios pulsed through my mind, all of this unfolded and concluded in just a minute or so as roughly 40 boilies were cleaned off the clear gravels and then my dream river carp lifted up in the water column and eased downstream further and out of my view, the dense pads and ranunculus meant I couldn't track her in the water, so I set my trap as quickly as possible and baited the spot back to how it was with the hope she may return to have another feed.
Six hours passed without a single show from a carp or anything else for that matter so I decided to put another two dozen boilies down and aim to keep an eye on it every other hour up to dusk. At around 230 in the afternoon I had a couple of dark shapes ghost in over my spot and they turned out to be bream, two were certain doubles and the other not quite of that calibre....thirty seconds later the smallest of the bream decided it liked the boilies and munched mine. 8lb 3oz and nearly as dark as an undertakers hat.
|My smallest river bream of the season :)|
The plan was to tease her upstream a couple of yards so I could drop the net below and allow her to drift down into the awaiting folds of my net, the plan was perfect. Then, out of nowhere she kicked into second gear and shifted a biblical amount of water against the flow as she caught a glimpse of my net! I say second gear, as the previous minutes were not in the same ball park, my clutch hissed as line pissed off the spool so fast I could nothing to stop it as a vast mid river weed bed came into the carps view, the hard work was soon unravelling and when the fish disappeared into said weed bed I could feel and hear the line grating and within ten seconds or so all the tension let up and I began to reel in a set-up minus my size 6 hook.......I was absolutely gutted, so close yet so far from what was possibly my river target of a 30lb+ carp. Writing this a week later almost to the hour the pain of losing it has abated very little.
|10lb IQ2 hook length minus a fish and hook :(|
I stood and watched the river in amazement in how it could give and take an opportunity of a lifetime in such heartless fashion. A minute or so later I watched the weed hump up and at the top end of the bed I could see the shape of a prize I so very nearly won, just five feet was the difference or possibly five seconds. I am confident in myself I did everything right, this was just to be one of those moments I'll probably reflect upon for years to come for all the wrong reasons. I however will not give up and retribution will hopefully be sought after successfully.