Rod, mat, bag of bits, net and a few slices of bread is all that's required to land fish and big ones too. Simple but effect, especially those with limited time like myself. I have to select my target waters carefully and trust everything works out for me. Having stalked carp for 26 years now I learnt the ropes, got the t-shirt. That doesn't mean I have stopped learning and this particular trip was testament to that thinking.
Arriving early doors as per usual I got myself loaded up from the car and headed to the lake. As soon as I got out the car I felt the wind was a little stiffer than the 5mph forecasted (naive of me to believe it'd be right...) which I wasn't expecting, a quick couple of hours stalking was the plan but this wind which turned out to be swirling didn't make things easy. Most bays weren't showing signs of fish on my first pass and on my second lap I could see that very little was showing apart from at range, now I don't typically mind that as fish tend to be more confident the further out you go.
The wind however made this tough, casting 20 yards was only possible with a controller and the fish were barely showing at that range, 30yrds seemed to be the magic mark. By 6am the gusts were probably reaching 18-20mph. This didn't deter the carp from showing on the top. Buoyed by the defiant showing on my second pass of a section of open water I decided to try my luck.
Threading the bread on the hook failed on every attempt to get out where I needed to be so I resorted to a bait band and put a big bit out so it was visible in the chop. I planned once I got the bait out I'd leave it as long as possible to minimise disturbance and trust the wind didn't drag the bait in towards me. Time as always was ticking away and over an hour had already passed by this point, knowing my chances were pretty good of at least a hook up I continued to stare through the polaroid's at my bait as I crouched on a limb of a tree about 10ft up, with that good vantage point I could see when the carp were closing in on the area.
Five or six passes by one particular fish had my glasses steaming up, it was wide with large shoulders, at distance I couldn't see all of it and on the previous passes it looked like taking the crust every time and was readying myself each time to jump out the tree and grab the rod, but for something to disrupt it every time. This time she got closer and closer, by this point she was only five or six feet from crust and then she turned away, a complete 180 and disappeared out of sight, the light levels were improving all the time and more became visible as every minute passed.
Lips! coming up under the bread! "oh shit", "she's got it"! I leapt out the tree to grab the rod with a burning clutch! the landing wasn't particularly soft but that wasn't felt for quite some time. I lifted the rod and wound down gently as she changed direction and the tension began to ease, fishing with controllers often they set the hook sufficiently enough that you don't have to strike with much aggression.
As she cruised around at distance I could see that hump on her shoulders that I'd been watching intently, of the couple of dozen carp I watched for well over an hour by this point it was the biggest I'd seen, whats the odds! On my stalking setup I eased her closer and closer to the bank but had to be mindful of the roots that infested this area that I had decided to call my temporary base camp. Such was my fortune that morning the fight was played with nothing more than a pedestrian heart beat, the folds of my net soon bulged with a chunky common! Just what I wanted to see!
Can never be tired of fish like this!
|25lb 10oz of solid common carp.
|Back she goes.
First mid twenty of the spring, BOOM!
Only thing with catching carp like that makes you feel like sticking around for another shot! Having released that chunk I got back up in the tree and scanned the surface among the steady chop, with nothing showing I was tempted to get a rod out on the bottom but I opted to give that a swerve.
Glad I did to be fair as I moved lakes entirely and within an hour of stalking a couple of bubblers this awesome looking mirror finally slipped up, even if it had nosed my crust possibly a dozen times when coming off the bottom for a quick forage. Again not a monster, a lovely old character that I believe I caught from this lake quite some years ago, stunted by the size of the water I wonder how big she could have gone?
|Pukka little scaley bad boy!