Spring Carping: Part 1, Hitting the Ground Running.
To begin the carp campaign I started on a fairly local park lake and for probably the next couple of months I will visit this water on and off, the target? a couple of thirty pound plus mirrors and at least one common carp up that way are present and I look forward to making their acquaintance along with a good head of twenties and a few stunners thrown in too.
Conditions on the 26th of March were clear and sunny, however, unseasonably we had tempts of 14-17c for possibly four days which led into that weekend. The water temperature was taken upon my arrival and at 8.7c it was slightly warmer than I expected, with this unexpected combination I hoped a fish was on the cards and one of the reasons I have chosen this lake to do a bit of fishing is; one it also holds Tench, unfortunately numbers and sizes aren't well documented so as the water temp' approaches 11/12c I will look to step up my baiting up for them; secondly, a handful of the carp in this lake are awesome, something wouldn't expect from the backdrop.
I arrived at the lake with a few hours spare to see what I could do. A quick lap of the lake to see if any fish were showing in the upper layers (barometric pressure was sat at 1027 and rising throughout the day) and whether any of the six anglers already on had had any joy. One carp at dawn to one angler and the others all pondering whether to stay or not, filled with confidence!
|Left, a spinner/ronnie rig, Top right, the stiff hinged section.|
15lb) and a small pop-up (My choice is a 15mm white pop-up) then critically balanced with rig putty to a supple coated braid hook length. Obviously everyone is different and other combinations may work for others. The other set up was a "Ronnie Rig", why the name? I don't think anyone is entirely sure but it is also known as the "Spinner Rig" which is a devastating way of presenting a bait, especially if there is a thin layer of lake bed weed, like here it keeps the bait popped up just a inch off the bottom and most importantly just above the weed to make it more visible to passing fish.
|Slacks line and ready for action.|
Within half an hour my right rod pulled up tight and the tip started to knock violently to the side and line started to peel off the slack clutch. Fished just off the marginal shelf I hoped this rod would pick up an enquiry, not as quickly as that it has to be said. A healthy scrap was played out in front of me before slipping a dark mirror over the cord, first blood.
I hoped that would! With trying out new tactics you always fear that it'll take time to all fall into place. At 16lb 6oz it is one of the lakes smaller residents but a pretty one and in good nick too. Pleased with that.
Having caught on that rig I felt more confident so to get it fishing again I re-curved the stiff link so the hook would turn at the very slightest of touches, no need to strike on this rig!
Half past three came and went with nothing more than a couple of single bleeps, possibly crayfish buggering around with the bait or knocking my rig as they gorged on the 15mm half boilies I dropped out around my bait. Now typically these sort of rigs are used as searching rigs, once feeding fish have established themselves on the spot I would look to change rig and go hard on the bottom, the fact that the fish activity appeared to be sparse almost forced me to remain fishing the way I started.
Just a couple of minutes later my left hand rod burst into life as the line pulled up tight quickly and my bobbin smashed the Delkim, fish on! At fifty yards out a large swirl broke the surface as I leant into it. A classic battle ensued as we played an even battle at distance, after a good showing I finally won and a scaley mirror lye resting up, first twenty of the spring.
Thoroughly pleased with that, 20lb 5oz and my first twenty of the season, happy boy and very timely as I had to be gone by 4pm, after pics and release there were just a few minutes to get myself away.