I couldn't not do a little bit on this trip. As tempted as I was to go against my feelings to go off Tench fishing again I fought those ideas and got my act together and gathered the stalking gear for my sixth visit to the canal for this campaign. A bright sunny day in the offing and lightish winds for most of the day presented too much of a good thing to go elsewhere. En-route I awoke sir Brian from his recovery from the night before and wondered if he fancied coming down for a go at finding a carp.
On my last visit the carp were congregated in an area quite difficult to target. Plenty of boat traffic was likely so we got on the water earlish to give ourselves a fighting chance. A brisk hour later and we were in position and ready to go!
Loaded with the least amount of gear possible we set off on foot and went hunting! As I've said many times before these canal carp are very transient and pinning them down takes a vast amount of skill. That said, just locating one was proving tough for us as it took well over two hours to finally get our first sighting. That sighting being a very large Mirror that we both put in the upper twenties bracket and one I would dearly love to catch! As she marauded up and down the margins I set about offering crust in front of her, followed by slow sinking flake, then allowing it settle, all which seemed to only spark one glimpse of interest.
The more we tracked her, the least likely it would seem that one of us would become successful. As she came back into view at one point another carp joined her, a common, possibly an upper double and a lovely chestnut brown colour, certainly kept in keeping with all the other canal carp. Not one that I've caught has been ugly!
The common however showed immediate interest in the flake as I lay the trap for the mirror, a quick bit of thinking had me retrieving the flake out the way of the common so not to spook the bigger one, the common really wanted it too as she followed the flake towards the marginal weed! crazy thing she was and once the bait had come out the water she turned away and vanished momentarily. In the clear water they are easy to track down until they use the boats to slip away and on one occasion they both did this and by this point I was kicking myself. Had I actually prevented myself from catching a canal carp? The bigger picture was certainly in mind and I had clearly weighed up the fact a bigger fish was better than no fish, such thinking on this canal to be fair is rather ludicrous knowing I could go another handful of trips without an opportunity so clear cut.
Twenty minutes or so passed by with only a tench offering itself for viewing with the carp now doing a complete disappearing act. This is so typical and now I was starting to already regret my actions. Myself and Brian stared into the crystal clear water just hoping to see one or both of them. As I headed further along the canal wall I spotted a shape heading toward me and as she got closer the common became clear to see, working the weed line under my feet, this time with the mirror gone awol I flicked a slow sinking piece of flake in front of the common and awaited its reaction.
Well, the reaction was that of a very confident and hungry carp! she hoovered the flake up with gusto and a powerful yet rather short battle played out in front of a few surprised onlookers on the towpath, much to my delight it was as pretty out the water as it was in, I could see it was a proper looker and I wasn't disappointed. 17lb 14oz. Carp number three!
With that peach released home myself and Brian gathered our bits and continued to search out another carp as the mirror had gone missing completely. As we already know, location is everything and between us we have quite a vast catalogue of information that we have gathered and we used this to get us a little closer to some more carp, some of which were pretty big! Only problem was....they had other things on their minds and in the heat of the mid-afternoon it was clear our attentions needed to turn elsewhere and yes, we did find a couple more carp on our loop back to the car. These didn't want to know either as Brian was expertly inching baits right into their paths with hardly a glimmer of interest. Part of me thought these two carp were a splinter of the spawning party just a few hundred yards away and were on their way back to join in the festivities.
Six trips, three carp and all awesome, it's not been easy but 50% catch rate so far, I'll take that!