I went carp fishing yesterday. I know. It's shameful. But that secluded pool and it's wildies proved too much to resist. The thing is I don't really hate carp, I just dislike bloated mirrors and leathers. I don't understand how carp anglers can get excited about the looks of carp lacking a full covering of scales and with a sagging belly. To me they look like what they are - genetically engineered food.
Anyway, the journey to the pool was a long drawn out affair, taking twice as long as it should have done thanks to delays on the motorway, so I arrived after two o'clock. This meant that the rain had passed over by the time I was walking round looking for signs of fish. With the heatwave over it was warm but not sultry, the rain had freshened things up too. There were carp showing all over so I chose a comfy swim to fish and got my gear.
My tench rods were already rigged up with 10lb line which would be ideal for the size of carp likely to be encountered, so they were what I used. I'd also packed my float rod. My rigs were kept simple. The margin rod fished a helicopter rig and two grains of fake corn. I kept sprinkling real corn and maggots over the top of it all afternoon. The rod cast further out to open water, where I'd seen signs of carp, fished a simple running rig with a couple of Sonu tutti frutti Boilie Pellets on the hair. A few free boilie pellets were catapulted around the hookbait.
It didn't take long for me to notice that every time I threw a handful of maggots over the margin bait the surface would come alive with small swirls. Just to guarantee I wouldn't blank I set up the float rod with a loaded pellet waggler set at about two and a half feet with no weight down the line. Bait was a single red maggot on a sixteen - barbless as the rules dictate.
The margin rod was removed temporarily while I dabbled with the float rod. It was a bite a cast. Mostly small roach, but a couple of small perch too. I think I dropped a rudd off as well. The trouble with barbless hooks is that small fish do wriggle themselves free, sometimes before you can swing them to hand, often while in the air. I can understand why match anglers fishing barbless net every fish.
While I was amusing myself float fishing, and pondering how to tempt some better fish, I heard the baitrunner on the other rod go. As I was sitting next to the rods I didn't see the need to switch the alarms on. No line was being taken when I picked the rod up, but the fish was on. A short but lively fight, particularly in the margins where the float rig was inevitably picked up, ensued. A small, carpy-looking, carp was netted.
That was my first intentionally caught carp for over seventeen years. It was also the smallest carp I have ever caught! The float rod was packed away and the margin bait swung back out. It was a couple of hours before the next run. This time it was a proper run, again to the more distant bait, and a second common, this time a little bigger, was landed and returned. Although I fished on until dark I had no more action apart from two or three liners.
I'm sure that with a bit more thought and effort I could have caught more, but that wasn't really the purpose of the exercise. Apart from when three anglers walked round the pool, one who seemed unable to speak without shouting, it had been a relaxing afternoon and evening in quiet and shady surroundings. The batteries are recharged.