Thursday, October 08, 2015

I fibbed

With the Indian Summer returning after a short break it would have been churlish not to continue my  short session carp campaign in search of a monster from the Railway Pond. As it is almost dark by the time the Archers is over I got myself to the water by four with the air temp still in the teens and the sun shining on the barely rippled water. The spots I really fancied were all either taken or would have resulted in me casting too close to someone else, so I opted for the neglected bank. As I approached one swim I could see a carp was feeding close in. That was good enough for me.

I set up back from the water then dropped a bait where the fish had been creating vortexes. Scattering a few freebies over the spot. I was using some boilies that had been in the bait cupboard since I last barbel fished. They hadn't gone mouldy, were still soft and sweet smelling. They'd catch. The other rod got a pop-up and a bag of matching bottom baits and was lobbed out about ten yards or so.

Although I had a back lead on one line and tungsten tubing on the other I managed to fish with slack lines by resting the bobbins on the platform I had the rods either side of!

The margin bobbin jumped off the deck after a short while, but no run materialised. I pulled more slack from the reel and left things as they were. Then the other bobbin leaped into space and the baitrunner spun a little until the line was just tight. I wasn't sure if that had been an abortive take. No. It was another skinny flappy thing which was soon wound in and released. The pop-up got lowered in the right hand margin after that.

A couple of hawkers hawked along the reedmace while there was still some heat from the sun. When the air chilled the geese began to arrive, making so much noise I could barely hear the radio. I was half way through the last mini pork pie of the day when there was a stuttery take to the bottom bait. This was being fished on a new rod I've been trying to put a bend in for some weeks, the new-gear-jinx being particularly strong on it. Something was bound to go wrong. I remembered I'd forgotten to retie the knot on that rig. Whatever it was that had picked up the bait it sure wasn't a flappy thing! At one point it tried to get in the reedmace to my right but the potentially dodgy knot held as I gave the fish some stick. Then it kited to the left where I steered it away from the reedmace and over the landing net in one smooth sequence. The rod had done the job, and it looked like I'd achieved my target of catching a double from the place in a short session. The scales proved me right.

There was just one strange thing. My knack for catching freakish fish had been at work. The poor thing only had one eye. Whatever had happened to it's left eye had happened a long time ago as there was no sign of any damage. In fact it appeared to have been hatched that way. Most unsettling to look at.

The fish was nopt in teh least bothered by it's lack of an eye. Nor had it been put out by my hustling it into the net. It made a good attempt at soaking me as it shot away from teh weighsling as I slipped it back.

The usual chaos of wet sling, net and rod was sorted out. The bait dropped back in place and more freebies scattered over it. Then the pork pie was finished.

After the commotion I didn't really expect anything more, but I hung on until the Archers was done. The air temp still over 12 by the time I got back to the car. That really is me done with carp for now. The roach rods are rigged up and I have some maggots in the fridge ready for a first session. The plan is to fish a couple of hours into dark for the roach. Knowing my luck the eels will be revelling in this mild weather and I'll be driven home by a succession of rig mangling bootlaces. It might be fun. It might be torment.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

All carped out

It's that transitional time of year, when summer fishing is over but winter fishing doesn't feel quite right. I know I could go piking on the drains, but they don't fire me with enthusiasm. Hitting the river for barbel is another option that doesn't appeal. These last two weeks of late summer days with temperatures as high as we had during high summer have confused matters even more. Yesterday there were a couple of swallows over the water and an early morning chiffchaff was calling, yet five whooper swans dropped in for a swim around and come evening the pink foots were nosily flighting in. No wonder I've been confused. That's my excuse for trying to catch carp.

An evening up to eleven session produced one line bite on the difficult lake. There might be twenty five fish in the place, most of them not worth catching. Even the real carp anglers aren't having any success. I think that's why I've been having a go. The challenge. But I can only stand so many blanks and have been visiting the Railway Pond where the challenge is to avoid the carp. I'm succeeding! The last two hours are the best chance to avoid other anglers too. The first session ended with a screaming run and another of the pond's skinny flappy things. However, I did notice some carp behaviour that I thought might push the odds in my favour next time.

With work out of the way and yet another red hot afternoon under way, Thursday saw me setting off for an overnighter, intending to stop until after lunch. I left it a bit late and only got the baits out by six twenty. Two grains of fake corn over a bed of hemp and corn to the left margin, a spot I've seen fishy activity on a few occasions. A boilie/glow corn cocktail with a stringer out to nowhere and a 14mm pop-up over pellets close in straight over the now-dying weed edge.

My usual regime for bivvy sessions is to restrict them to the months when it goes dark at nine. I can't abide the long dark hours.  Right now it's dark before eight, and although the days have been hot the temperature soon drops with the sun. Six thirty and it's fine out in a t-shirt, by seven thirty it's almost time for the bunny suit!

The moon was just past full but still bright enough to cast long shadows as it rose, directly opposite me. Then the mist rose over the water and hung around all night. By daybreak it had turned into an all-enveloping fog covering the low-lying land all around. It didn't burn off until gone nine in the morning when the heat returned.

The alarms had remained silent all night long. Not a liner or anything. There had been fish topping at dusk and some noisy surface splashing from small fish during the night. No signs of carp, tench or bream though. The only indication I had was at quarter to eight when the cocktail bobbin dropped back a few inches. I waited for it to drop further or to fly up to the butt ring, but it didn't. After the bacon butty breakfast washed down with a mug of black tea (I forgot the milk...) I had a recast of all three rods. It was no wonder the corn hadn't been touched. The rig was tangled. Bugger.

It was tempting to sit it out all day, but by two I'd had enough. The thought of getting a bend in a rod, even from a flappy thing, was itching away in my head. Back home for a brew with milk then trim the gear down and snatch the last couple of hours at the pond, then call at the chippy after I packed up. Simple plan.

I don't know why I decided to band the two rods, landing net and banksticks together instead of using a quiver. I find it an awkward way to carry stuff. But that was what I did. The swim I fancied was vacant, so the rods were soon set up and the sticks in place. Then it was time to set up the landing net. That was odd. I had the net and half of the pole, but not the essential part. The part with the spreader block. I retraced my steps to the car hoping it might just have slipped out. Nope. Not in the car either. I'd have to manage without.

Thankfully, being rubbish at catching carp, the net problem didn't need to be overcome. There were a few liners, and some half-hearted tugs (probably from over ambitious baby carp) to make the alarm bleep. Nothing positive though. I mostly spent the time watching migrant hawkers hawking, hovering and chasing each other until it got too chilly for them. By which time the starlings and geese were flocking in to the safety of the mere and its reedbeds for the night. It's quite a spectacular sight, and sound, when the pinks fly in. There's something about the sight and sound of thousands of pinks that evokes feelings of lonely and wild places.