Well the weather seems to have stabilised a bit now but everyone must have been affected in some way by the recent floods.
As anglers all that extra water has a far greater effect on us than most sports because, ultimately, it ends up in our rivers and lakes.
On a recent trip to the big Northants gravel pit I arrived to find that the level had risen over three feet in just a few days. On a sixty five acre pit that one hell of a lot of water.
Rather than be put off by the fact that all the swims had swans gliding around in them and the paths resembled babbling brooks, I was instantly excited at the prospects that lay ahead.
Any phenomenon like this, anything out of the ordinary, will affect the fish and make them behave in an unusual manner and often that is to our advantage.
The first thing I wanted to know was where was the water coming in as influxes, inlet pipes, burst river banks etc have always been a magnet for carp as they love the taste and feel of new water. Usually the muddier the inflowing water the better and I also think that the oxygen level must rise around the source of the inlet as well; this combined with the chance of some fresh food being unearthed by the power of the water as it floods in, nearly always creates an instant feeding area.
I donned a set of waders and went for a paddle around the lake, amazed at just how high the level had risen in such a short time. Within a few minutes I had located the inlet, a pipe about fourteen inches in diameter that was buried into the bank and connected to the two small ponds in the field behind. The river must have burst into the ponds and the water was now being transferred through the pipe into the lake. The flow was absolutely charging through creating big peaks and troughs as it hit the wind generated waves coming in the other direction. The surface of the water near the pipe was a mass of swirling eddies and pools and I just knew that the fish had to be down there in the flow, how could they resist?
Because of the effect of the currents it was impossible to slack line and very difficult even to set up a standard arrangement with the tips near the water. The drifting weed and the attendant flocks of swans feeding on it meant that I had to fish my tips up high, over the reeds and straight down into the flow, more akin to a barbell set up than a normal carp one.
Straight away I started getting knocks and pulls on the tip, far too strong to be just the power of the flow against the braided mainline and, due to the fact I was using four and a half ounce leads, I was pretty sure the rigs were not trundling along the bottom either so they must be line bites.
It felt strange as I sat in my low chair behind two jacked up rods just watching the tips tapping away but within half an hour all doubts about my methods were dispelled as the right hand tip buried itself in the reeds and the clutch ripped into life.
Although not a big fish it still went crazy in the flowing water and started the ball rolling for what was to be an incredible session. To catch one or two fish in forty eight hours from this lake is a mega result and a lot of people go months between takes but this was to be something else. Over the next two days I hooked and landed six fish, all from within a few feet of the bank and all in the flow of the inlet pipe. It seemed as if they drifted in to the swim in packs because all six were caught in pairs a very short while apart. Every time the fish would arrive, the tips would start bouncing as they bumped into the lines and, within an hour, I’d get a couple of bites before they disappeared again.
The carp were varying sizes but the star of the show was a long lean mirror of thirty two pounds that actually picked up the bait whilst I was playing a twenty pound common right next to him. Because I was otherwise occupied he managed to strip sixty yards of line and bury himself in a huge weed-bed before I had a chance to deal with him. Luckily I had a set of chest waders as I had to make my way around the flooded margins and land him from the other side of the bay.
It just goes to show though, how much the fish can be affected by a simple phenomenon like a bit of flood water and, by picking the right approach, it can turn a good session into a great one.