Well this month got off to a blinding start. I have had two of the best sessions I can remember, one after the other and it’s a sure sign now that the fish are actually starting to get their heads down on a bit of bait.
At the turn of the month everything still seemed to be happening on zigs, we had a lot of high pressure and the water was still cold so I suppose the fish were high in the water most of the time. Also there were a lot of insect hatches starting on the lakes and this, obviously, puts food at all layers, meaning the fish only have to swim along at any level and dinner is literally drifting up past their noses, making carp fishing with fishing bait extremely difficult. I started off over at Monks again, right down in the deepest corner of the lake and decided to fish two of my baits about seven foot from the bottom and the third would go out on a little yellow pop-up. Although I personally had not managed a single bite on the bottom yet I was confident this would change soon, and I knew there had been a couple of fish out the previous weekend over bait so the change was in the air.
The first day went as pretty much as planned, two mirrors on the zig rigs but still nothing on the bottom. I still don’t know why, call it a hunch if you like, but I wound in at dusk and put all three rods on pop-up’s and fished them on the bottom in sixteen feet of water. Looking back it was a strange choice considering the lack of bottom feeding I’d witnessed but, in hindsight, it was the best move I could have made.
The next morning, just after first light and before the sun had breached the horizon, the first rod was away. My first bite on the bottom for months and it fought like a tiger, charging all over the deep clear margins and trying every trick in the book to shed the hook, but it wasn’t happening and a gorgeous looking mid twenty mirror soon rolled into the net.
It was then, as if a switch had been thrown and the fish went crazy, I couldn’t seem to put a foot wrong over the next twenty four hours. Throughout the morning I had two more takes both on the bottom, despite changing one fishing rod back to a zig as a tester rod, just to see if that would work as well, and the evening was even more manic.
As it got to tea time I was sitting there with the five fish under my belt and feeling more than a little smug but, if the truth be known, I was a bit concerned that they were all under thirty pounds and the water I was fishing was a renowned thirties lake, what was I doing different?
The answer came in a manic feeding spell lasting an hour, just before dark, during which time I had three takes and landed three more mirrors only this time it was two thirty four pounders and a thirty five, now that is good going. Obviously I wasn’t doing anything to target the smaller ones, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles, sometimes they are all bigguns and sometimes their not!
One thing I am very fussy with when I’m fishing a water with a good head of carp, is to get the baits back out as quickly as possible after a fish and, to make sure the last spot I’ve caught from becomes the middle rod. By this I mean. If I was fishing three rods in a row over a similar area and I caught on the left hand rod, I would bring in the right hand one and leap frog it onto the left, this means that, despite where the shoal might be in the swim, I would have rods both sides of the most recent bite area, giving me more chance of bringing all the rods into play. This certainly worked on that evening and two rods, including a re-positioned one produced all three fish. One of the bites came within seconds of casting, quite literally before I could get the rod back in the rests!
As usual the night went by without further event, which was fine by me as I was knackered, covered in fish slime, and happy enough with eight fish to show for my efforts but, I couldn’t help but wonder if I manage the magic ten in a session before I went home. I don’t think I’ve ever caught ten big carp in a trip before, except on longer sessions in France of course but this was just a standard forty eight hour trip and, due to the strict time limit rule on the water I had to off by ten am the next morning.
First thing on the agenda as the sun came up was to re-cast all three rods, I find I get far more bites on freshly cast rods than I do on ones that are just left out there for hours on end, why I don’t know but it definitely seems the case.
With only a few hours left I made sure all three were perfect and then started a slow pack up, I already had somebody waiting to move in when I’d gone, which wasn’t surprising really as there had only been two other fish caught on the whole lake. With an hour to go I had a savage take on the middle rod and a very lively, but obviously not massive fish shot off across the swim, forcing me to thread the rod underneath the lines a few times as he charged up and down in front, trying to get into every bit of weed he could find. At twenty three pounds he was, actually, a bit bigger than he had felt during the fight and a welcome addition to the chore of packing up all my stuff.
With my session practically over I loaded all my fishing tackle on the barrow except the rods, ten minutes left to catch my tenth carp seemed a bit much to ask really but, as it turned out, it was just enough as the same rod ripped off for the last time!
This fish was big from the start, sometimes you can just tell by the fight and this one kept deep and slow, plodding around on a long line and refusing to come any closer to the bank, a sure sign of a better fish. It seemed to take an eternity to coax him in towards the net but, in reality, I suppose I was extra careful as I really wanted to get this last one in safely.
As soon as he rolled over in the gin clear margins my suspicions were confirmed, he was definitely the biggest so far and was incredibly wide across the shoulders.
Slowly he came closer and higher until, eventually, with a big gulp of air he slid over the net cord, all thirty eight pounds of him!
What a way to end a session, and what a session it had been, ten fish and eight of them on the bottom, they really were on the bait now although I doubted I’d ever have another session quite like that again, or would I …