ON THE BANK
Sometimes you just have one of those sessions; a red letter day that just arrives out of the blue, well my last trip was exactly that.
I had been so keen to get back into the big bay after having caught two nice fish the previous week but, for some reason, once I arrived I wasn’t too convinced that it was the right choice. I don’t like having a pre-conceived idea about where I am going to fish anyway so I took some time out and went for a walk around. It didn’t take me long to find an area that looked a lot more ‘carpy’ out the middle of the lake between two islands.
Although I would have to fish over the top of a lot of weed I had the use of my boat to help me mark up the clear areas and I had recently constructed a glass bottomed bucket that would aid in this process. By pushing the bucket through the surface layer and peering through the glass it removes all reflection and glare from the surface and it is absolutely amazing when you can actually stare down in eight feet of water and see every stone and strand of weed on the bottom.
After an hour of boating about and fixing garden canes on heavy leads to mark the better areas I was ready to cast out and sit back to await events. I didn’t have to wait too long either as the first carp rods tore off within an hour or so.
Unfortunately the weed between me and the spots I was fishing was so thick that the boat was needed of its straight away as there was just no way I could guide the fish back over the top, even with a strong braided mainline. That first carp weighed just over twenty three pounds and was just the tip of the iceberg.
Over the next forty hours I managed to hook and land eight carp in total which is a crazy number from a venue as challenging as this one, I suppose it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time. It was, however, one of the most knackering trips I can remember because, between baiting, finding spots and landing fish I reckon I must have had at least thirty trips out in the boat, even in the middle of the night I had to go out and land fish. The biggest fish of the session was, unfortunately, my first repeat capture from the lake but at thirty seven pounds it was still a hell of a fish, even more so because it was a common. It was the last fish that was the most interesting though as it came at three in the morning in the thickest fog imaginable, not usually good conditions. It was so foggy that I had to leave a very bright light on at the front of my swim so that I could safely boat me and a twenty nine pound common back to the bank without getting lost!
So what triggered such a crazy feeding spell then?
I’m not sure I have the answer really, especially as, when I finished my session and boated out to retrieve my markers there was still bait laying on the bottom over all the spots, even the one I’d just caught from. Whatever happened I certainly wasn’t complaining because I reckon it will be a fair old while before I get another trip like that!
BELOW THE SURFACE
Due to the Indian summer we seem to be having this year there has been an explosion of weed and, in more recent weeks, silkweed or blanket weed has grown in abundance. On my trips out in the boat I had started to see this stuff appearing all over the clear spots on the lake bed, covering everything in green slime. Over the last week or so it has also started to grow in huge clumps on top of the existing Canadian pondweed and this is when it can become really troublesome. Once it gets a hold and forms strips right across the top of the weed it can make a lake almost unfishable. What happens is that your line lies across the top but, as soon as you hook a fish, it gets pulled tight into the silkweed which then wraps around your mainline and sticks like poo to a blanket! The weed will not slide down the line and, consequently, it just keeps bunching up in the tip ring making the playing of fish an absolute nightmare. Hopefully this will be a short lived thing and a couple of sharp frosts might knock it on the head but, looking at the forecast, I can’t see this happening in a hurry.
With the night’s drawing in like crazy now we spend more and more time in the sleeping bag, so it’s important to be comfortable and warm, not all fishing tackle will keep you warm and cosy.
I have been working on a new sleeping bag for the ‘Hardcore’ range and it’s now available. It uses micro-fibre technology and a crushable outer shell which means, basically, that it is extremely light and can be compacted down to a fraction of the size of a standard sleeping bag. Due to the way the fibres work they trap the warm air from your body and swell up the bag around you, a bit like a puffa jacket.
It has attachments to hold it in place on the bedchair and, unlike a lot of bags; it can be left on the bed and does not stop you folding it totally flat.
There is also a neat little expander panel on each side of the bag, behind the zip and this allows you to make the bag wider or narrower to suit your own size.
I am extremely pleased with the way it has turned out and if you do decide to treat yourself you can be safe in the knowledge that I have fully tested it over the last year, in all conditions, and it has performed perfectly. I’ll certainly be spending a second winter in it anyway.