Well to put it bluntly, it's been bloody hard work for the last few weeks!
For what reason, or reasons, I'm not sure, the carp just don't seem to have had their heads down on the feed. Are you guys finding the same?
They're obviously still there, jumping, topping, creating big boils in the water, let alone seeing them cruise across stretches of the lake. It's all a little frustrating at times I have to admit!
Take the week before last, Gary and myself go through the usual routine of walking the lake before picking our swims, and we settle on a couple where we've seen fish, plus there's the added attraction of a few large weed banks that have blossomed up during the warmer days.
The bait goes out, the brollies put up, and we settle down for a nice peaceful night... trouble is, that's exactly what it is.. peaceful! No runs, no fish.. well saying that, there are fish, and they jump and splash all through the night, but they're not eating our bait!
In an act of desperation, in the very early hours of the morning, I reel in and throw my bait tight into the corner of the lake, off to one side of my swim, only because fish have been topping there all night... and yep, you guessed it, I get a run within 3 or 4 minutes!
It puts up a great fight, and I'm thinking this might be a reasonable fish.. once landed, it turns out to be an 11lb 8oz common, small, full of attitude, and totally welcome!
The following week we're back in the same spot, but this time Gary goes in the corner swim where I had the little common, it has fish moving there, and the stiff breeze is blowing right into our corner of the lake. Surely we've got to catch?
But no, besides a few teasing liners during the night, Gary adds to his tally of recent blanks! Don't worry though mate, I'm doing as good as you!
Not that we just sit there, as again in the wee small hours, we're up and watching, seeing where the fish are. We drop baits in gullies, next to weed banks, along bars, try pop-ups, Gary even puts out a 'zig'. Nothing. Talk starts to include mentions of depth charges, and drift nets!
Even putting on the kettle doesn't help the situation... hang on, of course it does, we're not at work, sitting by a beautiful lake, the weathers not bad... and there's always next week...
So here we are again, the weather's much cooler, there's a nice breeze blowing, and as we set up we notice that the fish aren't showing as much as normal, could they be down on the bottom... feeding perhaps?
We're in new swims, farther round the lake from the car park. After a bit of casting around with a marker rod, we'd both found deeper patches, empty of weed, that we place a bait on. In fact I'm putting down a bed of groundbait, as I've done most of this campaign, and using both rods to fish either side of it. Gary puts one in the deep hole, and one slightly further out, towards the lakes central spit.
The afternoon rolls into evening, then it's a last brew before we retire, as darkness descends.
It's only a couple of hours later and the sound of a buzzer gets me up, and round to Gary's swim. He's already playing something out in the blackness.
There's a few minutes struggle before I slip the net under Gary's catch, we guess at the weight, a scraper 20, and we're not far out, when it goes 19lb 8ozs. A clean mirror that breaks Gary's recent lean spell, so he's happy... and so am I... as the kettle goes on!
Teas finished, and we're happy to slip back into our sleeping bags as it's getting quite chilly... just shows how the weathers changed. Another wonderful British summer!
I drift off fairly quickly, and only remember hearing one prominent beep during the night, which comes from Gary's swim, but it doesn't last long, and so I return to the horizontal till morning.
I'm encouraged to move myself when the sound of footsteps behind the brolly is soon accompanied by 'Ain't it about time you got that kettle on?', Gary's standing there grinning, and obviously happy with last nights catch. I grab the lighter, and as the Coleman is fired up, I ask if he had any more?
'Yep, 2 others'.
What! It turns out, he'd had a low double 'stockie' and then later, had another that took him in the weed and slipped the hook. Well considering I'd not had a touch all night, it looks like I really did miss ALL the action!