A good mate of mine, Paul Moulder, who some of you will know from his articles in the major carp mags, has kindly offered to write an occasional piece for us, describing his ongoing quest for big carp.
Like a lot of us Paul has to juggle family and work commitments before getting out on the bank, so most of his outings are overnighters. He's a top carper who's always thinking of the best ways to catch.. as well as just enjoying being out there!
As I'm sure you'll enjoy his tales. Take it away Paul..
Finally summer is with us, and not a moment to soon. The weed on my syndicate is growing strong and this will bring new challenges to my fishing, which I will have to adapt to. The spawning seems to have started all over the country, which has given me the opportunity to get up close with the carp in another venue that I plan to target later on in the year. Watching those fish up close has already lit the flame for me and I'm looking forward to the new challenges that it holds.
My mobile approach has definitely paid of this spring catching me some good fish, which, if I hadn't put the effort in, I have no doubt I wouldn't have caught.
One such session saw me turning up to a busy lake. After a few laps around I settled in a nice swim where I had seen a couple of fish cruising just below the surface. The carp were moving off the shallows, down a marginal slope, and into some deeper water. It seemed to me that they where leaving the shallow water after a warm day of probably sunning themselves, and I was hoping for a bite from the slightly deeper water which had some nice silty spots to fish too.
Knowing the area pretty well and spotting a few more carp leaving by the same route, I decided not to use the marker float and to be as quiet as I possibly could. With two hookbaits positioned and a kilo of Fishing Wizards Kudos boilies scattered around the area, I sat back just as the sun was setting feeling very confident - surely it was just a matter of time!
The kettle was in full flow and as the moon rose into the night sky I heard the first fish crash out from the water not too far away. A few good fish had been caught over the past week or two from this section of the lake, and going on recent seasons, some of the bigger fish seemed to like this area more than others at this time of the year.
Full of caffeine from all my tea drinking I couldn't rest so spent much of the night sitting at the front of the swim observing the water. If the carp where going to feed in the silty spots during the night they would be rolling over it, cleaning their gills as they feed. Over the course of the night, apart from the one fish crashing out at the beginning of the night the only activity I had witnessed was from a big set of lily pads to my right, where there seemed to be a few fish moving through them.
These where only very subtle, as I watched the pads getting knocked about a bit. Tiredness caught up with me and I got my head down for a couple of hours before first light and my alarm. Come morning I was shattered, I had a long day ahead of me and could have done with a lay-in. Did I? - Hell no. Kettle was on and a very strong coffee was in order to kick start the day.
It wasn't long until I again saw the lilly pads being knocked as the carp where milling around in them. Most of the activity was on the opposite side of the pads too me, in a little swim where the carp confidently swim right under your rod tips. I had been trickling a mixture of Kudos and Yellow Peril boilies into this swim all spring and had caught a few nice fish from it already.
I soon realised that some of the carp must have drifted off the shallows, over where I had set my traps for the night and headed straight for the safety of the pads and had probably spent the whole night in them.
A big plume of bubbles hit the surface in the little swim and that was it - I was soon winding the rods in and on the move around to it.
With re-tied bottom bait rigs, and chopped down Yellow Peril hookbaits, I added a small bag of chops to help keep the rig from tangling and also to add a little extra attraction around the hookbaits. The two underarm flicks were perfect and went down with a nice clean 'donk' - on the money, as a dear friend would say.
Both lines were slackened off to allow the line to naturally sink to the contours and the clutches were set tight, as letting the carp gain sanctuary in the pads would normally result in a lost fish.
Once the rods were out, the tea kit was on once more for a refreshing brew, the effort for the quick move had made me thirsty. I sat by the rods with my tea as the next set of bubbles began to break the surface just behind where I had positioned my hookbaits. As the minutes went by, more bubbles fizzed up from the bottom, slowly getting closer and closer to my traps.
The time was now about 5.30am and a coot had decided that it was time for his breakfast too. Guess where? - Yes that's right, over my spots!
I couldn't believe it, I definitely had a couple of fish feeding down there and a coot starts dive-bombing the bottom of the lake for his own food. I tried everything to stop the coot from feeding off the spot, waving my arms around like a lunatic, swinging my spod in the air from side to side as well as my landing net. All this had to be done very quietly and also slowly, as I wanted to scare the coot away, but not the fish. It must have looked really funny for anybody opposite me that morning.
Through no scaring of my own, the coot charged off back to his nest, a grebe had closed in on his nest and his mate was calling for back-up!
I sat back down, hoping my chance hadn't been blown. It hadn't. Another big set of bubbles broke the surface right over the right hand rod, and as they continued to hit the surface the alarm let out a single bleep, something had knocked the line.
As I waited patiently, the inevitable happened and the bobbin rose with such force, I heard it hit the rod before the alarm let out its war cry - I was in!
I grabbed for the rod and pulled into the fish. It boiled straightaway on the surface by the edge of the pads, but didn't gain the safety of the pads on its bid for freedom. I held firm and didn't give the carp an inch knowing that if it did get into the lilies I might loose it. As the fish turned I reached for my landing net, dropping it into the waters edge ready to be used.
Once the carp neared the net I scooped up my prize and let out a shout - YES!
Sitting up most of the night, watching for signs of fish. Making sure I was still up at first light, I was shattered, but had seen the activity to make the move I needed to do - and now it was all worth it for in the folds of my landing net I had a good fish!
I readied the mat and zeroed the scales, then hoisted my prize from out of the lake to see her in all her glory. As she lay there on my unhooking mat, I could see it was a carp called Popeye, one of the old originals from the lake. On the scales the weight read 37lb 6oz and I placed her into the retaining sling while I got my camera equipment ready.
Shots were taken and Popeye was returned back to her home not knowing how happy she had made me that morning. I was tired from lack of sleep, but with such a great capture the day drifted by effortlessly.
Well as you can see from this tale, my mobile approach has been working well for me. If I can, I will sleep under the stars, all my unnecessary tackle which I don't really use has been removed from my carryall and I try as always to travel as light as I possibly can.
Until next time,