It's another session on our favourite carp water. We're in almost the same swims as a couple of weeks ago... well Gary is, and I've just moved to the other side of him.
Same sort of tactics too. We've both put out a bait next to the margin snags, no more than a couple of rod lengths out, and then both of our other baits are positioned off each end of the island, that sits out in front of our swims. Well I call it an island, and it is, but a sunken one with old branches poking up above the water level, as you can see in the pic.
We're using our favourite boilies from All Seasons Baits, hair rigged, and dropped in over a few free offerings... well, with a few variations.
Both of us have used small PVA bags of pellet to enhance our hookbaits, before chucking them out to the island. On the margin rods we were slightly different to each other, with Gary using a normal boilie fished amongst a few handfuls of freebies, whereas I've gone with a pop-up boilie, which I've given neutral bouyancy too by attaching a small shot to the hair itself. This I then fish over a bed of maize and pellet.
The rods are out, the bivvies up, and as we're having a cuppa there's a large splash, we look out to see the ripples dying away from where a good fish has jumped. It's come up on my side of the island, and not far from where my bait went down. As the afternoon turns to evening there's been more fish moving, they've now shown over both our patches of bait.
It's all very encouraging, with the sky overcast, the weather mild, and a fair breeze blowing down the lake towards us. We chat, have more tea, and eat some food.
Just before it gets to dark we wind in, check our baits and re-cast. It's time to turn in for the night, with our hopes high.
Then, as it's happened on the last few sessions, a buzzer screams in the darkness, I poke my head out of the bivvy, yep, there's Gary, standing there playing a fish!
'Give us a hand mate' he says, as I grab his other rod and move it out of the way, he's in a tight swim, which also has a steep bank just to help matters. It's a good fight, the carp tries its best to get into every snag... on both sides of his swim! But Gary's a top angler, and takes his time countering each run, until he can slip the net under what's looking like a good lump.
Prepare the scales, sling, and of course the camera, then it's onto the unhooking mat. Out with the hook... right then, let's have a look, it's 20lb 6ozs. A lovely golden common, well done mate, and that keeps our record of one of us always catching here going nicely!
As time has gone by, fishing with Gary, and Bob, when he's been fit, I can honestly say I'm almost as pleased to see Gary catch, as when I'm landing one myself... and I think it's mutual, as in this case, as we chat with a cuppa in hand, one of Gary's first thoughts is that it's about time I had a good sized common to add to my PB list... well you won't hear me disagreeing!
We'd noticed soon after Gary had caught that it was only after 9pm, so as he put it 'we still have most of the night yet mate!', and so it was off to sleep for the second time this night, hoping that we'd be awoken by another hungry beast.
Beep... beep, that's all I heard initially, well it was enough to wake me, then... one almighty one toner! I'm scrabbling around for my shoes, and my head torch, as my sounder box is screaming in my ears, it's out the bivvy, I can see my latching light glowing in the dark.
I pick up the rod, wind the handle to disengage the baitrunner, and the fish is slowly pulling line off against the clutch. It feels good, but as I apply pressure I can feel it snagging. Gary arrives seconds later 'that was a good take mate, you alright?', as I'm telling him it feels snagged, we hear splashing from the island, and it soon becomes clear that the fish has taken me around the back.
All I can do is keep the pressure on, and after a couple of grinding pulls, the tension in the line eases, and I wind quickly as the fish now moves into open water. It's now that memorable time when you're playing a good fish that you take in everything around you, the lake, good weather, great company, who's always ready to help, your gear that's working perfectly... then you come back to the job in hand, and the beast that's still stripping line off your reel!
The fish makes me work, but soon we can see its ghostly shape under the surface not far out, and Gary makes busy with the net... it's ours!
He pulls the net to the edge of the swim and has a look, 'think that'll give you a big 20 mate', he secures it, then goes and gets his unhooking mat, 'bring it over then!'. It's only then, as I lift the landing net and take up the weight, that I realise this carp is pretty big!
On the mat and open the net, wow, this is a cracking common, just look at the size of its head! The scales are zeroed, Gary helps get the sling around the catch, up it goes... 29lb 8ozs!
Yeessss! I'm in dream land, after talking about getting a good common under my belt earlier, and here we are releasing a monster back into the clear, dark waters. You couldn't write it better!
The rest of the night was quiet, Gary did have a couple of hefty 'liners', but neither of us had our beauty sleep disturbed. It's early morning and I get a run on my margin rod, I play the fish, which feels reasonable, for a few seconds before it slips the hook... damn!
I'm looking upset as Gary comes over, and I explain I've just lost one, but as he puts it 'after last night mate, that would have been greedy!'