Well I suppose this is the final write up from our carp campaign of 2010.
I'll start with last week, and yes, that's me again holding another big common!
And yes, Gary and myself are back at the same carp water again. The weathers perfect, we're in swims that produce, and I'm in whats turning out to be the hot swim! And just to prove that point, after sorting the rods and chucking out the baits, we're putting up the bivvies when my buzzer screams into life...!
I grab the rod, it's the margin one, and the fish has dived straight into the snags. With plenty of side strain I gain a few feet of line, only for it to be taken straight back... and all the time I can feel the line rubbing against the underwater branches.
The fight continues for a while, as I try putting pressure on from different angles to coax the fish out, including dipping the rod top under the water and winding hard. It's all to no avail, as it's stuck fast, my last attempt is to slacken off the line and put the rod back in the rest, hoping the fish will free itself and head for open water.
But it doesn't work, and after a few minutes I tighten up and the lines locked up solid, I can't feel any movement now so it's time to pull for a break. Under pressure the line gives, and I wind in... Angler 0, Fish 1!
I'm gutted, but Gary makes an obvious point, that we still have the night to come, and he's proved right, when at about 2am I get a stuttering take. After a fight that doesn't last long, its soon apparent that I've hooked a tench, I land it and give it a number, it goes 7lbs exactly. Not bad I suppose, but not in the same league as the 'lumps' we've been catching recently... I don't even wake Gary to take a photo.
Back to sleep and I'm out cold when a few hours later an absolute one-toner jolts me out of my dreams. I'm up and out on the bank within seconds, I grab the rod while line churns off the reel as the baitrunner does its job. I click it off and start to play something that's pulling a lot harder than the tench did... it's then that I feel the coolness between my toes, I look down, I'm now standing here in wet, muddy socks on the dew covered bankside!
Gary's at my side moments later 'sounded like a good run mate?', he's smirking as he sees my feet, I carry on playing the fish, it fights well, but it's not long until we're watching a pale shape just beneath the waters surface, a couple more runs and it's into the net. We do the weighing bit, and it tips the scales at 26lb 8ozs. That's three big 'twenties' in three weeks... it doesn't get much better!
So that was all the excitement we had for that week, but we did spend an hour after we'd packed up, plumbing around with a marker rod in a couple of swims at the far end of the lake that we'd earmarked for our last session. So when we arrived back this week, we headed straight for them.
The two swims are within 15yds of one another, Gary's had one corner of the lake to aim into, mine has another small island that I fancied targeting. Right in front of both our swims, about 20yds out, is a slow drop off, it's somewhere we'd seen fish moving across during our sessions there last year. Our plan was to bait up a reasonably large area which we could both fish too.
Gary's quick to sort out his rods, and then sets about making up some groundbait, balling up the mix ready for 'pulting out onto the spot. I follow up shortly after, and spod out some hemp and maize over the top... well if that lot doesn't get them feeding, then nothing will!
The evenings seem to draw in so quickly now, it was only a few weeks back when we were sitting out chatting over a cuppa till well gone 9 o'clock, now the lights starting to fade as it gets near to 7... oh well, we'll just have to drink our tea a bit quicker!
Gary's fairly happy with his baits, but I pull in one of mine to check its ok, it's fine and I re-cast before dusk settles, and we then slide into our sleeping bags, hopes high that it won't be long before our sleep is disturbed by a resident from the watery depths next to us.
As it happens we do sleep well, and our fishy quarry leaves it until early morning before making an appearance. But it does, and it's Gary who gets the tug!
He'd set up his 'corner' rod in a 'hit and hold' style, placed out in the shallow marginal water, pointing down the bank into the corner of the lake, on firmly positioned banksticks and locked in a tight butt rest. Not using his baitrunner, and with a tight clutch setting, the idea is that the hooked fish will not bolt for the corner snags as the line tension would increase as it would be pulling directly against the clutch, so instead would head in the opposite direction, out into open water, feeling the line slacken as it swims further that way.
The sound of Gary's buzzer singing away gets me up and out, and I walk round to see him playing something big as he stands in the shallow water... 'did it get in the snags' I ask, and Gary explains that the plan had worked perfectly, with the fish now heading out into the main body of the lake. I clear his second rod out of the way, and pass him the landing net, and watch as he counters the lunges and runs of this latest encounter.
It's landed, and once again we go through the ritual of weighing and getting some photo's. It's a big common, and goes 23lb 2ozs... and what a lovely fish to finish our sessions here.
We stay till mid-morning, having one last cuppa, and chewing over the success of the campaign, and it has been good, with 8 or 9 large 'twenties' landed, and one only ounces short of a 'thirty'... not forgetting quite a few carp in the high 'teens', we've done alright.
You have to remember that we both work for a living, and our sessions are usually just a day out, or single over-nighters done each week, so we don't do bad!
We finally stop the chat, and pack the carp gear away, but this time it's going to be a good few months before it comes out again.