Well I certainly can't knock the guy, as he's single handedly keeping the catching going for us, as I've now gone another week without a fish!
It's always pleasant out on the bank, so we're keeping up with the Summer carp campaign and doing another night on our favourite carp lake. Choosing different swims to where we've been before, we set up the bivvy's and then plan our attack for snaring one of the resident fish population.
Gary lobs out a rod baited with red corn to some nearby snags, and fires out a boilie on the second rod, to the end of the island in front of him. Me, well I'm trying a particle approach this time.
The bank we're on is fairly straight, with the edge broken up by assorted overhanging trees and bushes, my swim sits in between a couple of these large bushes, so I decide to fish both rods in the margins this time.
Chucking out handfuls of hempseed and maize to the ends of the furthest branches on one side, and hemp and pellet to the edge of the bush on the other, I'm putting down a nice bed of particles I hope will attract the carp and get them to stop and 'graze'.
The rods are sorted, I fish one with a couple of large grains of maize, hair-rigged, and put in over the particles, the other is finished off with a boilie, also hair-rigged, and dropped in the opposite side.
Not long after and we're sitting having a cuppa, as usual we're feeling confident, the air temperatures cool, there's a soft breeze blowing, putting a nice ripple on the surface, and there's a fair bit of cloud cover... all in all, great conditions.
We drift into evening, chatting about our week's endeavors and making plans for future trips. As the Summer seems to be cooling off, there's thoughts of Autumn perch, and later our quest for a large pike will start again. I've already heard that The Osprey Specimen Group are organising some sort of pike fish-in, and I'll bring you news on that as soon as I hear the details.
Dusk settles slowly, and as we hear the odd big splash from across the lake we retire to our sleeping bags. I'd had a busy week and felt pretty tired, it wasn't long before I was scaring the bankside inhabitants with my snoring!
In the dreamy mists of my mind I hear a few beeps, then it goes quiet, then a few more, perhaps faster this time. They're not mine, my sounder box is silent, perhaps one of the other lads on the lake? But hang on, is that the sound of someone nearby moving about?
I drag myself out of the sleeping bag, grab my head torch and quietly walk down towards Gary's swim... and there he is, grasping one of his rods as it bends over in a perfect curve.
'You alright mate' says Gary, as he see's me approaching, all the while he's fighting a highly spirited fish that seems intent on getting into the bankside snags. 'So what one was it' I ask, 'your snag rod?'.
We both thought the margin rods would score, but no, this was from the island, and on a boilie. Anyway, Gary still has to land the fish, and by now it's fought its way under an old tree stump laying out from the bank. After a few more runs, and some hard playing by Gary, the fish is brought to the surface.
There's only one problem, the line is caught around one of the branches on the stump!
Gary tries everything he can, walking up the bank to get a better angle, raising the rod high, even slackening right off to see if the carp will swim out from the snag... but he's not going to be that obliging.
After a good few minutes trying Gary reckons there's only one thing to do to stop the fish getting distressed... pull for a break. Gary winds in tight, and we both turn our backs and shield our eyes, as he starts to walk back from the bank... then there's a 'snap'.
We look and amazingly enough the line hasn't broken, but the branch has!
Gary's on the case and has the fish under control, and in the net seconds later... nice one mate. It's on the mat, unhooked, in the sling and on the scales... 21lb 7ozs.
We celebrate by getting the kettle on, and it's only then that I check my watch, it's only 11pm, being pitch black when I woke I thought it was later, so we still have the rest of the night to go.
But as these things tend to go, the night passes quietly, with neither of us being disturbed... and for that matter, the rest of the morning.
But Gary's done the business, and we can go home happy!