Well with all that wet weather eventually going away I finally managed to get out on the bank.
Not a long session, and it wasn't going to be an early start either as I was helping the wife get the kids off to school as well as run the odd errand, so a quick session was on the cards, but that was fine as I'd planned to have a go on a local club water.
With it still being reasonably mild I thought a little carp trip might prove worthwhile and this venue has a fair head of fish… not that they're particularly big, but I should get a bend in my rod.
Arriving at about 10.30am I found I had the lake to myself. So on with the wellies and a little stroll around the waters edge.
Levels were still high, and one corner of the lake was totally impassable, but basically being more of a pleasure outing I ended up at a swim not that far from the car park... and if I wanted to justify this choice as being good for the carp, then I did have the wind blowing straight in my face!
It didn't take long to set up and having fished here before I knew roughly where I wanted to put my baits, with one going straight out towards the middle, and the other off to the right in the direction of the flooded corner as it had some snags that always seemed to hold fish.
For bait I was using Munch Baits freeze dried snails. I'd seen them at one of the shows recently and fancied giving them a go. All you have to do is rehydrate them with some water the night before and they're fine for the next day. I'd also popped in some powdered garlic to give them a smell… well, you always have garlic with your snails don't you? (said in a voice like René off of 'Allo 'Allo!).
Anyway my set-up was simple with a size 12 Covert Mugga tied to a 6" Disruption hooklink, then a swivel joining it to my mainline, and finished off with a running lead and buffer bead. The snails were mounted on a hair, and that was it, nothing complicated here.
It wasn't long after that my mate Bob rang and after a short chat that revolved around 'where was I', and 'had I caught anything yet', that he made his mind up to pop down and join me for a few hours.
By the time he arrived I had my nose in a book, and was enjoying a bit of midday sun... that felt almost warm when the gusting wind decided to stop blowing.
He said hello then walked round a few swims before returning to the one next to me, deciding that we might as well be sociable as there was only a few hours to fish, and the fact that the swim wasn't covered in 6" of mud like the others!
Now Bob's into a more traditional fishing style at the moment, and I soon saw the elegant lines of a split cane rod being slipped out of its bag.
He matched his cane rods with Mitchell 300's for a very 'retro' look, and not being able to cast too far soon had one bait out near to the overhanging branches of a bankside tree, while the other was chucked straight out.
Maggots were his chosen bait, with a big bunch on each hook and a few pouchful's catapulted out over the top.
The only thing that wasn't old school were the alarms the rods rested on, and the rod pod, got to have some modern stuff somewhere mate!
We settled down, cracked open the flasks and enjoyed a hot cuppa, and chatted about the book we were soon to have published, The Osprey Specimen Group and friends… must be the best kept secret that everyone knows about! More news on that coming soon.
Then as we talked an alarm beeps and a reel starts to churn… it's Bob's, and his close in bait has picked up a marginal fish.
It's great to see the cane in action, as it easily handles a feisty little common that soon ends up in the net.
A couple of photo's and it's back in the lake, and with Bob's comment of 'One for the cane!' bringing a smile to my face it seems we're now in a match between retro and modern!
But it's all light hearted and Bob is soon offering me some of his maggots to try, as he wonders if its a little early for the snails, even though they're an interesting bait the water temp might still be a little low for them.
I decide to carry on, but after another quiet half hour I'm grabbing a handful of maggots to use on one rod.
Now I've been finding there's still a bit of weed on the bottom each time I bring in my baits so it would be nice to pop up the maggots, especially as I'm doing a long chuck to the middle where the only fish I've seen has shown.
But time is against me as we've only got an hour or so to go and I don't want to start tying a new rig now, so I thread a small 5mm cork ball on the hair, then feed the loop over the hook point to make a sort of D-rig effect, with a small shot squeezed a couple of inches down the hooklink and a dozen maggots on the hook itself, that should do the business?
And indeed it does, as within minutes my alarm sings and I'm into a fish which turns out to be another common... which makes it's one for the carbon.
So in a final flurry Bob then lands a mirror, and I get something that fights a little harder, it's another common and is probably a scraper double, but we're not bothering to weigh them today.
It's been a good winter session, short but productive, with the humble maggot proving their worth in the cooler conditions… and as far as the impromptu contest went, we ended up at 2-2… phew!