Our latest few sessions have been fairly productive (well for me anyway!), as Gary seems to be going through somewhat of a lean spell, as we all do from time to time.
The first outing is a night on my own as he's not able to get out, and I use this as a chance to dive in somewhere that Gary usually likes to fish.
It gets me a wake up call in the early hours with a plump common gracing the net, not big enough to bother weighing but around the 13-14lb mark.
Then for a variety of reasons I miss a few weekend trips myself.
Starting with a blank session at Blenhiem Palace on the opening day of the new season, after getting an invite to join a mate in one of the boats, we fish hard from start to finish but can't buy a bite… at least we weren't the only ones, as we hear that only one angler catches, and a couple of average sized tench at that. At least it's a lovely place to fish.
The following week I'm playing cricket!
Yes that's right, it seems our village has a 'fathers' match each year, and I somehow had volunteered, possibly when I was the worse for wear after the odd brew? Which is great as the last time I played was in my early twenties… I must learn to keep my mouth shut sometimes!
But normal service is resumed a couple of weeks later as we're both out again and we head to that same swim, but with back Gary in it this time, and me in the next one, we're soon both priming our chosen spots with bait.
Gary has his marker float bobbing away about half way across this arm of the lake we're fishing, and not long after I hear the plop, plop, plop of boilies hitting the water.
For me it's a bit of Spombing to put out some particle, good old hemp and maize, which has worked well this season. Then I'll fish a large pellet over the top which will be ok for the carp, cats or bream in this water.
In the end it turns out to be a bittersweet session. My set up is good enough to tempt another resident of this water, and after waking to a one-toner at around 4am I'm given a spirited fight as the carp decides it doesn't fancy seeing the inside of my net, let alone have its picture taken.
So with my clutch having been given a seriously good workout I finally steer this bad tempered fish to the bank. After securing the rod I turn to have that first look in the net, and no wonder it put up such a strong fight as this carp is a much better size. It may not be that deep but it's almost the width of my landing net, and quite broad too, I realise this is a mid-twenty, if not a little bigger.
With a smile on my face I have him out on the mat and remove the hook, then back in the net and into the water, I wedge the landing net handle under my unhooking mat and start to sort out my rod and get it straight back on it's spot. After a few minutes there's a whoosh, and the carp tries to power off pulling the net along the ground with it, and once its tried this twice more I grab a couple of bivvy pegs and make sure the net isn't going anywhere.
My rod is back out now and I'm happy my capture is safe, as all I want is to give it an hour or so until the sun has risen, and hopefully Gary as well, then he can take a photo or two. I nod off for an hour with my scaley friend still trying to break for freedom, but he's there when I wake and I can hear Gary moving about so it's time for the kettle to go on.
It's as I'm turning off the kettle there's an almighty whoosh behind me, and I turn to see the carp leap almost a foot above the landing net and dive straight back into the water!
As I'm standing there gobsmacked Gary pops his head round the corner, 'Have you got one, I heard a splash?' Well you can imagine the look on my face.
There's some compensation as I get another run before we pack up and land a nice chunky common in the 16-18lb range. Gary takes some good pictures, but I can't help thinking of what the bigger one would have looked like? Oh well roll on next week!