It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was out, in fact there was hardly a cloud in the sky and it felt reasonably warm too, and with only a hint of a breeze ruffling the tree tops... it was just about the opposite to what many carpers would think is good weather for catching?
But if you're like Gary and myself we're at the beck and call of wife, kids, work, etc, and fit our fishing in when we can, which for us, as we both work Saturdays, is usually Sunday into Monday for our overnighters.
Even then, we're meeting up at our chosen waters mid to late Sunday afternoon and are packed up and back on the road again by 9 or 10am the next morning, so what's that a 16 hour session? But if you read articles by well known anglers such as Julian Cundiff, a master of the short session, it's not always about the length of time you have on the bank, but what you put in to it when you're there.
Our sessions obviously have their benefits and drawbacks that can affect most of us, with the good side being most of the weekend lads have usually gone and we often have the lake to ourselves, or at least with only one or two other anglers. The bad side being if the venue has had a busy weekend it's whether the fish are now line shy and tucking themselves away, or even knowing whether we're fishing over a pile of bait left by the guy before... you can never tell?
So Gary and myself won't necessarily walk all around a local water for hours when we arrive, we haven't always got the time, (unless it's a brand new venue, and then you have to do some ground work), but we'll spend a while looking out for where fish are showing, check the wind direction, and if anyones in the 'going' swims, which again is something you get to hear about as you get to know a water, it all helps you to make an educated guess about where you're going to try, and hopefully land a fish or two.
With that said I'd missed the last few weeks out through attending one of the Stoney & Friends weekend fish-ins (you can read the report on the event in an earlier blog, if you haven't all ready!), and then followed this up with being away for the family Summer holiday... strangely enough though the French campsite we'd ended up at had its own lake, and I had accidentally slipped a couple of rods and reels inside the motor... along with a tackle bag and some bait of course! So I quickly sussed out the lake, and with a little bit of pre-baiting, we soon became quite an attraction to anyone nearby as on every visit we would put 2 or 3 carp on the bank, not huge but in the 4-6lb stamp, and all the better for having both my boys joining in and catching a few themselves.
But let's get back to this session, and Gary and myself had dropped into a couple of favourite swims that usually throw up a fish or two. Both of us fished straight out in front of us, around 30yds into this arm of the lake, with Gary 'pulting out a spread of boilies and fishing a matching pop-up over the top. I think he also attached a small PVA bag of pellets to the hook to help with presentation and also give the hookbait that added attraction.
As for me I Spombed out my usual particle bed of hemp and maize and fished a rod to each side of it, using a large marine halibut pellet on the hair, much as I've done in recent trips, the only slight difference this week, well the last few outings to be honest, is I've been adding some of Munch Baits freeze dried bloodworm to the mix as well, just to give the fish that extra something to keep them mooching about. The rest of the set-up is simple, as I say we don't fish with overly complicated rigs, just lead clips, tubing, short semi-stiff braided hooklinks, and Covert Mugga hooks, tied with a hair and knotless knot.
And just to prove it all works in the early hours I have two takes and land a couple of commons with one around the 14-15lb mark, and the other a big bruiser at 25lb 7ozs, which gave me a cracking fight in the half light of dawn.
But things are still not happening for Gary as after taking some photo's for me he returns to his swim, recasts, and has a take almost straight away. He plays the fish for a few seconds before it somehow sheds the hook and leaves him rueing his luck yet again.
A nice hot cuppa helps... even though it's not the same as having a good bend in your rod, but we'll be back again. You just have to keep trying!
Well another week passes, and we're back targeting the same water.
It's a busy start as not only has our mate Bob turned up for a chat, but also Gary's other half has arrived to say hello at the same time! We're trying to be sociable while still getting our rods sorted and getting the brollies up before darkness descends.
As it happens the lakes busier itself with a few other anglers dotted round its banks, it leaves us to pick the two car park swims, which actually helps us a lot as we can carry our gear from the cars straight into the swims, and still keep a chat going with our guests.
Gary's in a tight corner swim which gives him some nice overhanging branches to pop a bait under, and basically a straight chuck out with the other one. I've got a bar that runs across in front of me, about 40yds out, I'll put some particle down and fish on the top of it.
Bob's sitting in my swim as I finish putting up my bedchair, and as we chat away the sound of an alarm stops our conversation, we look at each other, it's Gary's alarm, I grab the camera and we head round to his swim.
Now when you've been through a quiet spell and then you finally latch on to a fish, the last thing you probably need is a couple of your mates watching, and even your missus in the background! But that didn't matter to Gary, he's far too experienced an angler to let a small audience put him off, and he played in a nice common (see the video below), to end his catching drought.
Well that was good to see him get one on the bank at last, and with it being so early in the session it boded well for us getting a few more. Around 11pm that evening it was my turn, and another common was in need of having it's photo taken.
So a fish each and still the night and morning spells to come, but nothing else decided to disturb us, and after a couple of warming brews in the morning we're loading the cars ready for the trip home. We've had an enjoyable outing, both of us caught, and thoughts are already turning to our next session... can't be bad!