Friday, 30 September 2016

They are getting bigger!

What started out to be a very slow day got worse when we got soaked in a downpour got a lot better in the end. Today was going to be a bit of an experiment. Tim and I had decided to try some carp tactics and set up a pair of carp rods. To use pop-up boilies over a particle bed and PVA bags on or around the hook to get a nice parcel of freebies out there was the plan.

My new barrow soon became overloaded
We arrived at Beaver Fishery for the opening at 07:00 with the idea of fishing a part of The Major's Lake we had not fished before. After paying our day ticket and getting official approval to use the particle bait I had prepared, we parked up near the lake and armed with a rod and bomb, went prospecting the deeper end of the lake. We settled on a nice swim with a good area of water in front of us at the deeper end of the lake. All the gear was loaded onto my new barrow (I think I need to perfect my loading!) with the rod we had used to search for a suitable swim laying across the top.

Tim had not used a 12ft carp rod before, so we found a peg that had no overhanging trees and Lessons began. You know what they say about teaching family members to drive, well the same could be said about teaching little brothers how to fish. I refuse to discuss the next couple of hours but suffice to say, Tim can now cast a carp rod.

Now it was my turn to teach myself something; laying a bed of particles. I had prepared a supply of particles a few days ago. They were approved for use by the fishery officer this morning so all I had to do now was get them out there. I don't own a spod or spomb or a rod capable of delivering one. I suppose one of my carp rods would do at a push but that would mean either re-rigging it or only being able to fish with one rod. As this is new to me at the moment I intended to make do with just spooning it out.

Having never tried this before, I found it much harder to use than I had expected. The short handle is good for throwing short distances and that was reasonably successful. Screwed to a landing net pole, it is perfect for cupping into the margins but not really necessary and not what I wanted to do. Trying to fire it long-range was almost impossible.  I could not achieve any distance with the short handle and my landing net poles are not rigid enough to use as an extended throwing handle. I also risk breaking the things as they are not designed to take that sort of punishment.

After a few attempts at trying to get the particles where I wanted them, it was obvious that my plan to use an old telescopic landing net handle was flawed. Time for a rethink. I have since researched the subject and discovered that Gardner makes such an item, designed primarily as a baiting spoon handle that is capable of long-range work. I will have to investigate further and have a rummage around in the workshop...

Meanwhile, we decided to feed some particles down the margins and see what we could catch there. This we did without any success. In the end, the two carp rods were cast out to their target areas loaded with PVA bags of freebies containing the bomb and baited hook length. These two rods were placed between where we were sitting where either of us could reach them. These rods were re-cast/re-baited several times during the day with no results at all. We were not alone, others we spoke to during the day had not caught anything either.

Tim caught several roach of around this size
While we were sitting there guarding our carp rods, like a couple of expectant mothers, we were doing a spot of close-in float fishing. Tim is as happy as a dog with two tails sitting there watching a float and gets all excited if it even moves let alone if he strikes into a fish. During the course of the day, he caught several roach and a sprinkling of perch all one or two steps above 'tiddler' class. I also managed a couple of small silvers during the morning after helping Tim to sort his rigs out - he had left his glasses behind. I suppose they were with his flask of coffee he also left behind. Still, that saved me the bother of having to drink the other half of my flask...

Another perch meant at least Tim was catching fish
Talking of sustenance, the now standard breakfast was served at around 09:00. Baked beans, ravioli and frankfurters. That went down a treat and this time I managed to get my fair share of the grub before the other bloke downed the lot!

By lunch time we were just settled in. The fishing was slow but we had solved most of the world problems and decided we could make a far better job of running the country than any of the mob that are doing it now or were likely to do so in the future. Just as we were picking our brains to solve global warming (or is that climate change' these days?) the sky clouded over and the sun went in. There was now a nip in the air and Tim was reaching for his coat. Me, being much hardier than him stuck it out in my tee-shirt for at least another two minutes before donning the obligatory green hoodie.

Now, that is going to make the fish wet...
Then it happened, totally unexpected by me it started to rain not just a few spots but a full-blown downpour, it chucked it down. Thanks! We folded the chairs backs down, covered the bait and made for cover, lunch in hand. It must have rained for a while, everything was soaked through. The towels had protected the bait and after wiping any surplus water off the rest of the gear we were back fishing.  The place did look a bit like a Chinese laundry for a while but as the sun emerged from behind the clouds it warmed us up and dried most of the rest of the tackle nicely.

Andy, the bailiff reappeared and we bemoaned the lack of action together, pointing out that the heavy rain would have dropped the water temperature. He did point out a peg, a few yards up the bank, that was opposite a lot of overhanging trees. He said this was a favourite feeding spot. In the shallow water under the overhang, we could see fish cruising to and fro. A ghostie rolled, breaking the surface as if to say "you can't catch me".  The trouble was the peg was tight so there would not have been enough room for two of us and the whole idea of us fishing together is just that, to fish together and chat, as we get no other time together apart from the odd family bash.

Every couple of hours we recovered the carp rods to inspect the bait and attach another bag of freebies. I gave up with the close in waggler fishing and decided to have a last-ditch attempt at catching something on the gravel spot, just in front of the island, by a patch of lilies.  I had a 9ft picker rod, rigged with a 30g large feeder, ready in the bag. I loaded it with Two Dog groundbait method mix and a nice lump of bacon grill on the hook. This was all nice and sweaty as it had been sitting in the sunshine for a few hours by now. I cast it out three or four times to the same spot to build up a small pile of groundbait. On the last cast, I changed the bacon grill for a new piece and let it sit there. Nothing happened.

If this was Jeff's Lake I would have been pulling F1s out by the bucket load but here on The Major's Lake, it is a different thing altogether. Sitting there chatting with the rods in the water, the still calm of the afternoon was shattered as the reel on the little picker rod suddenly yanked into action as was paying out line at a phenomenal rate. I picked up the rod and tightened the drag.  The rod bent around and the line slowed to a stop. I gently applied pressure and the line started to allow itself to be recovered, very slowly. My first thought was that a fish had taken my bait and wrapped me up in the vegetation.  I assumed I was pulling at a plant that was slowly being pulled out of the silt. Then it all kicked off again. This was no plant, this was a fish - and for me, a big fish!

I landed it!
I played the fish for what seemed an eternity but was probably no more than five minutes. As it got closer I could see I had hooked a good sized mirror carp. It gave a good fight close in, especially when it saw the net. In anticipation of catching something big on the carp rods, I had my thirty-two inch met screwed to a good rigid six foot long handle. This tamed the fish with ease and at last, I could get a good look at what I had caught.

16lb 2oz mirror. The largest fish I have caught - so far
The fish tuned out to be a 16lb 2oz mirror carp. A personal best for me and a real treat at the end of what had been a slow day. This time I can claim my first double figure fish caught and landed by me, without the aid of Andy and his boat, see HERE.

In the end, we had a good day and to be fair to Tim, he was as pleased about my catch as I was. I don't think he had seen a fish that big, close up, before. After the drama of that fish, it was time to start packing up and heading for home after yet another enjoyable day by the bank with my little brother.