Friday, 13 June 2014

Lake Record Common - A Gut Feeling

During the many years I have been angling, only a handful of occasions have I experienced a "gut feeling" or "intuition" to go fishing.  The first time I can recall such a feeling was about 18 years ago, I used to play rugby every Saturday for my local club, however, one week in February, as the game got closer, I felt a strong urge inside, that told me I just had to go chub fishing.  So instead of playing rugby that Saturday, I left the house, with my fishing tackle in the car at 5.00am for my local river in search of chub.   That morning I landed my personal best Chub of 5lb 2oz which still stands to this day.  I can not explain why I had this feeling, however I just knew that I had to go fishing that day, not the day after on the Sunday, but that day. 

That same gut feeling grew stronger last week and as the days passed, by the Thursday I knew I had to return to the lake that I had caught the Unknown Common from a couple of weeks earlier.  So Thursday evening saw me walking through the long grass of the meadow, surrounded by lambs looking for a free helping as I made my way towards the lake.  It was another beautiful evening and as I approached I could see another angler, upon speaking to him, he was a new member of the club and was steadily catching rudd as well as the odd small carp.

I decided to set up in the same spot as last time as I had been pre-baiting a couple of likely areas since my last visit.  All day Thursday was spent tying rigs and adjusting my set up for my session.  I was going to stick with the helicopter rigs, due to the soft nature of the lake bed, I felt this gave me the best presentation and was certainly effective in catching last time out.   I began to think I had over complicated things with the subtle changes to the rigs, however I assured myself from previous experience that I was now fishing for the carp and had to be prepared as the stock of the venue is virtually unknown apart from some very recent stockings.

As I readied myself to make my first casts of the session, my only companion, apart from the lambs, departed with a wave.  I now had the venue to myself so I decided to bait moderately with boilies only, I put in half a kilo of Charwood Baits MPP over the 2 spots.  If and when I started getting bites I would then top the areas up accordingly.  I decided to feed only boilies as I wanted to attract as many carp to the areas as possible and avoid the countless rudd.

The evening passed as the sun slipped away behind the hills, the temperature dropped prompting me to add my thick fleece and pull my hood up to retain my heat in.  In the twilight my buzzer rang out sending the bobbin to the floor, typical drop back bite.  On the rods I reeled in the slack line until I connected with the fish.  It was a spirited fight as the carp made a bee line for my near side bank attempting to lose itself within the overhanging sedge grass.  The carp graced the back of the net and on the unhooking mat I admired the common, that resembled a wild carp by its lean appearance.  Certainly not a stock fish, but an off spring from the originals, which seemed to be happily breeding in the pool.  

The next time the buzzer screamed at me was after dark and resulted in another common of over 7lbs, a nice clean looking fish, with vivid colours adorning his fins.  

As I slipped myself back under the thermal fleece that accompanied my bedchair, the night felt chilly, certainly colder than recent nights, I wondered whether this would have an affect on the carp feeding.  As I lay there, thoughts of my gut feeling came back, thoughts of hope at first, then the thought that maybe Id got it wrong and the gut feeling was just excitement.  I drifted off, only being woken at 4am by the unmistakable sound of the bite alarm, as the spool span around releasing line to an angry carp I leapt into my wellies, lifted the rod into what was clearly the best fish of the session by far.  The fish led me a merry dance over most of the lake, heading into the wooden staging, then almost finding sanctuary in an assortment of sunken branches that resembled witches fingers!  In the half light, I no longer required my head torch and relied on my eyes to adjust in the early morning glow.  Then my first glimpse of the fish, it was a mirror, my first from this venue.  The fish used her large fins to her advantage as she once more buried herself under my feet around the staging.  Within a few minutes I had her head above the surface as I slipped the net under a perfectly formed carp that sent the scales to 11lb exactly.  My biggest from the venue, however still short of the 12lb 6oz record.

A proud stem of foxgloves over looked my bivvy, as a moorhen and her chick made their way across the water at the shallow end of the lake and raven croaked as he flew above me, it was now daylight as I fired out another helping of MPP boilie over my successful areas.

My aim of this session was to catch my first double from the venue, with this achieved perhaps I had been right to follow my gut instinct.  I was happy with the result and with only a couple of fishing hours remaining before I would have to pack up and make the short journey to work, my time was running out to achieve my second target.  Being a venue with no track record for carp and no conclusive history of previous stockings, I was determined to improve on the recent venue record that had fallen to another angler, whether it be this session or the next.  Thankfully I did not have to wait long to achieve success, at 6am the left hand rod ripped off and as I was only inches from it, I held the spool and struck into my 4th fish of the session.  This carp certainly knew where all the snags were and headed directly for a sunken tree, I could feel the line grating on the branches as I held firm applying side strain attempting to steer the fish out the hazard.  The line went solid until a a few seconds later I could feel the fish kick and I gained some valuable line.  

This was a fight to remember, a powerful fish surged back and forth, I had no option but to play the fish hard, my confidence was in my set up, so apart from a hook pull I was hopeful of landing the fish.  On several occasions I managed the fishes head out of water only for it to power off into the depths.  Eventually I slipped the cord under the fish, letting the carp recover in the margins and for me to compose myself slightly.  It was going to be a venue best for me, however, would it beat the 12lb 6oz set a few weeks previous?

After a few minutes I laid the stunning common on the mat, and readied the scales.  Final reading was 13lb 8oz.  Venue record by over a pound.  Again the colouration of the fish was truly impressive.

Orange glowed from the tail fin, the scales etched in brown and a dazzling white under belly made this fish one of the best I have seen in many years.  For anglers who are familiar with fishing venues that are quite coloured as this one is, the fish tend to be "washed out" and turn pale, especially common carp, however these fish seem to be retaining most of their colouration which makes them even more special to catch.

The size of the fishes mouth was huge and would of taken a tangerine no problem.  Having caught carp over 30lbs in the past, you might ask why can I be so excited about a fish this size, however after preparing my rigs and having a game plan to target the original stock, I could not of been happier.  I enjoy setting myself targets in angling, although this isnt for everyone, I believe if you are realistic with them, you will put more effort into your fishing helping you accomplish your goals and hopefully improve your angling skills along the way.  These short over night sessions involve fishing for 10-12 hours max, however a lot can be achieved in that amount of time.  It would of been easy for me to stay at home, thinking that setting up a bivvy for such a short space of time isnt worth the effort, you only get out what you put in like anything in life, effort equals reward.  My fishing this year will be confined to short after work sessions and quick over nighters, who knows it might be my best year yet!

Charwood Baits MPP boilie is gaining a reputation for catching alot of big carp in this country and abroad.  These carp had never seen a boilie before I started introducing them in the venue, I have total confidence in using the MPP on all waters, the milky aroma given off by these baits has to be seen to be believed.  For more information on all Charwood Baits you can follow them on their facebook page

Until next time, Tight Lines