Not quite the cream off the top… but still good fun nevertheless (carp article, entry 42)

With limited time, I was forced to take a break from bream angling for a week. In fact, time was so tight I couldn’t even manage an overnighter, so didn’t even consider fishing for the slabs. Instead, I decided to have an afternoon pursuing carp. And with the weather being very warm, I figured the fish would be on the surface.

I headed for a small lake that I recently had an overnighter on. If you read my angling journal regularly, you may recall that I had a run every fifteen minutes during the night! Whilst this is a great confidence booster, none of the fish broke the double figure barrier, so it’s not really what I am looking for, particularly when I am out all night long.

However, with a good head of smallish fish, it made the prospects very good for some floater fishing, and so I set off with the sun high in the sky and my excitement level not far behind! I must say that I thoroughly enjoy taking carp ‘off the top’ and whilst I don’t focus on the method, I still try and get in a few such sessions during each summer.

Arriving at the lake, there was another carp angler on there, but he was fishing in one spot, which meant I had most of the water to myself. I had come prepared to stalk the fish and so consequently was travelling light. At the moment, with my bream fishing, every time I go angling it is a ‘kitchen sink’ job, so it was nice to have the minimum amount of gear with me.

As far as the business end of the tackle was concerned, I was fishing a Pedigree Chum mixer attached to the hook with a bait band. I used a small controller to give me a little distance when casting, and that was it – very simple and hopefully, very effective too! I needn’t have worried on that score though, as the carp proved to be very obliging.

As I had found out on my overnighter, there weren’t any monsters around, but they certainly fought well. Every time a fish was hooked – and I connected with several during the afternoon – it did its utmost to evade capture. Certainly if anyone was watching, and saw the bend in the rod, combined with the amount of time it took to land the fish, I’m sure they would have been surprised how small it eventually turned out to be.

It was very enjoyable and I thoroughly enjoyed the session. The pool in question is not one visited by members of the public, therefore the resident water birds (Mallard, Coot and Moorhen) are not used to being fed. On some venues it is practically impossible to fish on the surface without attracting every duck on the lake. As anyone who has ever fished that type of place will know, it can be very frustrating at times.

However, the peace was broken on this occasion, not by intrusions of the feathered kind, but by a couple of anglers who arrived late evening. Let’s just say they didn’t pay any attention to their volume level! Even though I was at the opposite end of the venue, I heard everything they had to say – from what they had for lunch, what they think of the boss, to which pub they were going to after they had finished angling!

As a solitary angler, I like nothing more than hearing only the sound of running water, birds singing, and frogs croaking. The only non-natural intrusion I welcome is the sound of a baitrunner or bite alarm indicating a fish has taken the bait! Still, I can’t complain, as the numbers of sessions per year that I would say were ruined by other anglers, I can count on one hand – and still have a few fingers left!

I left the water very happy with my catch of small carp. Certainly I would have welcomed a biggie, but I didn’t even see anything that came near that description. But what great fun it is to watch a carp circle round your bait, as it lies on the surface. Watching those big rubbery lips as it sucks the mixer in is an incredible feeling. Then striking, and feeling the fish at the end is a great thrill. The title of this week’s journal says it all really – not quite the cream off the top, but still good fun nevertheless.

Whilst most of my bigger carp have come from bottom fished baits, as far as the satisfaction of the catching itself is concerned, the stalking of surface feeding fish wins hands down every time. If you have never fished floater baits for carp – and I know many anglers haven’t – why not give it a go. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Finally, my angling journal was featured in one of the local newspapers this last week – The Dudley News. Not only was there an article, but they also sent the photographer round to get a shot. With so much negative publicity around these days concerning angling, I for one am very happy to take every opportunity I can to present a positive image for the pastime that I love so much.

Last June I was featured on Radio 4’s Open Country, specifically about fishing on the River Teme. Again, I had the platform on which to present fishing in a positive way and I gladly took the opportunity with both hands – literally as it so happened! The on-the-job interview was before the river coarse season opened, so it was a case of getting the fly rod out and casting a line for trout.

The article in The Dudley News has been included on their web site (text only) and can be viewed through this link:

(Originally published May 2004)


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