Left to right: A view from the dam wall……. A nice Gyrn carp……. Looking out across the lake……. Another fish from the session
Amongst the carp at Gyrn Castle
In last week’s article I wrote about my time on the bottom pool at Gyrn Castle in Wales. The primary reason for my visit to the fishery in rural Flintshire though was to fish the bigger top lake for carp, and that’s how my two nights were taken up. One of the advantages of this particular venue is you have to book in advance. With a small number of pegs, not only does it keep the anglers limited in number but you also know where you are fishing from the moment you make your call and confirm the date. Many times we go somewhere and we don’t really know if our preferred peg is free. But with that out of the way you can start to prepare for your session well beforehand. And that’s exactly what I was able to do as I knew I was on peg 3 on the dam wall.
I often say to anglers who contact me with questions, don’t just do something because I say it. Yes take on board advice but ultimately work it through and do what you feel is right. Copy and paste might be good on the computer but it’s a recipe for frustration in the angling world. But on the other hand it would be foolish to ignore advice from someone on the ground. And that’s why, when I arrived I waited for Craig Smith the bailiff to return from an outside engagement before commencing the actual fishing. With his finger on the pulse as far as Gyrn Castle is concerned, his helpful advice has to be considered. Although I had thought through my approach to the session, I still wanted to speak with Craig and get his thoughts before I broke water.
His first piece of advice confirmed what I had already decided to do with one of my rods – fish it under a tree that protruded over the lake. And even the method of dropping the bait in and walking the rod back to the pod was something I’d already opted for. I was a little unsure of where to put the second rod though, but was happy to go with Craig’s thoughts about fishing off the stage at peg 4. No-one was on there during my stay so that was an option. With everything set up, I retreated to the bottom pool to pursue crucian carp, returning again late afternoon to bait up my swims.
As you would expect, following my recent link-up with Des Taylor, I was using SBS Baits. Some anglers don’t like sponsorship, usually the ones that don’t have it. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you are open and transparent. And going down this road the criteria I have applied is would I use this item of tackle, fish with this bait, visit this venue etc if I had no connections and had to pay what everyone else does. As far as the wider commercial world is concerned, does sportsman x really shave with that razor, or does actress y actually spray that perfume on her body? I don’t know; I can’t speak for them. I can only say for myself and if I write about something, it will be true.
Both swims had a number of handfuls of pellets scattered around them. I like the look of the SBS multi-mix and as I already have a big sack of standard trout pellets at home I mixed equal amounts of the two together. But at £2.99 a kilo they aren’t going to break the bank. Hook-bait wise I threw out a few corn shaped boilies for the left rod and some M2 under the tree. It was then just a case of casting out, putting the rods in the pod and waiting. One piece of advice if you intend to fish Gyrn, the banks remind me of a gravel pit and getting bank sticks in is quite difficult, so a pod is definitely the way to go. The right rod positioned under the tree was straightforward enough I had already got that sorted. But I couldn’t settle on the other one. As an angler I have to be at peace once I have cast out; any doubts and I can’t sit back.
After three casts, I decided to switch location altogether and fish a couple of lengths out, just off a developing weed bed. Well at least the fish in the original spot will have a free feast tonight I told myself as I put out some more bait in readiness for the night’s action. The M2 was a bottom bait while I fished two popped-up corn shaped boilies on the left rod. These are referred to as ‘poppers’ by SBS. Both rods out, I put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. Before the steam had even started to show through the spout though, the tree rod was off. Having clear space to my right meant that not only was I able to drop the hook bait under the tree easily enough, I could also walk round and net the fish in a clear spot away from the margin weed. It was a good fish and as always with the initial one I photographed it and you can see it above. The second carp came not long after that and by now I was wondering when the other rod would see some action.
Those thoughts became a reality as the hanger hit the rod and line started to peel as a carp made its way into open water. After a dogged and determined effort to escape capture, eventually I slipped the net under it and lifted it to the unhooking mat. Although I had my bedchair and sleeping bag I didn’t spend any prolonged time getting to know them as regular bite alarm noises kept me on my toes. If it wasn’t a fish on a screaming run then it was a liner. I ended the night with eight carp in total, four of them single-figure fish but the others all good doubles. But what was particularly pleasing was that the two biggest fish came from the rod that I had re-positioned at the last minute.
By the time the second night came round I was oozing with confidence, particularly as from the moment I cast out both rods at dusk I was getting liners. However, nothing materialised. If I hadn’t dozed off I would have recast as something should have taken one of the baits at least, that was for sure. But not getting much sleep the night before plus fishing right through the day on the lower pool, not to mention the journey there, I had fallen into a deep sleep of Rip Van Winkle proportions. So by the time I woke up at dawn and I had not had a single fish I knew something was wrong. The bait on the left rod had been masked in weed and the initial resistance on the right one with nothing on the retrieve drew the conclusion that there had been no bait on at all or it had been snagged.
Either way these things happen. As I say on the video, you can’t blame the venue, bait, rigs, presentation or whatever. It’s just one of these things. But to highlight what I had missed, I did cast both rods out again and within seconds I had a carp on the tree rod, followed by another again within seconds. The two fish took me to ten for the session and rather than dwell on the negative of the night I looked to the positive of what I had over my time at Gyrn Castle. Because of my ‘big picture’ approach to angling, I’m easily pleased anyway. And I certainly left Flintshire a happy man having had an enjoyable couple of nights in the Principality.
Video number 29 on list
(Originally published June 2010)