Once, twice, but not three times a blanker
Left to right: Rod out but no action on pool 1… Stretched out in the Shropshire sun… Amongst the carp on pool 2… Watching and waiting
As anglers when we have something new we want to use it. It might be an item of tackle such as a rod or reel, maybe a venue ticket, or even something like new bait. And that’s the situation I was in this week as a link-up with Des Taylor’s SBS Baits had me all keen about trying out the various bits and pieces that I had at my disposal. I might be 48 years old but just like when I was a kid and I couldn’t wait to get on the road with my first bike, so I was really keen to cast out with my new boilies! With a run of three nights available to me on the trot I decided to target Woodland Lodge on the Kinver Freeliners ticket. It’s fairly local and so meant that I could fish during the night get home to work and then return again on the evening.
I didn’t time my first arrival very well though, as we had a downpour that lasted all through the process of setting up. By the time everything was in place and I was under the shelter I was pretty wet to say the least. And at that precise moment the rain stopped. I was tucked into a corner of one of the pools with the island just in front of me. Overhanging trees made it look like an attractive proposition. I go into the rig and bait details on the video, so there’s no need to repeat myself here.
Casting out as darkness approached, I was confident. I knew it was going to be a tough challenge though as not only is the popular consensus of thought leaning towards just a few fish in the pool (it’s a new venue for Kinver so the information jigsaw pieces are only just coming together) but the weather had taken a sharp downturn. It was quite chilly once the sun had set and it was hard to believe that just a couple of days earlier we had overnight temperatures well into double figures, and here we were struggling to get that during the day. No wonder we British talk about the weather so much, and particularly for us as anglers, as the forces of nature do dominate proceedings.
I had a couple of bleeps during the night which may have been liners, but either way I blanked. I wasn’t discouraged though as I had thought through my approach very carefully prior to the session. Whenever I drive home from a fishing trip I always use the time to evaluate and learn from any mistakes made or perhaps think of something different that I should have done. With a return planned the same night, the only thing that I looked at doing differently was to fish further round so that I could put one bait off the edge of the island and the other into open water. Observing the pool I had noticed feeding bubbles in the latter so wanted to be fishing in that area come the second night.
The next evening as I set up had me thinking what a difference a day makes (cue song) as I was in bright sunshine and a setting that was very summer-like. The flat, grassy banks around the pools at Woodland Lodge are excellent for fishing in general and definitely so when you are pitching up for the night. I wasn’t in a bivvy but my Trakker shelter, but there is still plenty of space for the former if needed. I’m usually tucked in undergrowth with rats, on a bed of gravel or a slope, so the luxury of Woodland is welcome. Mind you it didn’t help the fishing as I had another fish-less night.
I couldn’t blame my blank on a pike in my swim though as there are none present it is believed, and I didn’t see a soul never mind an Eastern European netting gang. The third option though was there, the otter. My nature ramble around my swim the night before had revealed what looked like an otter run through the hedgerow and an entry point into the pool looked very otter-like. So when I heard several large crashes during the night in such a pattern and direction that was definitely more large mammal than feeding fish, I put two and two together. But when I reeled in the next morning and found no bait on one rod and a tangle on the other, that’s the real answer isn’t it?
But determined to get a carp from the venue I was back for the third night on the trot. This time I switched to the other pool on the site, which is currently known as ‘number one’. Even in the few visits I have made so far I have drawn what I consider to be a pretty accurate picture of the two ponds. The first one has a lot more fish in it, but whilst the stock density of number two may be lower, the carp go bigger. They are both very different waters and clearly present the angler with a choice; lots of action from smaller fish or the chance to sit it out for a bigger one with blanks along the way. And that’s how it proved for me this week as my two blanks on pool two were followed by half a dozen common carp on the first.
I did feel confident as the sun set and that confidence was rewarded with half the fish coming the early side of midnight. With lots of carp crashing and topping all over the place it was a busy night with liners and small fish picking up the bait (there are other species in there), as well as the captures themselves. None of them were big but after a couple of blanks it was nice to get a bend in the rod. And they certainly did put up a fight. With the hangers smashing against the rod, and line peeling off at speed, until the strike they could have been 20’s racing away across the water. And although they weren’t big, you can only catch what’s in front of you. Plus it meant I didn’t get the sack from Des. After all, three consecutive blanks are hardly a good advertisement for a bait company are they!
Video number 26 on list
(Originally published June 2010)