The mystery of the unknown (carp article, entry 471)

Even if you’re the most casual of readers, you’ll know I fish far more than the average angler. Several factors come together which enable me to pursue my passion. Not an obsession by the way, there’s a big difference between the two. So as I made my way to a small pool after carp I thought to myself, I’ll share a few insights into my life in this article, and how I get to fish so much.

Well first of all, I fish a lot because I love it. Sounds obvious but we always find time for things we really want to do. My love for angling is greater than my dislike of harsh weather and adverse conditions for example. So while other anglers may be waiting for the weather to pick up or conditions to improve, I just go anyway because being out there is what it’s all about.

My Angling Journal website home page

Then there’s my wife. She knows just how much my hobby means to me and she has never stood in the way. Well, as I often joke, she tried once but I knocked her out the way with my holdhall as I left the house. I never quite understand women who object to the man in their life spending a Friday night at the water’s edge miles from anywhere. There are far worse places he could be!

And that leads to another factor. I don’t go to pubs or clubs, so the choices I have to make come Friday and Saturday is not whether to go to the Lion or the Crown but rather do I fish the river or the lake. And I suppose following on from that, I don’t drink so don’t have to write any days off due to hangovers. I can set the alarm at any time I like and I don’t have to take into account the effects of the night before.

Also my philosophy in life is to not the grass grow beneath my feet. Life is short. We aren’t cats, we don’t have nine lives. This isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is the real thing. Make it count. I also push myself. I could write a book on this, but living a disciplined life means you get to fit so much more into it. My life as a whole is organised to the point where I have a diary full of daily tasks. Writing them down means you don’t have stuff at the back of your mind that you mean to do but you never get round to it.

SBS Proactive Multimix was used in every session

I motivate myself to clear every day with each task being ticked off by an orange highlighter pen. If it sounds regimented it isn’t. I don’t feel bound by organisation but actually set free. And it’s one of the reasons I can fit more angling sessions in than perhaps the guy who’s got to do this, that and the other but never gets round to anything. Plus he’s getting grief off his wife and it’s causing issues. If there’s something that needs doing, I do it now and move on to the next thing. Procrastination isn’t my strongest point!

I could go on, but let’s progress to some fishing. With a late afternoon free I wanted to tackle a small pool where I have fished before and caught small carp but always thought that there could be something better in there. Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to fish it.

With terrible conditions it was hardly surprising that I had the place to myself. Gale force winds and driving rain meant it was more like late autumn or winter than the middle of summer. And if it hadn’t been for the trees in full greenery then I could have taken photos and passed them off as December.

Tutti frutti pellet shaped boilies ready to go

I fished one rod with a bait presentation that has been a hit for me this year with specimen tench and bream – 2 x SBS corn shaped boilies on an artificial corn popped up. I’ve written about that a lot and used photographs so no need to cover old ground. The other rod I fished was 2 SBS tutti frutti pellet shaped boilies on the bottom. With no weed just a standard clay base I wanted to fish one off and one on the deck.

It was the one on that gave me my first run as I lifted into a screamer that felt like a good fish. My hunch of something decent in the venue was about to be proved true. Then I had a hook pull. I don’t normally bother about these things, but under the circumstances of fishing a place where you get lots of pleasure anglers catching small fish and to finally connect with something nice, it was a little disappointing.

After losing a fish I finally net this one

But that disappointment soon turned to hope again as I had another run, again on the tutti frutti. I really didn’t want lightning to strike twice so imagine my joy as I slipped a mirror over the submerged net and lifted it onto the bank. And I even had the confidence to take a quick shot of the rod in action as the fish played itself out in the middle of the pool. By now I was soaked but very happy.

And that happiness moved up a notch when it was the turn of the corn rod to come alive. This was a much better fish and by the time I’d photographed and returned it, it was time to start packing away. All the commotion of a fish thrashing in a small venue would have taken time for the other inhabitants to settle anyway. And with the now driving and persistent rain meaning it was going to get darker earlier than normal, I quit while I was ahead.

The sky was more like December than summer

I was really pleased with the fish, not least of all because of the challenge of tackling the unknown. There are places like this all over the country, small pools frequented by pleasure anglers who perhaps fish from late morning to early afternoon. Who knows what may be lurking in there along with the small roach and perch. There’s only one way to find out, give it a go. Nothing to lose and everything to gain!

The final fish of session one

As we know, not all stillwaters have all year round access and so with a syndicate lake opening its doors from the middle of June I wanted to get on there for carp. I gave it a week or two for the rush to die down then decided to have a series of overnighters on there. I would say pretty much everyone on the syndicate, apart from me, is there exclusively for carp. So although my focus will be other species, it would be rude to ignore the mirrors and commons wouldn’t it!

Overnighter one saw me arriving quite late due to other commitments, but with my rods already made up I was still fishing before total dark descended. Plus it was a dry night so I didn’t bother with the shelter. I stretched out on the bedchair and that met my requirements. Fishing two rods at 50 metres, both were baited with double 12mm M1 pop-up boilies soaked in dip. I cast out with a PVA bag full of SBS Multimix proactive pellets and catapulted 20 plus boilies around the hook baits.

No action from the rods before I dozed off but my Batbox sounded like an orchestra as numerous common pipistrelles, some flying just inches away from me, produced a lovely sound. The next morning, at first light I was listening to (and watching) a couple of noctule bats.

The first fish on my syndicate water

But the only action on the rods came at 4.00am as I had a run on one of them. It took me into some dense weed, but eventually I got it out by leaving it to swim free itself, as I couldn’t get it to budge otherwise. It wasn’t a carp though but a tench. Never mind, at least I wasn’t a blanker! The next night was a case of Groundhog Day as I again had just the one fish – an early morning tench. This one was right at the death as I was packing away.

One carp in four syndicate sessions

The third night on the trot saw me returning to the venue but this time not even a tench was tempted. However, after talking with some of the other syndicate members I wasn’t alone in my struggles. Blanks were the order of the day. Not that we find comfort in the misfortune of others but it certainly brings everything into perspective. To the point where two tench in three sessions was quite good – that’s how much of a struggle it was.

Always up for a challenge though, I wanted a final crack at the venue to round the article off. So, heading for the lake late evening I set up and once more settled back on my bedchair waiting for some action. The only excitement I had though as darkness fell was picking up some noctules on my Batbox. And after I listened to them and the common pipistrelles for a while, I dozed off in the mild weather.

M1 12mm – small but effective

Already awake, it was 4.00am when the hanger on the left rod shot up to the butt and emitted a single beep. It didn’t develop any further but I needed to bring everything in after that, so I lifted the rod. And on the end I felt a fish. It had gone into weed, hence the run didn’t materialise. After a little coaxing it eventually came out and within minutes I had it in the net, on the mat and in front of the camera.

Another shot of the syndicate mirror

With three other anglers on the venue all night I was the only one that caught, so that shows just how hard the going has been. The fish succumbed to one and a half 12mm M1 boilies popped up. I thought I’d try something different and it worked. Did it work because it was different? Or would I have caught anyway? The reality is I will never know. And that’s the beauty of fishing isn’t it. The mystery of the unknown. (article published July 21 2012)


Check out my Angling Journal website for a weekly article going back to July 2003. If you’re on facebook then like my page and follow me on twitter. I tweet updates from the water’s edge, along with other stuff. And you can view the latest videos on my YouTube site. If you like this article then why not share it? If you do, thanks!

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