I often refer to having a certain piscatorial-related ‘head’ on, for example my perch head or barbel head. The point I am making of course is that I’m focused on a particular species. I always fish better and am more successful when I’m tuned in to one fish as opposed to casting out and catching whatever turns up. Nothing wrong with that style of course, just that it’s not mine.
And as the title of this week’s piece implies, it was my carp head that I fixed on my shoulders as I looked ahead. Although I fish for all species, I also prefer to have mini-campaigns as opposed to being all over the place. Well maybe campaign is probably too strong a word, but the word ‘mini’ puts it in a realistic place.
My week started on the local canal on Saturday evening. Just three hours and hardly wall-to-wall carp, but unless you’re fishing then you’ll never catch. I had a few liners (not necessarily from carp) and a few plucks on the pop-up (from smaller species) and that was that.
I’d already worked out my line of attack from a bait perspective for the week and it revolved around a 14mm lobworm pop-up. Soaked in dip and fished over a method mix and loose boilies I was confident of good things to come. I like the lobworm boilie, particularly as an autumn bait.
I was going back to the canal on Sunday evening but a change of plan saw me head to a lake instead for an overnighter. I had the place to myself and apart from casting further, in this case 50-60 metres, everything was as per the canal.
And talking of casting it was the first time I had tackled a larger venue with my new Classic rods from Rock Tackle. Used to my old Daiwa Powermesh, the first cast took me well beyond where I normally hit with the same amount of power in the chuck. I had to hold back with the second rod!
You can see the lead set-up in the photograph above and as the caption says, it’s simple and safe. Held in place by a Drennan grippa stop the 5mm bead and Greys top rubber will give way in the unlikely event of a break on the mainline.
With darkness well and truly set by the time I had finally got everything sorted, I settled back and waited. The nature-scene on the venue is great and as well as watching and listening to common pipistrelles and daubenton’s I was also observing white-clawed crayfish in the margins.
But the fish, in spite of lots of crashing going on, weren’t playing the game I wanted them to. As darkness gave way to first light which in turn became daylight proper it was time to go home. But as I was beginning the process of breaking down, the right-hand rod came alive. A few minutes later and I’m a happy camper. Result!
I was eager to get back on the lake, but had to wait until Tuesday as I had a football game to play in first. So while Monday saw me on the pitch, twenty-four hours later I’m on the bank. I got set-up and settled back just as late dusk took hold.
It was a quiet night, so much so that by the time I packed away I was up and ready to face the day ahead. In fact I was showered and at my desk not long after 8.00am. The lake was like a piscatorial cemetery during the night. it appeared as if it were devoid of fish!
But I wasn’t discouraged in the slightest. It’s not a runs water and anyone who fishes these kind of places knows exactly what I’m talking about when I say blanks are the norm and part of the journey. I was back again on Wednesday night!
What a night it was as well: wet, windy and chilly, with the air temperature forecast to hit a low of 2C. But that didn’t matter because at 1.00am I lifted into a fish that felt like one of the bigger ones in the lake. I brought it in and then 2 lengths out – hook pull. Say no more!
Losing a good fish will either make you or break you. I was out for the next two nights! And what a downturn in conditions we saw. With the first frosts of the autumn it was a foretaste of what’s to come over the next few months.
The first night I blanked but on the second (I returned home in-between to work) I had a screamer. Maybe I was playing it gingerly, not wanting to lose it, but I was convinced it was a carp as it fought really well. It was a tench, and not a big one at that! But at least I had avoided another blank!
In spite of my lack of significant action my carp head just wouldn’t budge from my shoulders, so my week spilled over into the next one. And with three sessions on the venue, all overnighters, you’d have thought I’d catch something. But I had absolutely nothing. Mind you, one of the other syndicate members told me that not one fish had been out in the previous eight days.
I knew it had been hard going from the general conversations I’d had in the car park and on the bank. Sometimes it’s just like that. At least you know it isn’t you. It’s when everyone else is amongst the fish and you’re the only one blanking that you have to get really concerned.
I still enjoyed myself though and that’s what it’s all about. In with the videos from the week is England Ladies International Sammie Perkins sharing a few thoughts on carp fishing. And on the nature front, on my final session, while it was still light I spotted a daubenton’s bat feeding over the lake. It was mobbed by black headed gulls and although I didn’t manage to capture that on film, apart from one bird swooping close, it was great to get some footage.
I love British wildlife and although I’ve seen the African Big Five in their natural environment, I still get a real buzz from our own natural world here in the British Isles. For me, particularly with the style of angling I do, being out and about and seeing it all as part of a big package is truly enriching.
And finally, as the caption above states: Mr Crabtree – a true legend! And as you’re no doubt aware – and if you’re not the image makes it clear! – that the book is now available for order. What’s that got to do with me? Well, I’m one of the official affiliates, which means if you buy the book via the link on my website (see below) I get the commission. And if that sounds like I’m out to make money (and there’s nothing wrong with that of course) then yes I am. But the difference is I’m giving all my commission to the Registered Charity I run that works mostly in Africa. So if you do get the book via my site, thank you! (article published October 20 2012)
My angling site, updated every week since July 2003 HERE
This week’s videos:
Carp fishing tips HERE
Sammie Perkins on carp fishing. Match v specimen HERE
Daubenton’s bat in daylight flight HERE