Angling and the natural world – the perfect companions (Carp, entry 512)

With another nice day ahead, I got up early, had some office time and then set off for an afternoon’s carp fishing. It’s a pool I’ve never fished before, so that in itself is a challenge. But I was feeling confident and up for it. The pool itself has open banks with a short section containing overhanging common alder trees.

With vehicles already on the car park I was surprised that all the other anglers were fishing the featureless pegs. But I was thankful anyway as I set up in one of the corners. I flicked 2x10mm M2 boilies towards the trees, and the other rod which was 3x popped-up corn-shaped boilies, a little further away.

Fishing to a bank of common alder
Fishing to a bank of common alder

Pellets went out to both spots, with boilies and corn respectively to the relevant rods. It was the corn one that came to life after three hours or so, as line began to peel like there was no tomorrow. I was obviously into a carp. It didn’t feel massive but it certainly put up a determined fight, making several fresh runs as it came to the net.

Eventually though the net won and I got the fish on the bank. It was a carp in good condition which after a photograph, flicked its tail and went back to its watery home. A decent fish, but always remember, we can only catch what’s in the venue. And that’s how we should judge the term ‘specimen’. For some places a good carp may be 10lb, for others a 40 fits the bill.

The mirror on the bank
The mirror on the bank

The next outing was to a different pool, but on the same complex. It was a typical British spring day – one minute you’re taking off a layer of clothing because the sun is out and the next you’re putting it back on. As well as the bright spells, wind from the north brought hail. But I’m a great believer in the truth that you never catch sitting at home. Whatever the weather, just get on with it.

Hail on my unhooking mat
Hail on my unhooking mat

Even though we often find winter is not letting go without a fight at this time of the year, nature has truly woken up. I’ve already seen four species of butterflies and my garden pond has common frog, common toad and smooth newts in it after hibernation. We’ve even had our first frog spawn, which after numerous frog-less years is wonderful.

In case you aren’t aware there is a frog virus that has decimated the population. It’s great to see them back. I also saw – and heard – some on my fishing trip. Several flower species were also in bloom as well, including the primrose. There was just one clump on the bank behind me, but it stood out and looked very pretty.

A solitary clump of primrose
A solitary clump of primrose

But what about the fishing? There for an afternoon session, my left-hand rod (2x 10mm boilies) came alive about 5.00pm. A solid blue light on my alarm and line peeling told me it was a carp even before I struck. I had to be quick on the take as there was a good chance the fish would head instinctively for the root system and overhanging branches.

And that proved to be the case as we engaged in a no-yield battle for a few moments. But eventually the odds began to edge in my favour as the fish slowly lost ground. Once away from the tree it plodded around in open water beneath the rod tip, but that was fine as all it was doing was wearing itself out. The easy part was sliding it over the submerged net.

Tea-time fish on session two
Tea-time fish on session two

On the bank I took a couple of photos and then released it in the next swim. During the fight, whilst it was battling to get in the tree, I did feel some resistance as the line rubbed against something. So before casting again I checked for signs of weakness. As I pulled above the lead, the line snapped like cheap cotton. Checking your line on a regular basis is a good habit to get into.

You can see the spot I fished in the photograph below. It isn’t as bad as it looks as far as underwater snags are concerned but you still need to be alert and on the rod as soon as you get indication of a run. I had six-magnet wheels in my alarms, as opposed to my normal two when carp fishing. I was taking no chances.

The overhanging tree swim
The overhanging tree swim

To complete my carp fishing I again fished the same complex but a third pool. As I get asked quite a lot, ‘Where were you fishing?’, I’m sure a lot of brain cogs are going around trying to work out the location! Well, if you’re on my Facebook page I’ve posted a couple of photographs from there this week.

Rods out for session three
Rods out for session three

So how did the fishing go? Well, I ended the week with a blank. The alarms remained silent from start to finish. However, regardless of what I catch I always enjoy being out by the water. As a keen naturalist I’m always switched on to what’s around me. As you can see from the photograph below, there were marsh marigolds in bloom along the edge of the pool.

Prior to leaving home I had seen a goshawk high in flight over my garden. It was certainly my day for birds of prey as while fishing I saw two hobby attacking swallows! These sightings made the common buzzards and the male sparrowhawk seem quite ordinary! In addition at dusk I had six noctule bats feeding over the pool and a pipistrelle passed me as I walked to the car. Brilliant.

Marsh marigold in pool-side bloom
Marsh marigold in pool-side bloom

I haven’t put an angling video on YouTube for a while but I’m still getting five-figure views each month. I guess angling videos don’t age really, the content is still valid. I passed 920,000 views as well in the last few days, so certainly on track for a million this year. I think there’s some sort of potential there for a partnership! Got an angling-related business? Get in touch! (Published May 4 2013)

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