Rewarded for my dedication (Carp, entry 523)

Although I fish a lot, and certainly far more than the average angler, I still find it difficult to fit in everything I want to do. With my piscatorial plans based pretty much around whatever rises to the top of my thoughts, this week it’s the turn of carp to grab my attention. With a number of sessions planned, it was a short morning one on a lake I kicked off with.

If you read my Angling Journal regularly you will know I’m a big fan of SBS’s corn-shaped popper boilies for bream and tench. You will also be aware that I use them for carp, and it was three of them popped up above a size 7 Big T Raptor that did the business with the fish below. I thought I’d try a slightly different trophy shot as well, after all a change is as good as a rest.

A small common, the first fish of the week
A small common, the first fish of the week

It was the only fish I netted, although I did drop one earlier in weed. When you lose a fish the perfect antidote is to get one on the bank. Just the one carp, and not big at that, but at least I wasn’t a blanker. I then made my first visit to my local canal in what seems like ages, but in effect is just a few months.

With my alarm set for 3.00am I still only had three hours before the first boat came through. One of those tough stretches where I get one fish every four visits, I had a screamer that was sadly followed, a few seconds later, by a hook-pull. I’ve never had more than one per session on that section and although it proves my corn poppers work, I ended it with a blank.

My camera phone to the rescue
My camera phone to the rescue

Out on the bank again, my third visit was to the debut lake that featured in my recent tench session. I had a couple of carp in an early morning spell. However, on getting my camera ready, as I hit the ‘on’ button, I was greeted by ‘Camera Battery Exhausted’ flashing across the screen. Although I had checked the camera previously, the icon wasn’t as full as it was telling me

I had taken a few other photographs and they had obviously drained the battery. Still, I got one of the fish on the mat with the bait alongside it. I was just glad it wasn’t a 30lb’er I was getting a limited shot of, that’s all. My next outing was another short one, this time a late afternoon up to dark session. I ended up with one fish, and that’s it below.

A dusk carp on session four
A dusk carp on session four

After the four short trips I decided to round the week off with a two-night job. Whenever I do those sort of sessions I always end up with a mountain of gear. It’s all stuff I need as well, in fact if I went for a month I wouldn’t take any more tackle, just food and bait that’s all.

Now my kids have grown up there is more room in the car when my wife and I go on vacation for a week than when I go fishing for a few days! It was a very hot afternoon as I arrived, and apart from the inevitable fall of temperature during the nights, if anything it got hotter.

A mountain of gear
A mountain of gear

As a lover of British nature, the first thing I noticed were the enormous leaves of the water dock growing in the margins. We have a variety of docks that grow in the UK, and while they are considered weeds by the vast majority of people, to me they are a valid part of our natural economy. There were also yellow iris and water forget-me-knot in bloom as well.

The dense bank-side vegetation was home to both sedge and reed warblers, with reed buntings also in attendance. The highlight of my bird species though were a pair of oystercatcher. That’s seven central Midlands venues I’ve seen them on so far this year. They’re not rare birds but to see them so far inland is always good.

Water dock in the margins
Water dock in the margins

Intending to put out some sweetcorn, I used the new SBS Flumino groundbait as the carrier. Each pack comes with boilies and booster liquid, as well as groundbait mixer. First impressions were good and I catapulted several balls out to an area about 40-50 metres in four metres of water. One on rod I fished 3x corn-shaped boilies, on the other 2x 12mm M2 – both popped-up.

Leads were 1.5oz, hooks were size 7 Big T Raptor and the hook-length was Korda Supernatural. For years I fished with Drennan Carp Dacron but after finding it hard to come by, I switched to the Korda product, and have been happy with it. I’m certainly not against trying new stuff but very much work on a ‘If it’s not broken don’t fix it’ basis.

Flumino groundbait and mixer
Flumino groundbait and mixer

Very hopeful of landing a few fish I blanked on the first night. I was surprised really, and that continued right through the next day and the second night. I thought I’d at least catch a tench or two, but no, nothing. That is until the final morning as I was thinking about packing away. I had a screamer on the corn-poppers and that’s the fish below.

Not that we are in competition with anyone but sometimes it’s nice to know what’s been caught so we can get perspective on our own catches. I had no knowledge of the first night but on the second, five other anglers caught just two tench and one carp between them. So my one mirror wasn’t such a bad result after all

Rewarded for my dedication
Rewarded for my dedication

Two nights and one fish right at the end – at least I was rewarded for my dedication. Sometimes it is a struggle and it might just be one fish that makes the difference, which is why we should never give in. By the time I was driving away from the venue the sun was bright in the sky as the sizzling summer continued. This time last year we were suffering floods of a biblical proportion. The British weather eh! (Published July 20 2013)

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