NAA Stillwater, Warwicks, Sunday 17th May 2015.
Another foray into fishing lakes. I had planned to visit the vintage tackle fair at Redditch today but a change of plan meant that I was in Devon over the weekend and couldn’t really arrange things to be at the fair early. Probably just as well, last time I went to one of these events (my first) I took plastic naively thinking that I’d be able to buy stuff, no chance, it was cash or no sale. So this time I had cash and it was burning a big hole in my pocket, perhaps it was best that I couldn’t be there to spend it.
An afternoon arrival home was met with the usual guilt trip about chores needing doing and dinner needing planning but once the tedium was dealt with I had free reign. Half a pint of unemployed maggots were in my fridge and a fresh loaf could be picked up en-route to the lake so off I went. Choosing between bamboo and carbon took no time (really, there wasn’t a choice) but tactics were a different matter. I remember this lake as being a good place to catch small perch and roach on maggot all day long but it hasn’t been like that this year. That’s what I wanted to do though, I did try the Polaris float and ‘conventional’ ledgering for a good while with not so much as a sucked maggot to show for it. Where have all those fish gone?
Plan B was to try for carp off the surface, some fish were showing but not in big numbers and they were mostly out of range. If I couldn’t cast to them I’d have to put the bread where they might come along and hope they’d find it, this approach was partially successful, carp found my bait but they were very wary. It was while I was watching them nose the bread that I heard a big slurp at my feet. Some crust that I’d casually dropped in after baiting my hook was being taken by a common carp, it would eat the bread and then swim off to a nearby bush, after a couple of minutes it would come back.
I gently wound in until my hookbait was quite literally a couple of feet from the bank and then opened the reel’s bail arm, at that proximity I didn’t want instant contact. It wasn’t long before the fish came back and started mooching about, it looked quite broad and I did wonder whether I was doing the right thing but happily observed the ritual of inspect, test and then commit. It was fascinating to watch the fish take the bait at such close quarters, then a mild state of panic set in as the first surge had the reel screaming. I couldn’t do anything about it so just put as big a bend in the rod as I dare and let the reel give line when it needed to. We swapped yards for the next ten minutes but gradually I started to gain more than I lost until eventually the fish was under my rod tip hugging the bottom. A little pressure got it up in the water and after a couple mini surges when it saw me I finally slipped the net under a very nice 15lb 9oz common, I think this is the second largest carp I’ve ever caught.
Luckily somebody was on hand to take a pic so here’s one with me in it for a change,