A week of rising temperatures had ended with a day of heavy rain turning the still swollen river Avon into something that looked like a tributary of the Amazon. But the better weather had opened up an opportunity for me to get back on the freshly thawed Ryton pool and have a go at some winter carp fishing. I could have gone piking but i have steered clear of piking on Ryton as the winter has gone on because i don't think there is a huge amount of pike in the pool, and they come under heavy angling pressure over the winter here.
Ryton can be a brick hard carp venue at the best of times but i was hopeful that the combination of a bit of sun and lack of natural food might tempt them into having a nibble. I arrived early and headed straight to the peg that might offer me the best opportunity of a hungry carp moving through. Now to most anglers winter carping might seem like total insanity, but lately i have done a fair bit of reading on the subject and the general thought is that carp are active and do still feed even in the worst of conditions, so with this in mind i set up a couple of rods on indicators with suitably light gear.
My plan of attack was clear in my mind even before i got there. One bait would be positioned near the food source that i believed would attract the fish, with a highly visible pop up bait so any scrounging fish might find it if they came in searching for a free meal. The other i would cast into different spots regularly with a fluro pop up to try and locate fish.
The morning passed with nothing more than a few random bleeps here and there from my indicators. Around 1pm the roaming rod began to get some attention after id cast to a new spot; finally after spending five minutes hovering over the rod the swinger dropped down enough for me to have a strike at it, which resulted in nothing.
I was considering a move to a shallow swim around the lake when i saw a carp swirl within twenty feet of my right hand rod, which gave me enough confidence to stick it out in this spot a bit longer. A short while later i couldn't believe my eyes as a bow wave appeared and a carp swam right in front of me. That was it i knew they were here and i would stick it out here for the rest of the session.
Everything had quietened down and i sat pouring a brew when the right hand indicator bleeped once, then bleeped again with confidence and then the swinger began to rise steadily up. By the time i got to the rod, line was pulling from the reel - a dream run at this time of year. I was well chuffed as bent into the fish. Instantly i knew it wasn't a big fish. From behind me i heard a man say "come and look kids the mans caught a fish!" Looking round he and his whole family were lined up on the high bank behind me watching. As i reeled it in i noticed the lack of fight and thought to myself it must be an unseasonal little tench. Once it neared the bank it began coming up quickly, then it clicked in my head just before it surfaced.
The gasps could be heard all over the lake as my audience saw it pop up.....
Not a tench, not a carp, but a small diving duck flapped around with my boilie hanging from it's beak. I went bright red with embarrassment, kids started sobbing "whats the man doing to the little ducky mommy" and dad dragged them all away whilst cursing me under his breath.
Lucky for both me and Mr ducky i was using strong enough tackle that it had no chance of snapping off. After a few failed attempts i got hold of it and was able to unhook it then check it was ok before releasing it unharmed. The little bugger went off as if nothing had happened, unlike me who felt rather bad about the whole incident.
I stuck around for a few more hours but got no more interest from either rods and eventually went home. Though this won't be the end of my winter carp campaign as i think i learnt a few things on this session that i can change next time that might turn those odd bleeps into a real runs.
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