Thursday, 21 February 2013

Double bluff, triple bluff, warzone.

It is seemingly always the case that when you go to a certain place to catch a specific fish, you inevitably end up catching every other species in the water other than the one you are actually trying to catch. A year or maybe two ago I went to a commercial lake in an attempt to catch a big perch, and on that occasion using only humble worms I landed well over a hundred pounds of plump carp, much to the annoyance of every one on the lake who trying to catch carp using some very specific baits. Not long after  I was discussing this topic with Jeff when he confirmed he too had encountered the similar situations and promptly proclaimed 'why do all these anglers go to these fishery and try and catch carp! they should go and try to catch perch then they'd catch carp!'. It was this sentiment that rang through my mind as I mulled over how to get my lined pulled during the weekend. 

I've been off the carp fishing for a few years now, but I feel a relapse is on the cards this year. So why not head off and try and get that first carp of the year under my belt by doing a spot of perch fishing on my mates woodland lake, and hell, if a big perch happened along, well I would just have to live with it wouldn't I.

My confidence that the double bluff would work was high, and why shouldn't it of been; every time I go perch fishing on a lake that contains carp they usually stick their nose in at some point. Only thing was that I did not predict the lake pulling a farcical triple bluff on me, leaving me agog.

You see I began fishing for perch to try and catch a carp, but couldn't seem to raise a bite from a carp whilst fishing for perch. So in the end I settled that a perch would do, so started trying to actually catch perch. But in trying to catch perch I instead caught chub. How chub got in the lake or equation I don't know, but it was chub that I caught. Five of them in fact and every one was long, cold and ever so thin.

The best was just over three pounds, but all were so long that if they were river fish two might have been five pounds right now.
I left not unhappy but slightly confused and pondering what I might need to do to catch a carp using this double or triple bluff technique. Maybe fishing for barbel or bream might catch me a carp! 

The 'chuble duff' wasn't to be my only session this weekend, as a previous date to fish a chalk stream had been called off and the day was still marked down for a spot of angling. So the day was duly used to go and check out a new fishery I fancied for something a little different.

Different it certainly was, which soon became apparent upon arrival at this seemingly war torn fishery....

Ascending the long rutted drive in a non four wheel drive was an experience alone but when we arrived at the parking the scene was really set.... on the edge of the car park amongst the rusting empty containers of various unidentified chemicals was a patch of burnt earth not that dissimilar to the shape of a human body. It was not that hard to imagine the blackened bones of a fallen resistance fighter filling that space. And we were only at the car park!!! 

As I scanned around the fishery it only seemed to get worse. A pair of mongrels bred of mongrels seemed to be picking at the scraps of god only knows what in the long grass to the left of the lake. What seemed like a tyre fire or barricade burnt constantly behind a sinister old building.

If an armoured Toyota Hilux loaded with militia men brandishing machine guns suddenly appeared on any of the random dirt tracks around, it would not of surprised me one bit. In fact I had my plan in place ready for such an occurrence, were I would simply offer Andy over as hostage or sexual slave, whichever they preferred, in exchange for my freedom and possibly a days fishing if they were prepared to throw that into the deal.

I love the smell of napalm when I'm fishing
The general feel of this fishery very nearly inspired me to call this post something along the line of 'The art of rebellion angling by John Conner'. Conversely the chap who came to meet us was a really nice bloke who could not of been more helpful really. He pointed us in the right direction, gave us the full low down on all recent captures and of what was in the lake.

Ready to have a few casts we made our way to a quiet corner of the lake and began unpacking our kit. About five minutes in a shot gun sounded from the next field; shots rang out intermittently throughout the rest of the day. Whoever was pulling the trigger was dug in hard and doing his very best to kill every living thing in that field.

Our nervous smiles had gone by dinner time and even with little action we were becoming quite amused by the herb fuelled antics of a couple of chaps over the lake. One seemed to chuck his feeder onto the island every time he cast out, the other, every time he hooked so much as tiny roach, let it run through his mates lines.

It must have been mid afternoon when the next strange occurrence unnerved the pair of us. From somewhere beyond the no mans land where the shot gun was still smoking, something let out a call neither of us had ever heard before in our lives. I mean I have heard just about every strange noise you can hear on a dark night fishing in the woods, but this sounded dreadful! It was a guttural sound that built up slowly into a shrieking gargle. It sounded neither human or animal for that matter. My best guess would be a human horse hybrid and not a cool mythical centaur way either, but the opposite way round,  like a humans body weighed down with a horses head, and this sounded like it did not deserve or want to be alive, locked awaya in whatever held it hopefully captive.

All day we waited, swapping between big pieces of meat and chunk of oily mackerel and herring hook baits, But not one sturgeon felt inclined to pick up our baits. One thing that did keep us going was the relatively regular liners we both seemed to be getting, which I have been lead to believe is a common occurrence whilst trying to catch these prehistoric beasts.

The water was very cold still and not much in the lake moved at all. In fact we did not see one single fish top all through the day. Then just as the sun sank towards the horizon the lake seemingly came alive and the wind dropped. Not long before this I took a shot in the dark by casting out a big worm and after only minutes of being in the water had garnered some interest, but not from what we sought. After loads of sharp and dropped runs a float rod I had with me was deployed and the culprits soon became evident. The lake as well as having a few sturgeon and load of carp was heavily populated with perch, which I would dare say are totally ignored by most anglers and were well up for an evening feeding session.

Even though we hung on till the very end as all anglers are prone too, that last bite never did come and we eventually left the war zone fishery. It might seem odd considering the atrocious conditions I have described but I really want to go back once it warms up a bit. I know I might not have painted it in the best light but something I can't quite put my finger on attracts me back. Though when I next go I might blend in a bit better if I were to bring half an ounce and an AK47 along with me for camouflage.


  1. It seemed like an eventful day, sometimes wish it were like that down here, add a little humour to the day, not sure though Andy would have agreed with your deal, somehow think he would come a lot more worse off lol!

  2. I always enjoy and like to the different species on your reports. Good work!

  3. I don't know what it is about that strip of land back of the canals between Tusses and Gypsy Lane — it's zombie zone where mortals fear to tread. Maybe it's electricity what turns it baad... makes freaks of fish, I know that. Lord knows what it does to the human psyche. Well, actually, I fish beneath those pylons once a week on average so I do have a clue about that...