I was all alone as I crept along the causeway which intersects the lakes, not one other angler was present and neither was the owner John, who I had passed leaving as I arrived. We have known each other for so many years now that he has no problems entrusting the keys to the fishery to me and leaving me alone for the evening.
For the time of year it was relatively quiet on both pools. The constantly bickering Canadian geese were off in the farmers fields risking their necks to steal fresh shoots for a pre-roost snack. As for the other avian occupants of the trees, it was a little hard to hear their calls due to the remnants of the strong south west wind still howling through the trees that make up the spinney that surrounds the lake. But it was that wind that had drawn me to the causeway as I knew that's where the last warm rays of the days sun would fall, warming the water as it did.
As approached the first of the three snaggy areas I was headed for, I spotted two dark shapes sink slowly into the ripple and out into the lake. Maybe my presence had sent them off, maybe my stalking skills were a bit rusty after a few years away from such malarkey's. With only a bag of freebies in hand I stopped anyway to scatter a few sparing handfuls just off the snag hoping there may be a few unseen fish lingering around. Through my polarised lenses I could see the free baits slowly sinking out of sight. As the second handful sank, a shoal of rudd came firing through the falling baits, jerkily grabbing them as they. It must have been warming up if they were feeding so high in the water.
The next spot showed not so much as a oily swirl as I sneaked in. I watched for a few minutes before again baiting close enough to fish but not so close as I couldn't cast, before moving onto my third and favourite spot. What I found was exactly what I wanted. I believe on all lakes and ponds there is a quiet corner that is so often ignored and it is in that corner that more often than not that any flotsam and scum collects. On this woodland lake that scum line means guaranteed carp.
I walked purposely slow as I neared this last intend spot and as I did my eyes bugled so much I swear the polaroids raised off my nose a little. In amongst the skeletal branches basking in the sun were twenty or more carp of every shape and size. This was going to be tricky with so many fish in such a small area! So to start with I took a chance a flicked three or four floaters into the ripple and let them ride naturally in on the ripple just in case they might take some floating bait. Every freebie floated straight over their heads and into the scum unnoticed. Next a few grains of corn were plopped amongst them, which did not go down well at all, sending a quarter of the fish flying out into the lake. After racking my brain and delving deep into my bag I found the small bag of micro pellets which I had been meaning to put back into the shed for ages. They hardly made a sound as they hit the surface then slowly sank. Some even rolled over bodies of the fish they were meant to attract. By the third handful something happened I have never seen. In total unison the remaining fifteen or so carp sank like submarines. They did not move backwards or dip their heads, they just sank out of sight.
Leaning against the old fence I could see all three swims. In the first the carp had seemingly gone, in the second nothing had been there in the first lace but in the third and my favourite, the water had begun to bubble like a cauldron. I tried to leave it alone but the temptation was just too much. A bait had to go in! A large pinch of bread which had been shaken up in the now empty pellet bag was flicked over the spot and drawn back across the surface. The float slid across the surface stopping a few inches shy of cocking Sitting on the floor with the rod held firm in one hand and resting across my leg I pulled tension into the line with my free hand.
The instant that float cocked it began dancing like a dervish. Those carp were on that bait like tramps on chips and it was instantly clear that if I was not careful someone was getting foul hooked. Practically at the same time as I uttered those words to myself the float shot straight up before sliding off towards the back of the swim and I struck. The fish then paused as if thinking what to do before the reel screamed. In the first run it made it to the opposite bank before turning and tracking the bank straight back, crashing right through all the still feeding fish sending them flying in all directions.
The carp in this lake are a real mixed bunch and could never be described as thoroughbreds They have come to ether in dribs and drabs over many years. Some have been rescue jobs from other lakes, others are born and bred but one thing always remains certain, you never know what sort of carp had taken your bait and this rang very true when the charging fish had calm down enough to find its way into the folds of my net.
I always try to walk away from where I have just caught a fish like this and to all intents and purposes I should have gone off a tried one of the other two spots, if only just to give this one a break. However the water was still bubbling away as carp snuffled around in the snag sucking up the tiny pellets that were provoking their scent glands. Maybe the first charging fish had thinned out their ranks, but when I repeated the routine of casting over the spot and drawing the bait back the float this time hardly danced at all when under tension.
Everything had settled down nicely. Regular bubbles still broke the surface but the float was motionless. I was comfortable sitting aside the still barren bush. A tree creeper had just appeared on the trunk of a tree about ten feet to my left and it was as I watched it moving up the tree that I felt the line in my left hand tension slightly My float was gone and the fish was off! I had not even got half a strike in before the reel sang its beautiful tune. This was exactly what I had been dreaming of during all those cold dark nights of winter. Screaming reels, floats sliding under and rods bending as if attached to ships. I could not help but smile inanely as I was in pure heaven. Then a pug nosed liner beauty made me even more happy.
I could not help but revel in the joy that was being in the right place at the right time. Two more smaller hard fighting commons and a rouge chub snaffled my bread baits from under the snag before what I thought was a tench took my bait. I will never know truly what it was as it threw the hook as its dark back broke the surface.
After that I had to leave the swim alone as six fish had smashed it up and the carp seemed to have been spooked away. Half an hour fruitless fishing in each of the of the other swims had me considering heading home, but I could not resist one last cast back in the original spot and I am glad I did go back.
The sun had disappeared behind the horizon and now the air temperature was dropping rapidly. Occasional bubbles still broke the surface around my float. I had not had one single indication of anything around my bait but I knew one or two stragglers still mooched around looking for leftovers. Then it came, the most perfect bite so far. The float bobbed once sending circular ripples out over the now still water, then jerkily the float rose clear of the water falling backwards. The fish then tuned and the float slid on its side across the surface before half cocking and sliding out of sight attached to this last but perfect chunky common.
It had been a sublime start to a summers carp fishing, exactly what I was dreaming it would be and now I can't wait to go again next week if the weather stays nice and warm.