I had, up until the other day, for some reason been working on the premise that this was a 53 week year. Why it is that I should have added this extra week I don't exactly know...maybe it was just wishful thinking! Anyway I had it in my head that I had an extra weekend prior to the mother’s day weekend and had been making plans to go tench fishing, when in actual fact I was fully booked to firstly work like a dog on Saturday covering for my boss and secondly to go out for dinner with my mother, family and Grandmother. The latter of who would never forgive me if I welched on this dinner date.
So my plans to hunt tench were sunk like the Belgrano, and thus I found myself in that situation we all find ourselves in from time to time and was racking my brain as to where exactly I could cram in a short fishing session during an otherwise busy weekend. My one ray of light was that the clocks went forward with the archaic but still used daylight saving time. For once I was actually glad we still do this in England as it would enable me to go out with the family and still be able to fish right up until eight o'clock at night.
I might have in reality had time for a quick tench session but really I didn't want my first go to be so rushed as I would like to savour a good six or more hours scanning a pit for bubbly signs. So instead I took the opportunity to go out and test one of my latest acquisitions. A few weeks ago at the Midland carp and course spectacular I purchased a nine foot NASH dwarf rod. For anyone who is not aware of these rods, they are part of a very clever range NASH has come up with. Rather than a standard twelve foot carp rod that comes in two sections they are nine foot rods that still come in two sections, but the top section is three and half feet long as is the butt section, but then butt section is telescopic and once extended takes the whole blank up to nine feet.
When I first saw this new range of rods the idea alone seemed very attractive. Then I saw one in the local tackle shop and they looked just like a slightly shrunken carp rod. But when I found them on sale at the tackle show for forty quid there was no questions any more. I'd been looking for a stalking rod just to keep in my quiver full time just in case and given the tiny amount of space this rod takes up it was a done deal.
I am lucky enough to fish on a pool which holds a decent head of carp. Now they don't grow massive in this pool and they are a right mongrel bunch truth told. But somewhere in the past of this pool it has either had a population of wild carp or had a bunch of wild carp added to it. Now it's a really odd feeling when you've had a run of flabby mirrors or feisty commons then out of the blue you hook something that tears line off your reel like the shark in the film jaws. You end up fighting them for ages then a long thin common with a mouth you could cram a scotch egg in rolls into your net and it's maybe only four pounds.
So with my new toy in hand I toddled off into the woods to see what this new rod was made of. After pre baiting a favourite quite corner I did the obligatory lap of the pool trying to spot any fish. As expected in the scum line on the back of the wind I found a very large number of small carp hanging in the water. Even with twenty or more fish in front I me I wasn't tempted to go after them as they were really small. Moving onto another bank I found a massive patch of churned up water right in the margin. Watching it for a while I saw a few carp tracking the bank just beyond the cloud of muck. Then further along I spotted a second different group of fish moving on the same line just three feet off the bank maybe four feet down. This seemed just what I was looking for so I deposited a good helping of bait on two spots on the patrol route and headed back for my gear.
By the time I’d got back and slowly moved into position I could see at least two tails wafting temptingly under the surface. As I baited my hook ready to lower the free lined bait in I spotted another fish moving towards the feeding fish. I say spotted in a very tongue in cheek manner, as this fish could have been seen from space. In this pool along with the rest of the mongrels are three koi carp; one is a tiny white thing no more than two pounds, the second is an orange and black thing and the biggest is golden ghost koi. I watched it cruise towards the still feeding fish and just couldn't not chance letting my free lined bait flutter down in front of it. As the bait sank through the first three feet of water nothing happened but about a foot off the bottom the koi spotted it and surged towards the falling bait. I reckon the thought of missing it must have played a part here as the koi never even doubted whether it should take it. It sucked and I struck then fish flew in all directions, especially the golden bullet that was attached to my line.
The new rod felt amazing under pressure. It gave when it needed to and certainly had more than enough power to turn the rampaging fish away from the only snag in my proximity and to help this colourful christening fish into my waiting net.
|They don't come much more colourful than this!|
|And it did not want it's picture taken.|
|It really didn't want it's picture taken!!!|
One last top up with a final hand full of freebies inclined a couple small mirrors come up and began sucking any bait that had floated on the surface, so I knew there were fish in the area. I’d been kicking back in the grass watching the float for ages when it rose plumb out of the water before shooting of at an angle. I felt the pressure of the fish for a mere moment before the float flew over my left shoulder.
I reset the trap and went back to staring. At first I had thought I'd fluffed it up but them as I was replying to a text message I'd just received the float bobbed a little warning me of a carp in close proximity to my line. This time I was poised and ready when the float lifted slowly and fell to one side. I purposely waited for the float to slide away which it finally did. When I lifted the rod all hell broke loose as the fish shot out of the corner at a hundred miles an hour. The clutch was screaming exactly the right tune and this had to be what I had come for.
Every time I gained a little line the fish tore twice as much back. The little dwarf rod did its job perfectly cushioning the savage runs of the hard fighting fish. Just as I thought the fish was about done it and it came into the bank it suddenly found a second wind and began diving at the base of a tree to my right. With a normal length rod the fish would of hand the rod bent back on itself in this situation and I would of had to step back to regain control, but this angle was no problem for the dwarf. After an age of the fish banging around under my feet and one last charge into open water a huge mouth appeared on the surface. As the fish slid over the cord I got my first decent view of it and it was exactly what I was after a long lean torpedo of a carp.
Most of these wildie or hybrid carp in this pool average around three to four pounds. This one though was easily twice the average size and definitely the biggest of it's sort I've ever caught from this venue. It's size certainly makes me think it might well be a hybrid that has one parent that is a domesticated common carp and another which may well have been born wild. No matter what it's lineage was it certainly helped to confirmed how happy I am with my new dwarf stalking rod.