The cooling wind felt heavenly as it whipped along the valley across the pool and straight into my face. Every gust that broke over me helped towards clearing the fuzz from my head that had developed in the four hours preceding dawn where I'd flitted in and out of consciousness. Still though I was only half awake, not that it made much difference as the fish hadn't turned up onto my bait as yet, so I just sat in a trance looking at the float but not looking, if you know what I mean. I was however about to get the waking up I needed to kick start my morning...
My florescent orange tipped pole float did a little pirouette and rose from the water showing it's shoulder a little as if some of the shot had just fallen off the line. Anyone looking would have seen a visibly perplexed twist to my face, but that wasn't really my fault as my brain wasn't totally in gear as yet. In my fuddled state it never occurred to me that the reason my float seemed to be looking like a three year old had shot it was that something big was below lifting it up. Still dazed and confused I watched it move a foot left to right before lifting the pole clumsily straight up. But the only thing that happened was the expensive elastic pulled out in resistance to what I thought was the bottom.
"Ahh F#^*!.......Oh F#^*! it's moving"
Truly I never expect there to be any particularity big fish swimming around in commercial lakes. I know when the owner pitches them to prospective customers there's always a thirty that ain't been caught since it went in, or plenty of twenty's if you can catch them, but I always take this information with a pinch of salt. Mind you when you're fishing for big perch and not carp anything becomes a bother in light gear and the fish I was attached to was, in my opinion, a little bit on the big side for pole fishing.
There was no heroic playing of an unseen beast on my part; it was more like a hung over giant gnome clinging onto five meters of pole whilst a couple of meters of high-tech hydro elastic did all the work. Mind, the fish wasn't giving it the big one either; it too seemed to be in just as much as a daze as me and just plodded around like a huge wet sack. For a while I wondered if I might have have hooked a galactic record bream of fifty pounds or more, until I saw something in the water which indicated the fish was commonly weird.
It was a bit of a squeeze to force it into my net but it did just fit. Looking down into the net I was now fully awake, my head was clear but my eyes were struggling to comprehend what was the whitest carp I have ever seen. Turned out the camera couldn't comprehend it either in the early morning light as on every attempt to do a self take using the auto timer my camera went into full metal spastic. I could actually hear the lens focusing in and out unable to decide on where to stop. After a few attempts the fish was not having any of it, and after ending up with an upside down white ghost koi slapping me in the face I wanted no more of it either. This was the best of a bad bunch but it certainly gets across exactly how white this weirdo was.
I should have know there and then as I slipped back that double figure ghost that it was going to be one of those days where the perch wouldn't get a look in, and why shouldn't it have been one either? The previous weeks drop in temperature had been reversed and even with that bit of wind it was hovering into mid teens even early in the morning. This was probably a day when I should have gone barbel fishing, but honestly right now I don't feel inclined that way. So here I was, sitting on the edge of a lake capable of producing huge nets of carp, trying to catch big perch in conditions when every instinct is telling the carp that now is the time to fill up ready for winter. Six roach and few skimmers later I caught myself that most ubiquitous of summer fish, a crucian, and further proved the point.
After that I should have gone home I think. But instead I thought maybe, just maybe, I could buck the trend or fish through the numbers and sort out a monster perch. No, no, no; I was very wrong. Feeding harder just brought the carp on the feed and holding off on the bait after they had mopped up just meant no bites, so I found myself in a difficult place. With only a hour or more left to fish I conceded to just have a good time with the time I had left and took on the guise of a match angler feeding regularly and striking all bites. It paid off and in that last hour I put five more carp on the bank along with a mess of good roach and two small tench.
The last and final fish of the day was quite nearly as freaky as the first. This would have literally been one of the best looking fish I have ever caught if it wasn't for the bulging set of bug eyes it had. Other than that it was stunning with its complete covering of apple slice mirror scales and rich golden flanks. What this stunner was doing in a man made hole in the ground was anyone's guess.
I think I would like to see a few more frosts adorning my car before I go rushing back to fish this venue after perch again, as it will be a while before all those freaky carps get the message from mother nature to slow down and rest up till next year.