My mind and all possible senses screamed to me that the fish I hooked on the drop shot just in front of that platform has to have been a carp! After all it surged off across the wind-whipped commercial pool like a marlin, and perch just don't do that do they? But there remains this niggle in my mind, fed by the sight of two regurgitated prawns spiralling slowly into the depths moments after the hook was thrown. I mean in all my years of fishing and catching literally thousands of the dammed things, I can never once recall seeing a carp vomit up food in a fight. Perch though... I can't count the amount of times I've seen worm and maggot floating around in swirled waters when playing perch. That's what is killing me, the sight of two sinking prawns, and the thought that if it was a perch on my line it was by far the biggest, heaviest and hardest fighting one I've ever encountered.
Really this was to be my last look at this pool. I'd fished it several times and apart from the plethora of mid to high twos, I'd only seen a glimpse of what I thought was a bigger fish. Sure, the rumour mills spat out stories of loads of threes and the odd four but in reality if that was the case one should have turned up by now, with me catching so many twos. Soon enough the New year would roll in and with it would arrive sheets of ice and hard frosts so I'd be off dace or pike fishing and I'd already made the decision to not come back.
So there I was on my last go in a new swim not getting any bites. I was the only angler fishing the big reed lined bay even though there were three others perch fishing up in the ever popular area by the island over the pool. Having never fished this area before I was drawn to it by the wind hammering into the bank where I was pitched up. But so far my hunch to fish this end of the lake was proving fruitless.
With my float motionless under the tree to my right it seemed the perfect time to begin exploring the open bay with the drop shot. After fan casting back and forth a few times over the bay I began to feel like I might be pissing in the wind trying to catch what was probably only handful of perch amongst a trillion other fish. It was around then that I spotted my float do a bob. Rod in hand I waited as the float sank away under the clear water. Satisfyingly my strike was met by head shaking not the dull mindless power of a winter carp and moments later a well marked long mid two perch lay on my unhooking mat.
That was one of only two bits of action I got all day. Sure the roach finally homed in on my severed worm but the random pecks translated to little more than ripples emanating from my chubber. I did still have my drop shot rod set up and even though I had little confidence in it actually hooking a fish after seeing how covered in leeches the perch was, I still endeavoured to make the effort and fish it as a second option.
With the wind beginning to cut through my layers of clothing I had retreated largely into my coat. As I watched the float bobbing in the ripple I held my drop shot on a shot line and bounced it up and down right in front of me. I really wasn't concentrating and that's why it took a while to process the hard thump that reverberated up my line. When I did figure out it was a fish I lifted the rod and whatever it was stripped easily thirty feet of line from the spool. Getting a handle on the situation and the fish, I applied pressure which turned the powerful fish around and got the upper hand. Then it shot towards the only other possible snag in the swim; my line! That was hauled out quick sharp as I tried to stop the fish going into some tree roots. Before I knew it the fish was back literally exactly where I hooked it where it banged around and threw my rig flying out of the water. I watched in horror as the water swirled in all directions and fish got away unseen. The only thing that remained was the sight of two prawns swirling down to the bottom after being ejected by the fish, just like my hook.
Sitting back on my seat I looked at the hook for signs of some fault by way of answer, but couldn't find one. After feeling such power I reasoned to myself that it had to have been a carp from the way it surged off. Those prawns though just didn't seem right... It couldn't have been could it... A massive perch... No, it had to be a carp. Please let it have been a carp...