I know that I’m a little late writing this, all was going well until I had a tick bury itself in me at the end of July and that put paid to a normal life for a bit. I’m now in my third week of not really being with it, but now forcing myself to at least try and tap a few words out. Basically, since all the swelling has gone, I have been left incredibly tired and struggling to focus on things. Even a walk up to the post box a little earlier, really took it out of me.
But for now, less of the tick and Lyme’s disease and see if I can take a look back into my July notes and transfer a few of the words over to here, hopefully including the odd little trick along the way as I try to with these blogs.
Saturday July 1st 2023
My usual tactics were producing, so there was really no need to change things there. Small leads for minimal disturbance, baiting mostly during the dark hours with the catapult whenever possible and a main feed of Rock Pool Rahja boilies, with just a sprinkling of other types to add colour and attractant variations and as little casting as possible.
Well, July was less than 1 1/2 hours old when the first carp slipped up, I had not long sprayed a little bait over the area, but as usual I kept that as just bait going in over rigs that had sat there for some time. I always try and keep the sound of bait well away from the sound of a lead going in, even with the relatively small leads I use. I will almost always start off with hook baits only for a little while before introducing freebies. So, the loose bait goes into a relatively undisturbed swim. It is a method that has always worked well for me anyway.
The carp that had homed in on the fresh bait hitting the surface without the alarm bell ringing lead going in, was a mirror with a huge tail that gave me quite a few anxious moments and had managed to impersonate a much bigger fish so well. I settled down into bed more than satisfied.
It was a real windy session and the carp had moved into my area big time in the morning with liners on my close in patch and a show from a particularly big fish. This is always a thing on this venue, trying to get on the right group of fish. I managed to push my average weight right up here by finding the bulk of the fish then setting up well away from them. Yes, it costs me quite a lot of fish, but the larger ones are rarely among the main group. After all, how many carp do you actually want to catch?
As happens, I had a visitor when I really didn’t want a visitor. Fortunately, I heard him approach so was able to warn him I was fishing real close and getting liners. He got the hint and kept back but still stayed in my swim chatting. Another couple of vicious liners whilst he was there showed him why I was on edge, it was just a matter of time before a carp made the mistake and picked the wrong bait up.
Eventually after I had sat there listening to all his doom, gloom and negativity towards most things that didn’t centre around his own fishing, he went to leave. Somehow upon standing up I can only presume that he got my landing net handle caught on his jacket which flipped it and promptly sent all three rods flying, moving my light leads in the process and forcing me into 3 new casts. That totally killed my swim for the rest of the day, the carp had been well and truly spooked. Dave started to say that the wind had caught the net. Funny that it had launched itself and my rods in the opposite direction though. I was not happy at all.
More than 24 hour later and they had not returned to my baited patch. An opportunity of a big fish ruined. It just goes to show though how in tune some of our carp are with disturbance. Even with a big wind they knew those leads had crashed back in.
Next trip was something different for me, it was a British Carp Study Group ‘Old Gits Outing’. The average age of the 7 of us who had attended was over 70! Yes, I was the youngster.
It was a trip that had been arranged a long while ago as we were having a shuffle around with the Steering Group with both our Treasurer and Chairman stepping aside at the then next A.G.M. Two of the other Steering Group members, the Fisheries Officer and the Secretary had put forward for the two roles so had to relinquish their roles first to be standing for election by the members at the following A.G.M. There was a point at that A.G.M. where I was the only one with an actual elected role. Fortunately, the others were elected to the roles they had gambled their previous roles for, so all was good and I wasn’t left with no back up for the other jobs. The reason for the outing was in case everything had gone upside down and basically a get together of the previous Steering Group, plus a couple of extras. There was also the hidden agenda of replicating a early B.C. S. G. shot for an ongoing project. A bit of a now and then, so it had to be at the same venue, with a similar back drop. Cuttle Mill. This was my first trip there in over 30 years. The only time I had fished it before, we were deep in snow.
We certainly weren’t deep in snow this trip, the air was real humid and hotter than you would choose for trying to catch a carp. But we were there and we were going to enjoy it. The couple of days went well and we all managed to catch carp, mine weren’t as large as I had hoped to catch, but I was pleased to have fish on both rods and again my simple spread bait with the catapult and smallish leads were good enough. A couple of my fish came quite quickly after casting, so it seemed they were not bothered by the subtle splashes. I did incorporate stringers to slow the decent of the lead in the shallow silty water. There was a big covering of surface scum which made casting quite awkward at times waiting for a clean line to get the line down into.
We spent as much time wound in socialising as we did fishing, but a great event, nonetheless. This had very much been a bonus session for me as it had been booked midweek, I did have to leave slightly early for an appointment, but I left proud, other than the fact I left a rather expensive pair of Serengeti polarised sunglasses in my swim. I rang, but obviously no-one had found them.
The following trip I had set off from home intending to drive over to ‘The Paradise Pit’, but only a few miles down the road I had a change of plan. I was feeling I needed to be somewhere else. I decided to call into the much busier Stobbart’s and see what swims were available. One that was free I fancied fishing, so that was it.
I did mess the swim up a little as a couple of my usual spots were weeded over, so more casting than I was happy about. I blanked the first night, I wasn’t surprised, but felt confident that the carp would drift back. It was just turning light the second morning and I had literally just got up and swung my legs out of bed when the line tightened, my rod tip started to bow down to the water and before anything else happened, I was playing a carp. It was a sluggish, long-drawn-out fight and the common I had been playing appeared to grow in size once netted. I was delighted with that one as the conditions had been tough.
I returned the following week but couldn’t get where I wanted to be. I chose a swim I don’t fish much as I have had the big one from it a couple of times. It is also one of those swims where you are rarely left alone, so I tend to give it a wide berth. It was absolutely hissing it down with rain when I arrived. So was a bit of a damp set up. It wasn’t cold, so what I tend to do is change into sacrificial shorts and t shirt and simply get on with setting up. Once I have a dry base, I get changed into dry clothes. The wet shirt and shorts go into a bucket to not make everything else damp and I’m away. I have long since stopped trying to set up in summer in waterproofs. It doesn’t matter how breathable they are, I still overheat and get clammy.
Saturday and finally I could move to the area I had wanted to be in. Quickly I packed down, loaded the barrow, set off down the bank, only to find a younger angler had been quicker and beat me to it. Rather than crowd him in I opted to leave a swim free and set up in the next one as those three are so close together.
Sunday morning my efforts were rewarded for a while only to pull the hook out of a nice mirror as it was just about beaten. Next, someone was setting up in the middle swim I had purposely left alone and proceeded to chuck leads next to mine. That was that session ruined too. The joys of busy venues.
Suffice to say, the next trip I went to the peace and quiet of The Paradise Pit and set myself up in ‘The View’, so named because it has such a beautiful view from it. It felt good to be back, away from all the anglers on Stobbart’s.
I landed a big tench, a nice roach and a glorious fully scaled mirror whilst there. One of those fully scaled fish with relatively small scales rather than the more common large saucers, which made the extra driving more than worthwhile. This fish had fallen to a widespread (try and catapult half boilies tight) of bait that had been filled with water before the trip to add a little extra weight. I had halved them as the weed is now quite pronounced and I wanted baits, safe baits caught up in it for obvious visuals.
The final trip of the month came and after watching our Lionesses beat Denmark in the World Cup knock out stage. I had planned to drive over to The Paradise Pit but thought I would drop in Stobbart’s en-route, saw a good fish and stayed where I was.
Just before midnight I was locked hard into battle with a big fish, I played it for ages and eventually I had it in the edge. It is rare I turn a light on whilst playing a fish but at one stage with it on the surface and hardly moving toward me I took the gamble of a quick look and there in front of me was one of the largest in the pit. I turned the light straight off it and carried on the fight with it circling around in the edge and obviously quite tired, I eased the net into position and started to manoeuvre it toward the net at the hook pulled!
I couldn’t believe it, I pull out of so few, yet I had pulled out of one a couple of trips back too. I had to try and convince myself that it was the original big common I had lost and not the new 50lb plus common.
I did catch a consolation prize shortly after first light, but my mind is still on the image I saw in the torchlight. I should never have had a look.
The following days I was struck down with Lymes disease which has wiped me out as touched upon at the start of this blog. I will write more about this next month if I reach next month that is. It’s horrible.
So, very much a mixed month, I managed to keep achieve a 100% success rate on the three different waters I fished, but it should have been a real special month had that last big fish stayed on a minute longer.
Best wishes as always.
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