April had been kind to me carp wise, despite the weather being far from ideal with often bright days then frosty nights. I had alternated my angling between 3 different venues which all required a differing type of approach. I had caught from each and ended the month on the ‘Paradise Pit’ where I intended to start May off on.
As always, the month of May began with a Bank Holiday. It is nice that anglers are awarded bank holiday’s and I certainly intended to make the most of the extra day given us.
I arrived on the Friday and not knowing how busy the venue would become over the weekend I chose a swim for the duration, rather than where I had spotted some fish. I wanted to be somewhere that gave options or fishing other areas/features without moving swims should my first choices prove wrong.
So it was around to ‘Shaun’s Point’. Now I must point out that I never named the swim, and it always feels odd when I refer to it. I never know whether to call it ‘My Point’, ‘Shaun’s Point’ or whatever. I guess I should just feel honoured that a swim is named after me. It is not the first one though as Murphy’s Pit had a swim and a bay named after me after I started to spend a fair bit of time there. It was ‘Harrison’s’ in ‘Harrison’s Bay’. I wonder if it still carries the name, I have not been there for many years now?
Upon reflection, it would be nice to visit Murphy’s again and see how all the trees got on that I planted during my time there.
Anyway, back to my first session of the month. I had a decent amount of water in front of me but purposely kept the 3 lines short to hopefully give the carp plenty of water without lines draping through them. I aimed to have the quietest water in front of me for the carp to retreat to should it become busy. This is a tactic that has worked so well for me on so many different venues over the years. Drag them in under false security and then catch them out.
Well I can honestly say I simply camped and cooked for a couple of days whilst I watched what the carp were doing and by Monday with a few in front of me I thought it time to surprise them with a longer line. I had been fishing with straight out the bag bottom baits, which is my usual go to approach, but was having the inner mind keep pestering me telling me to put a pop-up on. It’s very rare I use pop-ups, but in the end, I gave in and put out a washed out pink Rahja one out there.
The rain was almost constant but choosing not to use the bed chair this session I had loads of bivvy space.
I dislike sitting sideways on a bed chair and tend to only use them to sleep on. The banks here are flat, so a bed chair isn’t particularly needed. It’s just a habit for me to reach for the heavy cumbersome bed chair. I have used Thermarest self-inflating mats for most of this century for various jobs. I use them in place of the mattresses that come with the bed chairs (lighter, comfier and warmer than normal bed chair mattresses), I use one folded into the Trekker harness as a chair. I used them instead of the bed chair for a while on the wooden staging back in my Mangrove days. Let’s face it, if mountaineers choose them to keep them comfortable (and alive) then they are more than adequate for a carp angler to sleep on.
I had a visit from Tony the head bailiff who came delivering gifts (thanks Tony). I was just telling him I had not had any action when the right-hand tip pulled around and the ECU alarm gave its sweet call. It was the washed-out pink pop-up that had been taken. I tightened into it and the fish began to kite fast to the right. I turned to Tony and said...
“You know what, I think I’ve got another tench on”. The last trip had produced the first one I had seen on the bank here in 7 years. It was quite close before I was able to bend the rod right into it and then realised, I had possibly made a mistake in my tench prediction, much to Tony’s amusement.
It seemed to grow even more as it slid over the net and looking down on it resting in the net, I could see a rather fat lady who liked pink a little bit too much for her own good.
It was a nice start to another new month. Photo’s done, Tony gone and rod back out there at a different angle as a good fish showed as I was about to re-cast. I sat under the brolly feeling quite smug that I’d outwitted another of the Paradise Pit fish and with my eyes glued to the recast rod, I was rather surprised to see the left-hand tip whip around as a fish had finally been tempted to pick up the Rock Pool Rahja bottom bait. This one fought much harder than the common and gave a great tussle, but the 12’ 6” 3.25 Hi ‘S’ won yet another battle as a gorgeous looking mirror slipped into the net. These fish are usually quite dark in colour, but the pit had been flooded for months and had coloured up with the river running through it, so the carp at present are quite pale. Some do not seem to realise that the carp change colour very quickly, it is nature’s way of camouflage.
I had to set the mobile phone up under the umbrella to be able to picture this one in the pouring rain. I felt that contented after the mirror, that I decided not to recast the rod and in fact packed up and left for home. I decided it would make a pleasant change unloading the Land Rover in the daylight hours.
It had been a pleasing start to the month but then work party commitments started to coincide with my angling time. I always try and attend work parties, although it does become a bind when you are a member of several different waters. I have had some years where I have been on work party duty several weekends on the trot. With so many who seem to shy away from essential work, I feel obliged to do them. I have always said, the worst thing I was born with was a conscience.
I did manage to totally blank the next weekend I got out so I see little point in giving a blow-by-blow account. It just happened to be in a swim that I have never managed to catch a carp from in 7 years of fishing the place. It is an odd scenario, as I have managed to catch carp from all over the pit and others catch from this swim. But myself, I seem jinxed in the swim. There isn’t another swim on there that I have fished and never caught from. Perhaps I should leave it alone, but I am a stubborn git at times.
Next came the Carp Society 40th anniversary weekend where I had agreed to attend for book signing duties.
The Society’s latest book, ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, was being released that weekend. I had been asked to contribute a section to it, so I was keen to see how it had come out. There is always quite a gap between writing book chapters and seeing them finally appear. I had said to a couple of the contributors that I had forgotten which 12 pictures I had supplied and written about, so strangely enough, it was going to be a surprise to see my own contributions too.
This past year I have corresponded a fair bit with Mark Stockton of Aquaculture and Etang Cache. He has been setting up another business called Ibex Overland, based upon quality rugged outdoor gear.
This was an extension to the roof tents, camper pods and tyre tables etc he was already doing. With all my ‘outdoor cooking over real fire’ social media posts, I had attracted the attention of Mark and I was more than pleased to share my knowledge of different product that I have used over the years, guiding him towards what I consider to be the best I have used and equally as much, warning of other bits that have not lived up to my expectations. It has worked out nicely, as it has enabled me to discover more product outside of the angling trade sourced by Mark, but also helped Ibex Overland from taking routes they may have later regretted. So, where is this going to?
Mark had said he was showing some of his Aquaculture gear off at The Carp Society’s 40th anniversary as he had supplied a lot of equipment for the Society waters. He was also considering showing some of the Ibex Overland gear off too. I mentioned I was going to be there on book signing duty and before I knew it, I was finding myself agreeing to bivvying up for the weekend, showing off some of the gear I have used for years, which Ibex now have for sale under one roof.
You can email Ibex Overland at info[at]IbexOverland[dot]co[dot]uk for their free on-line catalogue whilst their new website is being worked upon. They do some great gear.
It also turned out that Mark’s brother Gary was going to be next door with his Phoenix Heroes stand, complete with a boat they were donating to The Carp Society. I had heard so much about the good work that Phoenix Heroes have done for veterans suffering from PTSD, that I was keen to meet the driving force. Veterans there for veterans.
Suffice to say I really enjoyed my weekend meeting up with old friends and making new friends along the way too. The Friday and Saturday night socials around our combined camps were most relaxing, with many tales told. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all who were there and thank them for their warm welcome and hospitality. I had not met any of them before.
Well, another month in my angling life has fizzled away with few captures this time, but a new one has now begun. Hopefully, I will manage to get the rods out a little more in this new month.
Best wishes as always
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