As with most best laid plans they rarely go the way we think and that has certainly been the way of 2017 for me. The beginning of the year was full of optimism and exciting dreams of holding up a scaly carp and chasing the old dark creatures which inhabit my new syndicate water. However, you could probably count the number of sessions I’ve had on your fingers and I have really struggled to find any time to really get my teeth into any sort of serious fishing due to family life and other commitments that needed to take priority.
For this blog I was going to give you the run down on my latest goings on, but as you can probably imagine it wouldn’t have lasted very long and most likely send you to sleep, so I thought a recap of the year would probably be a little more fitting. The fact that my blogging has been even less active than my fishing means I have actually got quite a bit to catch up on. From my very limited but successful time spent back on my local water, to sailing across the channel in search of a new life and big French fish, and my brief exploits on my new syndicate water which contains some seriously impressive carp – there’s a lot to cover!
Last year I vowed it would be the end of my park lake fishing and if I hadn’t caught my target then so be it. That was until unforeseen circumstances arose and very sharply put a halt to my plans. Usually I am very lucky and manage to get beside the water more often than most, and I had planned to use that time to target the incredible looking fish in my new syndicate. That time however was swiftly cut down and I found that during most weeks only the odd couple of hours here and there was all that I was going to manage. Now I didn’t really want to waste any time travelling to and from the syndicate and soon found myself back of the banks of my local park lake. With the big common still firmly set in my sights the game was on once more. It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be and when I did manage to find a bit more spare time then syndicate bound I would go, but for now it was feeding the fix and plans soon become to hatch.
The weather had begun to warm up and the carp were making the most of the sunshine by lounging around in the shallows. Most of the occasions that I found HER, she was sitting in clear view sunbathing without a care in the world. The problem was that she was hardly ever alone and I could almost guarantee that one of her bodyguards would be the first to the hookbait ruining my chances. One fish in particular that seemed to always be with her was the white tipped common, and I would often see just the two of them side by side away from the main shoals. The white tips is a lovely carp but one I have had the pleasure of catching, so when I have seen the big common in the area and the rod rattles off resulting in the white tips I know how close I had come. Yet again it just wasn’t to be and the fact this has now happened on multiple occasions really does become a little frustrating. With limited time I knew I had to try and tip the odds in my favour. I knew where the majority of the fish were spending their time so I decided to start trickling in some bait on certain spots that most would overlook but was close to where the carp where hanging around. I knew they would come across it, start to get the taste and become accustom to a free meal being offered. This meant that as long as I could get the rods on the spots with minimal disturbance then action should almost be guaranteed, even with limited time. The bait would be working for me even when I wasn’t there. I didn’t go crazy with tons of bait, just a bit little and often to keep them looking - and boy did the plan work well!
A couple detours on the way home from work saw me offloading a minimal amount of tackle and heading in the direction of my chosen swim. If the fish were present then the action kicked off pretty quick. One particular session that springs to mind and certainly makes me smile was when Adam and I popped down to see a mate who was firmly slotted in my baited swim. After a quick chat it was clear he wasn’t fishing anywhere near where I had been baiting and was happy for us to stick a couple of rods out and have a little social in the warm afternoon sun. I wasted no time at all on taking him up on his offer and soon had two rods bang on the money no further than 10 yards apart with a very minimal amount of bait over the top. This consisted of 12mm KSC boilies and a mixture of Protec and Elite pellets which had been glugged in krill. When I’m fishing over a pre-baited spot I feel that the fish should be used to seeing the bait and almost expecting it to be there. As such, often I only fish with my hookbait, a couple of crumbled boilies and some glugged pellets. These pump out loads of attraction but offer very little actual food, leaving only my hookbait and thus creating a quick result - well that’s the theory at least.
Being the nice guy I am, I offered young Adam the choice of either rod and he chose the right. I couldn’t resist the urge to have a wonder up and climb a few trees to see what was lurking around the area. As soon as I shimmied up the tree I could see a big dark shape hoovering over the baits, dusting up the bottom as it filtered through the slit in search of my bait. I was sure it was the one I wanted as the sheer size of it just doesn’t compare to anything else in there. I shot back down the tree and was soon sat beside the rods in anticipation knowing I was close to her. You can probably guess what happened next. A screaming alarm caught our attention and quick action was needed as the viscous bend in the rod was a sure sign that it was most definitely lake bound. But it wasn’t me that struck! Young Adam was away on the right hand rod and into a rather angry carp. I knew what could be on the end but not for one minute did I care. It was Adams’ moment and I was buzzing for him, joking the whole time that it was most definitely the one. After a few hairy moments a big common broke the surface and I jumped straight in with the net to scoop up his prize. It looked big but the length just wasn’t there and on lifting that gorgeous beast onto the unhooking mat we recognised it as the box common, the second largest fish in the lake. A true English 30lb common, and what a fish! Now this fish was extra special for Adam as it was at this very lake where Adam had caught his very first carp followed by his first 20lb carp and now laying before us was his first ever 30lb carp. Although it’s a fish I would love to add to my album I was over the moon to be able to share that moment with good friends.
After the box capture I seriously had a buzz and made sure to keep the bait trickling in. More and more fish began to congregate in the shallow water and they loved the bait. In two weeks I landed 25 carp and went from the odd one a session to 4 or 5 while the lake shut up shop for everyone else. In that time not one other angler had a fish. I would turn up, catapult out half a kilo of bait and before I had finished the water would turn brown as the fish savaged every last morsel. If I had had the time I’m sure I would have had the majority of the stock, but I was stuck to a couple of hours here and there and must admit found it extremely hard to pull myself away from feeding fish. One rare occasion I had managed to wangle an overnighter with Adam as my guest and we arrived late afternoon after work. The rods were put out on the money followed by a little helping of bait. Before I could even get the second rod out my rod was rattling off with a stunning dark common. Just as I was slipping the net under my prize, Adam was called into action and followed with another lovely common. With both fish just about to be held up for the camera Adams remaining rod was screaming for attention. This one he sadly lost but seeing as we had only been in the swim for around 15minutes I think it was safe to say the fish were on it. Adam had to reel in at dark as rules dictated, but for me the action continued well into the night and was topped off by what I believe to be the 3rd largest carp in the lake - a cracking common of 26lb8oz and one I have nick named the Angry Common. It certainly gave me the run around and held it’s dorsal aloft in defiance for our photoshoot.
Unfortunately my time had run thin once again and I struggled to get down to the lake and slowed right down on the pre-baiting. I even resorted to doing the early morning feed with my baby boy, Louie, and then head off to the lake around half 3 – 4 am to fish for a couple of hours and then be back in time from my little family to arise from their slumber. Although tiring those early morning sessions produced quite well and resulted in a number of fish, including a couple of the really odd rare mirrors, what that lack in size they certainly make up for in character with their random scales and wrinkled skin. Then the inevitable happened. The carp began to spawn and spawn and spawn and spawn. They went at it for weeks which really threw a spanner in the works as I will simply not even make a cast if the carp are spawning and it really gets my blood boiling when others angle for spawning fish. Even worse than this, my target was caught not once but a couple of times and my buzz vanished. I was gutted to be honest as I knew I was so close. Life goes on and so does the pursuit. The summer saw me spend very little time at the lake as I really didn’t want to catch my target spawned out and tired. I wanted her in her prime full of life. I am hoping that karma repays me for my good doings this year at the lake in the shape of a big dark common sporting her winter colours. Only time will tell and I’m sure I will be spending many a cold night and dark wet mornings packing up before work asking myself why? Then I will catch a glimpse of her pass by one of my spots and instantly the fire will be lit once again.
Until next time tight lines and remember if it’s not happening then MAKE IT!