Things didn’t pan out as I planned for this weeks session. I had originally headed to a venue to target some carp but on arriving there had found it to be completely choked with duckweed. Although not a problem in itself I didn’t have the solid pva bags I use to protect my end tackle from picking up the duckweed so I decided to head for another venue not too far away. I’d still in search of carp, but I decided to have a more relaxed session which would give me a chance to use the float and natural baits.
The small lake I settled on is not a deep one, the deepest part being only 18-24 inches and with a sharp drop in temperature overnight I expected the fishing to be hard. I wasn’t wrong but I dont mind a challenge and was confident that if I kept an eye on the water with the depth being so shallow the carp would give themselves away. As with most fishing location is paramount but eve more so when the fish become lethargic. Having the lake to myself I decided to set up in a swim and fish it by feeding casters and fishing a bunch of lobworm sections over the top. However if I did spot any moving carp I would quickly go and present the big smelly bait in that area. Its a tactic I have used a lot this year and I have a lot of faith in it. Fishing this way is like having the best of both worlds.
The picture to the left shows how I present a lobworm for carp, especially when the weather cools, the amino acids attracting sluggish carp, convincing them that the effort to feed will be worth it. Its visual, it has movement, and its about as natural a bait as you can get. Its also very good for catfish, but thats for the summer months! The bait was presented underneath a standard crystal waggler about six inches on the bottom. Hooklength was 10lb fluorocarbon and mainline was 10lb Hydroflo. I used my Wychwood Rogue 1.75lb avon rod on the day, offering me a bit of sensitivity but enough grunt should I hook a double.
Quite how small fish, like this roach, manage to take a huge hookbait is one of anglings mysteries but they at least proved the fish were moving and up for feeding. No doubt attracted by the casters I was regularly feeding. I wasn’t bothered though, it kept me busy and also as we know, feeding fish attract other fish. And as if to prove a point after an hour or two of 6oz roach and perch, a few crucian-goldfish hybrids of around a pound started to make an appearance. At this point admittedly I was presenting a smaller ball of worms to gauge what was in the swim. The fish were getting bigger in my main swim, but more importantly I was aware that in an area of dying lilies to my right there was a few carp moving between the stems, parting the pads as they moved through. I decided to keep fishing the swim I had been for an hour longer, whilst starting to trickle in a few casters in a gap in the lilies which I would fish later on.
After a few more crucians the small roach returned signalling to me that at the moment there was no bigger carp present. There was however still a fair bit of activity in the lily bed so I decided to go and see if I could stalk a carp out. I gathered the essentials, namely unhooking mat, net and of course, some bait and made my way quietly, keeping off the skyline, towards the far end of the lake. On closer inspection there appeared to be a good number of carp present but with the water being so shallow I felt I only had one chance. The carp would surely spook once I hooked a fish so I had to make sure I got it out. Playing a carp hard like this doesn’t mean trying to pull its head off, it simply means that you have to not allow the carp to build any momentum. You can usually steer the fish away from any snags or weed an into clearer water when you can afford to give the fish a little more slack.
I simply free lined the lobworm ball into a gap in the pads not far off the yellowish tree in the picture. Gently tightened up to it and watched the line for any movement. It took all of ten seconds for an unmistakable bite as a carp roared off after taking the bait. The steady pressure and anticipating any change of direction allowed me to get the carp into open water quickly where I played the fish out fairly quickly and netted it without much circumstance. Not a huge fish, probably one of the smallest ones there, but it proves that the bait and approach works.
Unfortunately I was right in the fact the fight had spooked the carp from the area. They would no doubt return, but I had to leave soon afterwards, and I was quite happy with how the days session has gone. Considering I was originally heading for another venue sometimes thinking outside the box can produce an enjoyable days fishing.
Until next time,