Having really enjoyed my last session after grass carp, if you havent read it you can by clicking here, I decided this week to return there to see if I could tempt another grass carp before the weather totally turns into winter. I say totally, it was pretty cold already, but I still felt confident of at least catching a few fish.
Arriving just before first light I had a walk around the lake, taking my time and seeing if I could find any moving fish. There was the odd small fish dimpling the surface but apart from them, the water looked quite still. I could feel the cold air nipping at any exposed parts of skin. The signs were not great as this water does hold a lot of small silver fish which are usually extremely active during dawn. But I wasn’t after roach and rudd so I tried not to let this fact bother me. I walked back to the north bank, and slowly crept down into one of the swims. After a few seconds a small dark fin broke the surface and the fish it was attached to made the water wake. Definitely a small fin attached to a decent sized fish. Definitely a grass carp I thought, and made my way back to the car for the gear. The fish had been located. Somehow it didn’t feel as cold anymore.
Illuminated by the early morning sun is the first fish I caught. A lovely brown goldfish and surprisingly it didn’t take too long to catch, only about thirty minutes. It fell to a single grain of corn fished under a delicate float. Like last week I set the rig to fall slowly through the water, only a few number nine shot down the line. I believe that grass carp spend a lot of their time off the bottom, in the upper layers of the water and, like winter carp, like watch a falling bait before deciding whether to take it or not. For feed this week, given the cold conditions and the nature of the fish I was targeting I decided to try something a little different. With a pole cup I fed a few grains of corn every thirty minutes or so but I also added some ‘neat’ liquid flavouring to the pot. In this case I added a yellow scopex flavour that not only created an enticing visual cloud that hung in the water column but also gave the fish a scent trail to home in on. This way I could constantly have attraction without any food content.
After only an hour or so of fishing I had my first grass carp of the session. Like last week the fish took the bait on the drop and simply stopped the float from dotting down. A firm strike and the fish was on. In the cold water there wasn’t much of a fight and I was grateful as it allowed me to get the fish in the net quickly. Not a big fish my any means, maybe 3lb, but again it was my target species and in the conditions as I stated last week, I was more than happy just to be catching. I also had another nice late autumn tench, and several small crucians.
I was more than happy with how the session was turning out. Using the flavour as an attractant was working well and the few grains of corn that settled on the bottom were holding fish long enough for me to be able to present my bait to them. I cast and re-cast my rig a lot, maybe every two or three minutes. On the day all bites came within this time. Leaving it longer didn’t help so it was better to keep the bait active. I caught the tench and crucian hybrids, pictured left, after the rig had settled when the rig was dragged slowly through the swim. The small carp and grass carp I caught on the drop of just as the rig settled and I mean, just as it settled. It was a very enjoyable session. The sun was out, not the best conditions in all honesty, but the fishing didn’t seem to reflect this. A few other anglers were struggling at the other end of the lake which made me glad I wandered around the lake at dawn, giving me the clue as to where the fish were. I really wanted to catch one more grass carp before the session was over. I felt confident they were around. I had seen plenty top in the area I was fishing but they are tricky fish to catch. Still I carried on with my method and for the time being simply enjoyed being there. I watched a small wren flitting from branch to branch in the dense and tangled brambles to my left. Slowly it made its way nearer to me until it was an arms length away. I have never been so close to a wren before. In my experience they are normally so timid but this one appeared to not even notice me. We, as anglers, really see some privileged sights that could be so easily overlooked. Eventually the wren made its way back to where it came from and I continued with my fishing.
And eventually I caught another grass carp. Only a little bigger than the first but I feel a well deserved reward for thinking about how to feed the swim in the cold conditions. I doubt I would have had as many bites, and therefore fish, feeding something with actual feed value, groundbait, hemp or micro pellets for example. As well as the two grass carp, I had numerous crucians, crucian-hybrids, and brown goldfish. Add to that a tench and some hard fighting 2lb commons and ghost carp and you have got yourself a thoroughly enjoyable session on a beautiful, if a little chilly, late autumn day. I hope the river levels are constant over the next few days which will allow next weeks update to hopefully feature some grayling fishing.
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Until next time,