This week I headed to a small stillwater in search of carp. I have fished the water in the past but never for its carp. Previously when fishing light lines for roach and crucians I have occasionally been snapped by rogue fish a lot bigger than my intended quarry. In fact during one struggle I had seen the offending fish, which turned out to be a pretty large ghost carp, easily a mid double. Unfortunately I didn’t land the fish, but I vowed that I would return to the water sometime and try to even the score. On my way to the water I knew I was probably visiting it a little too early in the year to give myself any real chance of finding the few large carp that live here, but with the rivers out of commission I thought I would have a go. If anything I could have a lead around a few swims and search out any interesting features. Plus, as long as there is a bait in the water, there is a chance.
I arrived at the venue a little after dawn in the rain. Quite heavy rain actually and it looked like it was going to be on for the day. Ideally I wanted to fish a few swims but this was going to be a tough slog now. The banks were saturated, pegs almost flooded. The wind blew from every angle. It was a particularly unpleasant day. Not one to be discouraged, I trudged to the farthest end of the water where I have done most of my fishing. I know the area pretty well and its also a place where I have seen most of the carp on previous visits. I mentioned the wind a few sentences ago and I’m mentioning it again, it came howling in from the east and was bitterly cold. I was sure with it chilling the water the best place I could look for was an area of cover where the water would be marginally warmer. Tucked in a corner on the west bank I found such a place. It had a little depth, an abundance of snags which winter carp love to lay up in, and more important was sheltered from the wind. I decided to give it a few hours in this swim, casting around a visual bottom bait with a little groundbait stick for added attraction.
I cast out a simple, but safe, bolt rig a felt the lead down. It landed with a satisfying thud. I set the rod in the alarm and decided to leave it in position for around an hour. If there was any fish present I didn’t want to cause too much disturbance after all. I didn’t have to wait that long though as after 30 minutes I had a screaming run and was into what felt like a reasonable fish, not a carp for sure but very welcome on such a horrible day. I could see the fish was a tench of maybe 3lb but unfortunately dropped off at the net. It’s one of those things and its something we have to get used to as anglers. There will always be frustrating moments buts its those same failures that make the triumphs that much sweeter. My confidence had been raised a notch though, obviously some fish were in the area so I went about re baiting and casted the rig back out, slightly further out than previous, searching for that carp. A whole ten minutes went by before I had another run. This fish felt much smaller than the tench I had previously lost. The only conciliation being it was my target species.
After this fish I had no other bites from the area so early afternoon I decided to move to another swim. This offered me more open water to explore but also another margin sheltered from the easterly wind. I fished as I had in the other swim, casting every 45 minutes in the hope of finding a lethargic carp. I changed the 10mm boilie every third cast but apart from catching one crucian hybrid of about 1lb 8oz I had no other bites. It was a difficult session weather-wise to be honest and without making excuses I came away feeling as if I hadn’t fished very well. We all have our off days, I definitely had one today, and with the weather looking like it is going to get even colder in the coming week I probably wont be back to the venue until the temperature starts to rise. I am very much looking forward to it though. I wonder if Sian Lloyd could order me some mild weather?
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Until next time,