Trying to track down river carp (Entry 59)

Something that has been on my fishing to do list for a few seasons is to catch a river carp. I’ve had them from stillwaters and from canals but a river fish has always eluded me. That being said I could count on one hand the sessions I have devoted to them. It was time to put a little more effort in then. I knew what venue I would be fishing, the Weaver near Northwich, and I had a good idea about sections that used to be good for them.

old_HartfordYes, used to be. Apparently these fish were stocked in the late seventies/early eighties and for a few years after the river was full of small carp. In fact speaking to my dad a few days before the first session, he dug out a picture from the early eighties featuring himself and a lovely proportioned little common. Caught on the ‘flat float’ fishing caster down the edge. Anyone who knows the Weaver will not be struggling to work out the length he caught this fish. The dredger length with its blue bridge, still a landmark to this day. A quick search on the internet will throw up divided opinion on just how many of these carp are left. Ever the optimist I decided there must be a least some. Although probably a lot thinner on the ground than they used to be. But still a chance. So three days before my first session I cooked up a particle mix of hemp and pigeon conditioner. Added to this was a little corn corn and the whole lot was allowed to soak in the juices and oils for 24 hours. The morning before the session I baited three areas I fancied and planned to return the next day to fish. I did debate adopting the mobile approach. I’m used to doing it on rivers in the winter after chub but I decided to try something different. Baiting and waiting so to speak. If the first session proved fruitless I would simply bait up on leaving and return in a day or two to try again.

IMG_2817On the day of the session I arrived just before dawn and had a look at the three areas I had baited the day before. The first two areas looked suspiciously quiet. Due to the rivers depth I couldn’t see if any bait had disappeared. I’m guessing that the resident bream would have had a good go though. Onward I walked to the third area I had baited. Within minutes a fish rolled. I didn’t see the fish, just the concentric circles it created. Then, again, another fish rolled. It looked suspiciously bream-like. There was bubbling in the swim too but again, less carp more bream. I didn’t know what to do. Having not done much of this type of fishing it really is going to be a steep learning curve. I decided to head back to one of the other swims and fish that. After all this one seemed full of bream. Maybe the other ones held a carp or two?

I fished two rods. The first one on the edge of the baited area, which had been topped up a little with more particle mix. This rod had double fake corn, one sinking and one floating. The other rod I fished away from the baited area, and even though I was aware this could be bream suicide, I fished small 10mm boilies withIMG_2819 a large PVA bag of chopped boilies and pellets. I cast this rig perilously close to a section of river with overhanging and dead trees. A very nice environment for Mr Carp. I sat back and waited. Two kingfishers regularly flew back and forth, up and down the river. Amazing flashes of blue on an otherwise green backdrop. I’ve often seen one, but two flying so close together was a new one for me. Grey herons hunted small fish in the margins. A shrew tried in vain to pluck up the courage to get near the particles I had spilt when baiting. I got stung in the hand by a wasp. I could have done without that though. Nature getting a little too close. However, the indicators remained motionless. The alarms quiet. Three hours later, I reeled in, and checked the rigs which were fine. I needed to stretch my legs. Taking the boilie and PVA bag rod, and net, I wandered down to the swim where I saw the bream rolling. In went the rig. Rod on the ground I waited for the baitrunner to scream off. Or should that be plod off. Five minutes later the plodding happened and a bream was on the bank. A 4lb fish with peculiar black markings on it.

IMG_2831Another cast and another bream. Yes, there was a good shoal of bream here. Despondent, I headed back to the swim I had been in and fished it out until dark. Before the light went I fed the three swims again and planned to return in two days time. I didn’t see any signs of carp all day, both in the swim I was fishing and on the occasions I went trying to spot them.

IMG_2833Two days later I was back at dawn. The weather turning a little cooler, with a strong northerly wind picking up the night before. It wouldn’t effect the water temperature though. Again I looked at the areas, the furthest swim seemed to be full of bream, the other two as quiet as before. So this time I fished the ‘bream’ swim. Both rods went to either side of the feed area. One with corn and one with 10mm boilie. I hoped there would be some carp on the periphery of the feeding bream shoal. Surely any carp would push them out though? Apart from the odd line bite, which presumably came from wandering bream, I had no fish at all on this session. I left a little despondent but I never expected this to be easy. I’d like to explore this area more so next time I will try a more mobile approach. Unfortunately the carp did used to show themselves often in this section and I just hope the fact I’m not seeing any isn’t backing up the stories I’ve read online. No excuses though and only time will tell. I’m sure its just down to location and a poor river carp angler!

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Until Next time tight lines,

NorthwestFisherman

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10 thoughts on “Trying to track down river carp (Entry 59)”

  1. Brilliant account of real fishing, wish I had your dedication. I am sure I would have given up and simply fished for the bream and then told myself that that was what I had wanted anyway and a fish is a fish. However although “pot luck” fishing is sometimes fun it does not beat fishing for a specific. On a recent session I landed a surprise 2 lb + perch caught on a slug, a beauty for the venue but not what I had set out for so somehow reduced. So keep up the hunt and I look forward to the next episode

    Geoff

  2. I would take everything you read online with a large pinch of salt. There are a lot of keyboard anglers out there. Everyone from the same area of the country reads the same posts about their area so the same info soon gets recycled into newer posts. But that doesn’t mean that some people aren’t telling the truth either! That’s the problem/beauty of forums etc. I must admit to browsing a lot of carp forums for info on waters etc but the only way you’re ever going to find out is by doing it yourself. It’s especially difficult when it comes to wild/natural waters like the one you describe. So few people actually fish them for carp and those that do tend to be least likely to want to share their hard-earned knowledge etc.

    Maybe steer away from fishmeal pellets etc to ‘avoid’ the bream? Actually, I don’t mind catching bream when carp fishing (saves a blank!) and tend to think that feeding fish will hopefully attract carp anyway? Maybe try a few Tigers, maples, maize? I don’t know. Good luck. It will be worth it.

  3. Keep it up, you’ll get there. I’m trying the same for canal carp at present. 3 sessions, three blanks, one lost mystery fish.

  4. I really must have another go at river carp. After losing two very good fish ( on separate occasions), one to a hook pull, and one to a snag, the fights I experienced convinced me that I should spend some quality time after a river carp. Well, the results have been unexpected: no carp at all whilst fishing for them, but three, from two different rivers when fishing for other species. A 9 pound common, in heavy water whilst fishing for gudgeon on three pound line was a corker of a struggle to land. And two small mirrors, maybe 6 pounds apiece, were caught whilst chub fishing. These two came on successive casts, and both were banked within 5 minutes of each other! I was appropriately gobsmacked. So the occasional quest must continue, for a river carp caught whilst I am actually trying for it. An intentional river carp is certainly a worthwhile challenge, and I enjoy reading about others who try. Keep it up.

    1. Very interesting that. At least you have had success, depending on how you measure it of course, and when you catch that carp by design it’ll be worth it. Thats what I keep telling myself anyway. Let me know how you get on!

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