Systematic searching [with sweetcorn] (Entry 73)

As I sat scoffing the last of the Christmas mince pies, I came to realise I had not fished, or more accurately caught, a carp for over four months. And although there was no mild weather forecast, with the rivers still up and down, I thought I would try to tempt one of any size from a club water.

The peg for the day

There had been a thick frost overnight and with the daytime temperatures not forecast to reach any higher than four degrees, it was hardly ideal. Still, the water I had in mind is pretty well stocked and I was confident that if I fished methodically and searched the water, the carp would oblige. So what was the method I was going to use? Well, it really couldn’t be more simple. I was using the pole today, the rig fished an inch over depth. When plumbing up I found a large area with the same depth. In my mind this was then divided up into sections, each of which I would present a double corn hookbait for five minutes or so. If no bite came, I would move the rig to the next ‘section’ and repeat the process. The carp would be lethargic but if a bait, say a good-sized-nutritionally-worthwhile-moving-for-bait fluttered to the lake bed near them, the carp wouldn’t be able to resist. Right?

Well on my second put in, no more than a foot away from my first, the float dipped and sank from sight. Elastic stretched under the weight of a hefty fish. A fish that wasn’t really doing anything at all. Plodding would have been too energetic a word to use. For a minute or so the fish moved an inch at a time until eventually it realised it was hooked. I now had five minutes of powerful runs, each were soaked up by the elastic. Eventually the fish tired itself against the constant pressure and was within netting range. One last dive to some near bank cover and the carp was in the net. A lovely chunky leather carp. Well, not quite. It had one scale near its tail. A mirror then at 12lb on the nose. Can’t remember ever catching a leather carp. Never mind.

Almost a leather carp but not quiteIt was in perfect condition and I made sure she was well rested in the margins before returning. It’s always great to see a fish swim strongly away so that someone else can take as much pleasure in catching it as I have. With countless predators and various other situations affecting our fish stocks we must do everything we can to protect and preserve them. And this starts with taking care of them properly.

Well and truly warmed up now I poured a coffee and allowed the area to settle. I thought that if there was a few carp where I had just hooked that one, they would probably have backed away or moved during the commotion of the fight. The coffee drank, I proceeded to fish and for the next hour and a half I proved my theory right. I didn’t have a touch. Not a line bite. Nothing. This didn’t bother me though. It was a wonderful sunny day now, with little wind, and with every area ‘searched’ I was one step closer to getting another bite. When that bite eventually came I was a little surprised to find attached a tiny little perch of an ounce. Never caught a perch, and such a small one at that, on a double corn hookbait. Vegetarian perch, whatever next?

Colourful winter common

As it turned out it was this fine common carp on the next put in after the perch. Double corn once more and at 9lb 4oz, another lovely fish to catch on the pole. With the common returned and the light fast disappearing I decided to make it the last fish of the day. During the three hours I fished I didn’t feed any bait. In fact I only used six grains of corn all day. That’s cheap fishing. Some would say stingy but I’m not one of them. I would have probably stacked the odds in my favour of another bite during the quieter section by fishing the same method but on a straight lead further from the bank, away from the disturbance, but I was happy enough being slightly more confined and staying on the pole. An enjoyable and fun session. Just as it should be.

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Until Next time tight lines

NorthwestFisherman

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