With the last swim fed I made my way slowly back to the first. I had fed it twenty minutes previous and hoped that when I returned there would be signs that some carp had been feeding or at least investigating the tasty morsels lying on the lake bed. It would take me a further five minutes to make my way back to the swim, and I would need to set up the rig too. It should’t take too long to tie a hook onto the mainline though. Oh, and wrap a little tungsten putty a foot back from this. Really you couldn’t get much more simple.
With the rod set up and the net readied, I took the tub of bait from my car, along with unhooking mat that would double as my seat for the next few hours. As I neared the first swim I had fed I became aware of my heavy footing. Herd of elephants didn’t come close. Tentatively I took a peek into the depths but could no longer see the bottom. The gin clear water now cloudy with sediment sent up, I assumed, by hungry carp. This now posed a problem. I would’t be able to see my bait, and perhaps more importantly, couldn’t see if there was any fish still in the vicinity. I thought it best to feed more and move on to the second swim instead. Hopefully a little quieter on my part.
Thankfully in the next swim I saw three carp and what looked like a crucian feeding. They picked up a few grains of corn and then casually sank back down the shelf. Only to return a few minutes later for more food. Perfect. I waited for them to vacate the area, and carefully lowered a double corn hook bait into position, hid as best could behind the one long grass stem in front of me, and waited for them to return. Tense minutes passed. Tense, fish-less minutes. Had I spooked them? I didn’t think so, they were feeding happily before they ghosted from view. I just need a little patience. There, just where the visible water met the dark, hung a dark shape. I could just about make it out. As it edged up the shelf I could make out its size for the first time. It looked to be a scraper double. A common too. Eyes on the fish, eyes on the bait. The fish certainly knew those kernels were there. It probably knew I was there too. Inch by inch the fish glided nearer when suddenly the hook bait vanished. But the common carp had not flared its gills! And then I remembered the crucian from earlier.
Regardless, it was a lovely fish. Not a crucian in the end but some kind of goldfish-crucian-fantail hybrid. ‘Heinz 57’ but the first fish of the day and very welcome. With that swim now disturbed, it was time to re-feed and head to the next to repeat the process. A few minutes later I was nearing it, and even before I had made my way down the high bank, I could see a few dark shapes grazing over the pellets and corn. In fact when I was at the waters edge, they were feeding so confidently, I chanced flicking the rig in before they had moved off. This worked to my advantage as no sooner had the double corn hit the bottom, a plump carp decided to take it. The fish don’t grow that big in this venue but they fight like tigers. I quite honestly have never felt fish fight as hard for their size and they don’t give in. In the clear water, every powerful surge, every twist and turn can not only be felt, but seen too. And what an amazing sight it is. A tiny flick of the tail can propel the fish metres. Effortless in their environment.
The remainder of the session produced another few carp of similar size before fading light drew a close to play. It was more than enough for me though. Plenty of walking and watching. Learning how fish feed and how they spook on various sounds and movement. Also, how once feeding, this same caution abates. I reckon I could have done a jig in neon clothes at some point and the fish wouldn’t have noticed such was their intent of finding every last pellet amongst the gravel. Every fishing trip is a learning curve but some are more eye opening than others. This was certainly one of them.
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Until Next time tight lines