In between the tench blanks, it’s carp that have been my saving grace. In what little sun we have had its carp that have been encouraged to have a mooch around. In the upper layers, on the surface or in the shallower margins. From small ponds to deep pits you can count on them. And when you can see them it’s exciting fishing. When windows of opportunity are in short supply, wandering around with minimal tackle and trying to spot fish takes some beating. Its simple, yes, but that doesn’t make it easy. Especially when you are as heavy footed as I am. I sure could do with some anti-gravity boots…
One night in the week after work, I headed to a venue I have fished many times before. One of clear water, deep margins and obliging feeders. The fish present are not huge but I really have learnt a lot from fishing for them. Seeing how small groups of fish feed in crystal clear water is invaluable. Especially for the times when you can’t see them and wonder just what is going on in your swim. I arrived to find the place empty, which was not really a surprise, given the moodiness of the water early on in the year. Into three lovely looking areas, ones with plenty of cover and a fairly clean bottom, I fed a few palmfuls of pellets along with a few chunks of bread. I really like how visual the bread is, both to the fish and to myself. It’s buoyant too, taking only the tiniest of slurps, to make it fly at a rate of knots into a fishes mouth. Or so I hoped. I’d been here getting on for an hour and of the fish I had seen no sign. Not in the swims or even out in open water.
It had been a dull day, a little chilly on the whole, and I wondered if I was pushing my luck a little. Maybe the fish were just not in a feeding mood. I kept at it though, patrolling from swim to swim until eventually, I caught sight of what I was looking for. A few dark shapes cautiously approaching a baited area. Three common carp and a dark, metallic ghostie. They did a fly by, swimming straight over the bait and back down into the deeper water, vanishing from view with an unnerving ease. I set my unhooking mat down and made myself comfortable. A few minutes went by before the same group of fish came back to the area. This time the three common carp began to pick off the chunks of bread whilst the ghostie watched on from a way back. I’m sure they could smell the pellets but they seemed interested only in the bread. Once gone they dropped back into the depths. Time to re-feed the swim. I really do enjoy this part of the procedure. The way a nervous fish can be transformed by simply feeding, and with no apparent danger nearby, their confidence can be quickly won.
The next time the fish entered the swim, again the commons fed with gusto. The ghostie however continued to watch. They are super cautious fish it would seem. I wonder why this is the case? Still, with the shoals departure soon after, it was time to introduce the hookbait. You guessed it, a large, fluffy chunk of bread. It took an age to sink and settle. The fish took a little longer to come back this time too, but when they did, it was the ghostie that homed straight in on my hookbait. Incredible! Almost out of body, I watched myself watching it. With a waft of its pectoral fins, it came to a halt. The angler poised. It’s mouth extended out, creating a vacuum, and the hookbait had no choice but to do what physics dictated. The angler had no choice but to do what instinct dictated and strike. Into nothingness. A bemused angler and an equally bemused ghostie. With a casual air the fish abled out of the swim. A slack jawed angler look on in dismay. The chance had gone. For the common carp too. Time to re-compose and start again.
Just fifteen minutes later, and now in a different swim, I was rewarded with a fish. A perfect little common carp sporting exceptionally lovely colours. A second chance served up and taken. Freelined bread over a few free offerings. In the clear water it is always a joy to see the fish swim strongly back to their home. Almost as much as it is to see them make their first mistake; a little too much curiosity for those fluffy white morsels laying temptingly on the marginal shelf. Next time, that ghostie will be mine.
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