Why do we carp fish anyway??
Angling or should I say carp angling, is either in your blood or not as the saying goes… We all see some anglers come and go as the years roll by, but one thing’s for sure; the human hunting instinct will always be within us!
As I sit here writing this blog, I did sit and ask myself why I’ve been angling so long?? (40 odd years now) Well before I get to myself, I will throw a few examples in the pot just to get your cogs turning… Some go for the next free bag of bait or tackle items, these reasons put the anglers under so much self pressure; fish at any cost and being a nuisance on the bank to others spring to mind! Where some other anglers may do it to get away from the hardships of everyday life; work or even the wife lol! You do also get the big carp hunters, these do work hard and after many moons sometimes get their rewards; mainly in the shape of their target fish (the dedication to follow this route is surly mind boggling!)
Myself I’m a strange breed even though I say it myself… Always been one to fish for bites, trying to understand the carp’s habits/surroundings; even being at one with nature enjoying the moment. The day before a fishing trip, I still get a bit over excited or even annoying, and the hours just before I’m like a big kid in a sweet shop! When lake side I’m like an information magnet, pulling in anything and everything that may be of use during the season ahead. So in a nutshell for me, I just love it all; even writing as I’m doing now… If a fish is involved and a fishy puzzle needs putting together, I’m really in my element!!
As for puzzles there’s 4 steps I’ve always followed in my angling; if I get just one of these wrong, the trip will be hard work or even not go to plan at all….
Find the fish or at least fish where they patrol through!
Use a sharp hook and tackle that’s up-to the angling situation I’m in!
Do not scare the fish; full stop!!
Use a bait the fish are happy to eat at that time of year!
These four I sometimes bounce off each other; especially the scaring the fish part… I have been known to play the fool and set up off a shoal of fish before now, knowing an angler is on his way down and will drop straight on the fish; giving me chance to bait up and do a bit of disturbance. Knowing the carp’s patrol routes and sitting quiet with spots baited/rods out, just waiting for him to nudge the fish over later that day!!
As for rigs/sharp hooks, a rig that doesn’t suit an area will catch more with a sharp hook, than a fantastic rig with a blunt hook! So the right rig with a sharp hook says it all.
Bait wise well everyone has their favourites and I’m no different… confidence is a big key there, as it will stop you from reeling in every hour and creating unnecessary disturbance in your swim, which links into number 3 if you see what I mean??
In this trip all of these four points come into play, as they do in every session I’ve ever fished/wrote about!!
(There’s not much to get right…. is there??)
After a hard day rolling bait the time was getting on, with some guys coming in the bait shop and myself playing the fool; ‘what’s up with him’ they said! All I said was, ‘I’m going fishing!’ and yes they soon understood. After grabbing a bit of Shropshire Gold (just 2 kilo) I made my way to Aldi to get some milk and bread for the trip…
I had a plan in my head and of course a backup plan, just incase the first was snookered, by an angler in the swim I wanted to try. Turning up with rain forecast for later that night, I had a quick walk round the lake; yes the same as the trip before the fish were sat in-front of the two weedy bays. I really had to pull myself away to stick to my plan; seems the bites came at night, I wanted to fish areas the carp went to at night (not where they sat quiet in the day!)
Setting up after a barrow push round the lake, having a hard day at work I went into auto pilot setting up; if I started thinking it would take me all night to get done! With rain in the air I didn’t take any chances, bivvy positioned so I could see the lake when lay down (yes this was set to be a lazy trip from the start!) Put my long sticks on my bars, but didn’t quite have it in me to fight the chest waders as the light started to drop. To be honest with the rods sat almost three feet from the ground; old school sprang to mind, which I liked in a lazy/I’m knackered sort of way! With a quick cast I found a clear area that would hold a pair of rods; some would get 4 on it, but tonight I’d be lucky to hit water!! Still wanting to put my bait in, but my gut feeling was telling me… if I baited tonight I’d be lucky to get a bite; knowing the fish would be passing through any time now. Baiting around midday would be best, but setting up now I didn’t have that luxury. So it was either scratch for a bite with bags or bait for a big girl, which would hopefully come on my second night?? With heavy rain coming and being a little tired to say the least; yeah I peppered a kilo of 14mm SG around the area… Knowing I was baiting for the second night to be honest, but I was very happy with my decision; as the carp hear haven’t fed for me in the rain before anyway (but there’s always a chance with a sharp hook in the water)
The first night went as planned, well ish anyway… rain rain and more rain! Snoring my head off all night long, I awoke to water falling from the trees at 7am (probably the best nights sleep I’ve ever had on the bank!) Blue sky and gallons of water still in the tree tops, it was another couple of hours before I could venture out without my jacket. Watching the Kingfishers race by along with the odd carp roll to my left; the morning soon disappeared, leaving the sun playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds from time to time! Midday I decided to re-cast my rods, peppering another dozen or so baits in the area; the spot was right behind a bar of weed, which seemed an idea ambush point as the carp moved from one end of the lake to the other. If it wasn’t for all the wind and rain, leaving silt-weed hanging on my line (seen by the tightening of my line on one rod over a couple of hours) I’d have happily left them out fishing for the planned two nights! But any doubts I have I had to clear, and sort it out (always hours away from the planned or noticed bite times)
Watching the world roll by as we do while on the bank; a carp rolled about 80 yards from my area; but right on the same line. By 6pm they seemed to be on the move heading towards me, this was what I’d planned for… head them off at the pass!!
It took another hour for them to get over my spot; it really was just a matter of time! A few bleeps as they started feeding (well that’s what I was hoping for anyway) I sat twiddling my thumbs so decided to make some tea, sausages in the pan and yeah…. Bleeeeep!!!! The tip flew down as the line tightened; kicking my pan over as I scrambled to the rods, I was soon connected to a heavy resistance kiting left, heading towards the dreaded shallow weedy area. As before chest waders sat there just for show; straight in with my crocs and joggers (one day I might use them??) With silt and twigs pinching my toes, I carefully made my way out with the net. I knew the lead had come off on the take, as she hit the surface straight away… head down then hit the surface and same again and again. Still not sure if she was a good fish at this point; but was fantastic playing a carp in the light of day (well just anyway!)
Coming closer she soon hit the silt, sending up plumbs of trapped air and clouds of silt through the water layers. Now up to my knees in water with silt up to my ankles, she glided towards the net; with belly still in the silt this was a very nice fish indeed. After a push down with the net, catching the one arm in the silt she was in!! I soon gave Nick the bailiff a call to come and take some pictures, to be fair I will be asking him again, as he did a fantastic job. On the scales she went 36lb 14oz of Shropshire mirror; now that was well worth all the effort and I had a relaxing trip to boot! With a large grin on my face the night drifted in, if I ever stopped feeling this happy about my fishing it would be time to take up golf… but for now I love every minute I’m out on the bank!!
As expected a quiet night came about, there’s only so much disturbance they will take on a patrol route.
At 5:30am I started the slow pack away, to get back to work for 8am, but with that said I still had a spring in my step from the night before’s capture….
Yes that’s why I do it!