Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over four years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff so if you are new to fly fishing or spinning these are the ones for you).
14 August 2007.
Skittish carp in hot weather.
My most recent carp fishing session was again in mid-afternoon (I usually go sea fishing mornings and evenings). Again it was blazing hot and there were quite a few people fishing when I got there. However, there's plenty of room so I wandered along to the farthest point of the most distant lake so I was well away from any disturbance. As usual I was armed with a spinning rod, braided line, a barbless hook and some bits of bread. (It seems strange that in the 1970's the best spinning rods available were 11ft-12ft 'carp' rods. Now my 11ft 'spinning' rod is a perfectly good carp rod).
This time I dropped bread into three or four likely spots, all visible or audible from where I sat. The rudd soon found the bread but it was noticeable that they attacked any bits that drifted more than a short distance from the bank. I saw a carp take one or two crusts from among the reeds to my left and so I swung a crust out to roughly where it had been. Within seconds a fish rushed in and began sucking at my bait but after a couple of half-hearted sucks it seemed to panic and swirled away. I was sure that it hadn't seen me so I left the bait and waited. Sure enough, five minutes later, back it came and this time it engulfed the bait, hooked itself and hurtled off into the dense reed bed. I hung on for dear life but it was no good and after a short struggle the hook came away. Bugger!
While I had been playing my fish I'd heard some slurpings in a lily bed behind where I sat. This was one of the spots that I'd baited up but I wasn't sure exactly where the sounds had come from. I baited my hook again and lobbed it into a gap between the leaves. There were rudd everywhere in the open water but it did not take them long to find my bait and it was soon clear that I had little chance of a bait lasting long enough for a carp to find it.
I shifted a bit further back to a gap with reeds to my left and a willow tree, shading the water and with its branches trailing on the surface to my right. I threw a few more crusts into both the reeds and the bush then, for good measure, I threw a piece out into the middle in open water. Of course the rudd set about the latter piece at once. It was a fair sized crust so it took minutes for them to demolish it but, before it had all gone I saw a carp approaching like an arrow from at least ten metres away. It swam right up to the crust then swirled away, again apparently in panic. I threw a couple more crusts and each time exactly the same thing happened with at least three different fish. Clearly they were very skittish and it was not just the presence of my line that bothered them. I suppose that they could just be wary of lumps of floating bread if they've been hooked before but I'm not convinced. They just seem to behave in this fashion sometimes and at others they take the bread with confidence, even in the same lake.
Anyway, to get back to the fishing. By now my crusts of bread in the willow branches had induced a bit of slurping and rippling so I lowered my baited hook into the branches. It was probably five minutes before it was taken confidently and again the fish hooked itself. Did it fight!!!! It must have been all of five minutes before I could slide it into my net. Dense bankside cover seems to have two big advantages in addition to the fact that the carp spend a lot of time there - the rudd keep away from it and the carp are much less likely to panic at the sight of a floating offering.
A couple of days later I had another go. Again it was mid-afternoon and bright sunshine. The first spot I tried seemed fishless but at the second one my loose crust dropped in the edge produced a satisfactory slurp. I lowered the hookbait into the margin (literally touching the bank at my feet) and within a minute the rod was yanked down as a fish hooked itself. This was a good bit bigger than the previous carp but did not fight nearly as hard.
What a battle!