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 several 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. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. 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).
Over the past two weeks I've had a couple more freshwater fishing trips - one to the lakes and one to the river. My carping trip was the first one and as usual I only used my spinning rod, Shimano 4000, a single, size 6, debarbed, strong hook and half a dozen lumps of crust cut from a 'small split' loaf (I prefer the 'farmhouse loaf' which is a bit tougher in the crust but they'd sold out).
It was a beautiful, warm, sunny, windless day and I arrived at the water in early afternoon. As I walked round the lakes I noticed a youngish bloke (they all look young to me), dressed for the weather, setting up his bivvy and three rods on the far bank. I was almost round to his pitch when I noticed a little track, leading to the bank, through the gorse. A brief exploration showed that it led to a tiny bay perhaps two metres square and screened from the other angler by a thick reed bed which surrounded it on all sides. It looked good to me so I progged a big lump of crust on the hook and swung it out so that the line lay over a dead, broken reed stem. I closed the bale arm, lay the rod down on the bank and turned the reel handle until the line was more or less tight - at least none of it lay on the water. Now I waited.
Only a few minutes had passed when I saw the reeds begin to shake close to my crust. I always think that this is the most exciting moment of the whole carp angling experience. I was sure that it could see the crust but would it take? I held my breath and waited. A big, bronze back showed beside my bait, the fish tilted upwards and began to suck. My hand hovered over the rod butt. The line drew taut and the rod twanged round - I was in. Crash, splash, wallop! I hung on and gave as little line as possible. Holding the head of the carp up as much as possible I slid it across the surface through the reeds. Now it was in my little patch of open water and all I had to do was hang on and stop it ploughing away into the 'forest' of brown stems again. I've done the same sort of thing many times before so it wasn't too much trouble to hold the fish until it tired enough to slide into the net. I dragged it ashore and as I lay the net containing the carp onto my unhooking mat to take a picture a voice behind me said "Need any help?" It was the chap with the bivvy who had obviously been alertted by the noise of the struggle. I thanked him but said I thought I could manage. However I was grateful when he produced a bag and a set of scales to weigh the fish. Almost exactly nineteen pounds, very nice! That made it four bites and four carp I've had on the freelined crust recently with an average weight of over twenty pounds. I should probably stop now before the average goes down.
Lilian was working on her Roman villa dig today so I felt like going fishing again. It was much colder than recently and there was a stiff NE wind so I didn't fancy my chance of another carp. It's 'fly only' on the rivers here in Dorset at the moment and in fact very few of my handy club waters permit game fishing in the coarse close season (I don't know why because there used to be several that were open until a couple of years back). I looked at the book and there was one short stretch fairly close to where I live which permitted trout/seatrout fishing. I set up the fly rod and tied on a small, gold Delta, which I much prefer to conventional flies. At the river I found that there was a nasty, upstream wind which wouldn't be too much of a problem if it wasn't for all the bankside, trees, bushes, herbs and barbed wire fences.
I walked the bank looking for 'trouty' spots but I only saw a few big chub hanging in the deeper slacks and I didn't want to catch them. I tried several places but saw nothing except minnows. Eventually I came to a wide, shallow, weedy stretch which looked like possible trout water. I crawled under the barbed wire, slid down the steep bank and paddled across until I came to a swiftly flowing glide. Out went the fly and on about my tenth cast, as it swung round and trailed downtream there was a double pluck. I missed the bite but at least it showed that something was interested in the fly. I cast again and let the floating flyline trail off downstream, paying out an armful every few seconds. Suddenly there was a jerk and a little trout exploded into the air. It was a really lively specimen and jumped time and again but it was no match for my fly gear so it was soon on brought to hand. It would be good to say that I then caught several more but I didn't have another bite and that was that but I enjoyed my afternoon out.
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A nice 'leathery' carp and very pleasing.
Nineteen pounds on my new 'pal's' scales. You can see it was a lovely day!
A nice little trout on my #8wt.
Well hooked on the stainless point of my Delta eel.