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).
How successful is your fishing?
I realise of course that there is more to angling than simply catching fish - there's the exercise, both physical and mental; there's the 'outdoor experience', with beautiful views, interesting wildlife, changing seasons, varied weather, amazing sunrises and sunsets, etc., etc., and nobody appreciates these more than I do. For sure every angler can enjoy just going fishing but apart from these universal pleasures just how should you measure the success of your angling? Of course it depends on what you want; some anglers want to catch lots of small fish while others prefer one or two big fish; some like the thrill of competing against other anglers while others prefer solitude or simply catching fish by using particular tactics (fly fishermen, float fishermen, leger fishermen , spinners, mullet anglers, bass fishers, kayak devotees and even LRF specialists). but most people would probably agree that your pleasure depends to some extent on whether you catch what you are after and this was brought home to me yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I'm not averse to waiting for a bite - I once had fourteen successive blanks in winter on the Northumberland coast, but I do prefer some return for my efforts particularly as I get older.
Anyway, to come to the point, I know that there are many more experienced carp anglers than me and certainly there are plenty who catch more than I do. In the past week I had my first two carp fishing trips of the year on my local lakes. I quite enjoy catching carp but to some extent fishing for them is imposed upon me by the close season on running waters and the usual doldrums of sea (shore) angling in the early part of the year. Anyway it was a good start, when my first carp session produced two decent fish and plenty of breath holding excitement and yesterday I had another reasonable carp despite the cooler conditions. Over the years I've become used to measuring my success rate (and those of my pals) in terms of "Fish per rod hour". For example one man fishing with one rod for an hour is "one rod hour". Two people for an hour, one angler with two rods for an hour or two hours spent by one person using one rod would be "two rod hours". My usual return for carp trips, including the odd blank session or two, is probably one fish every hour or two. Fishing, as I generally do, with one set of gear and freelining breadcrust on the top, I'm chuffed if I average one carp per rod hour. If I get one of twenty pounds plus I'm particularly pleased of course. If the success rate drops much below one every couple of hour's fishing for several trips I'll generally try something else.
So, my first two carp fishing trips of the season had produced a fish about every hour-and-a-half, not bad! Yesterday afternoon I was just getting back into my car to go for my tea when another car pulled into the car park and a chap started getting his gear out. We passed the time of day and he said he was going to fish three rods with boilies - the usual approach for many people on the lakes. The shock came when we were talking about the quality of the fishing and he said that he'd landed one carp in the past four months. Of course it may not reflect on his angling ability so much as the fact that carp can be hard to come by in cold conditions and we've had plenty of them last winter. However you look at it though that's pretty grim and he certainly had more stamina than me. I think I'd have taken up knitting.
The carp which I caught was a decent mirror and my tactics were, as usual. based on plopping a crust into the reed bed and waiting for a fish to hook itself, they seem to do that pretty well without any hair rigs or gadgets. The carp was neatly hooked in the lip and didn't fight all that hard in the cool conditions so I was able to lift it in the net, take a quick picture and slip it back. It's going to be warmer next week so no doubt I shall be trying again, hopefully to reduce the rod hours count per fish.
If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you!' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - firstname.lastname@example.org
The arrow shows where I hooked my carp. The rod is in the foreground resting on a bramble.
Not a bad mirror in the teens of pounds.