28 May 2012

The fish beneath our feet

The advice I received from a fellow blogger following my previous post on Jubilee Pools (thanks Baz) was not to ignore the margins.

Perhaps then I shouldn't have been quite so surprised to find a dozen or more large carp patrolling right under my feet as I arrived on the horseshoe lake just before 7am on Saturday morning.

A delightful sight of course, but one which begged the inevitable question - how to catch them?

Trying to resist the temptation to rush, I flicked a few pieces of crust out, but there was no evidence of them taking off the top. Instead I turned to the worm and started to put together a peculiar hybrid outfit - my rarely-used carp rod, 15lb mainline and flouro hook length incongruously fitted with a tiny reed stem float with a dendra worm writhing beneath. Sounds odd I know, but I honestly couldn't see any other combination in my kitbag which would have allowed me to hook and hold a large carp just feet from the reeds, platform legs and other hazards so close to the bank.

And do you know what - it worked! The worm went in a few times just a metre or so to the left and right of the platform in front of me. One or two of the big girls sailed straight past it, and then whoosh - the float buried, I struck carefully, and off went a strong, strong fish.

Since I was basically fishing with what felt like a broom handle and tow rope, I imagine I could have bossed the fish a bit more than I did. But it had been quite a while since I'd caught a real cracker and I certainly didn't want to risk a hook pull at this stage. I'd also never used kit like this in anger before, so softly softly was the order of the day.

Once I had the fish heading away from the margin I was content to carefully back wind and give it some space out in front of me from which to make a couple of determined runs, before slipping the net under it five minutes later, quite literally shaking with happiness. I can't quite put my finger on why, but there is simply nothing else in fishing quite like stalking and catching a big fish from right under your feet.

And this margin-caught mirror carp was a beauty. Not as heavy as I'd initially thought at 'only' 9lbs 5ozs, but it was as picture-perfect a fish as you could wish for - lean and strong, intricately scaled and rose-hued in the already-strong morning sun.

A thoroughly enjoyable morning followed, albeit one that could never quite live up to that joyous start. Once it became clear that the margin fish had moved on, I set up on a neighbouring peg and put a more normal carp rig out just a couple of rod lengths to my left. That worked a treat and I had a 6lb common carp on the mat before I could even rig up a second rod.

When I finally got to that second rod, it was a traditional feeder with 'deads' on the hook in the hope of roach or bream. It produced taps, liners and a couple of missed bites, but as the bobbin on my sleeper rod danced indecisively up and down for the remainder of the morning it became clear that the bream had moved in and taken a fancy to my close-in pellet and boilie offering instead.

I landed three of them in the end, the largest just over 4lbs, to finish the morning with: a notional 'bag' of around 25lbs; a multitude of birding 'ticks' including a cuckoo and a pair of fly-by oystercatchers; and a silly grin, still plastered all over my face.


Bazal peck said...

That has made my day ......

The oyster catchers reside at the nearby Meadowlands fishery old chap and you can often hear their shrills through the day .....

Well in ....

Bazal Peck

Hornet said...

It quite made my day too, as you can probably tell.

Huge thanks - I have to say I'm more than impressed with the quality of the virtual guiding you can get on Blogger!

I did wonder whether those oystercatchers were the Brandon Marsh pair (which I presume are nesting as normal) or evidence of another local pair - now I know.

I'm going to give Jubilee a rest for a couple of weeks now, but I feel that bit better equipped with ideas to tackle it. Next time I think the second rod will be set with a sliding float to try and find some of those roach that keep being mentioned...