13 August 2012

'Munters' in the margin

On its first outing, my new pole had proved highly effective at emptying the Leam of perch and roach. But since it says 'Carp Margin' in big letters on the side, and the worryingly macho marketing material suggests it is perfect for 'taming munters in the margin' (whatever they may be), it seemed appropriate that its next tour of duty should take place somewhere I could put those promises to the test.

Stockton Reservoir seemed ideal. It's a fishery I've always enjoyed, particularly in the summer months. It's very close to home, full of double-figure carp and a good head of silvers, and, on two sides at least, it strikes a good balance between commercial style fishing (gravel paths, wooden platforms and high stocking levels) and a mature, natural environment including lots of planting in those all-important margins.

5lb 11oz, a nice start...
I started my early morning session using the tactic that had always served me well here, a small method feeder. Barely had the second cast settled when the rod wrapped round and I was into a 5lb 11oz mirror carp - lively enough to give my small bomb rod a good work out.

However, that was the last of the wrap rounds. Instead I started getting plucks, shudders and violent little snatches - behaviour I had seen on a recent session in Devon. Then as now it was roach to blame, delicately plucking meat from the hair rig without getting hooked - and then as now I proved it by foul hooking one of them as it tried to swim away. I made a couple of tweaks, and a shorter hook length helped me pick up a nice couple of crucial carp (to 1lb 7oz).

But the carp seemed to have moved on so it was definitely time to switch to the left hand margin that I had been priming with hemp and meat cubes - and time to get that pole out.

the main event - and my carp pb is
now the same as my pole pb!
The result was even more instantaneous than the method feeder. The rig went in, the float went down, and suddenly I was hanging on for dear life to what would turn out to be a pristine 11lb 4oz mirror carp. And it really didn't want to meet me.

To be honest a fish like this, caught so close in, can be a pig to land on a rod and line. It turns out that on a pole it can be many, many times harder. I'd read all the books and gathered all the advice about playing big fish on the pole, but when it comes down to it, if an angry double figure carp which is full of energy on a warm August day chooses to make a fight of it, all you can really do is let the elastic absorb run after run and wait until, eventually, he gets tired.

It took perhaps half an hour for me to finally scoop the net underneath the fish, by which time I was physically exhausted and mentally shredded. The main problem was not knowing what the kit was capable of - exactly how much pressure could I apply to bring him to the surface without pole, elastic or line coming under threat of breaking? To make matters even more complicated, I was acutely aware that I was fishing a relatively slender size 16 hook and a 3lb 8oz breaking strain hook length (to make sure that any breakage would definitely be there, and avoid any risk of a fish being left towing a float rig or pole section around). I felt instinctively that the whole set up should be strong enough to bring the fish in (eventually) - I just couldn't be sure!

To be honest I wasn't sorry that this wonderful mirror was to be the last carp of the day - I'm not sure I could have coped with another so soon afterwards. Instead the roach moved in, and I switched my attention to my ongoing quest for a pound plus roach. The general run of fish picking up the luncheon meat bait was the right side of half a pound, but when I hit 12oz and 13oz fish in quick succession I felt sure the prize was to hand. As my appointed hour of departure approached I finally struck into a roach capable of stretching that heavy carp elastic and I drew what I felt sure was a one pound fish over my landing net.

oooh, so close - a bit battered but
the closest I've come to the pound yet
Fifteen ounces. Fifteen. I was gutted but still happy all at once. It wasn't the fish I was hoping for, but that left me free to reflect on the magnificent mirror carp that had earlier helped me give the 'Munter tamer' a proper workout.

And now, next time at Stockton, I can clear my mind ready for a proper run at the big roach I'm sure are in there.


Jeff Hatt said...

That pound plus roach will come.

Have you thought about other canals? North Oxford and Coventry Canal roach average a pound, and pound plus is likely any time. Not easy to catch though.

The avon at Lucy's Mill throws up a pound plus roach every time I fish it, often two or three in a few hours.

Bread all the way though. Maggots are next to useless.

Hornet said...

I'll have to do some research on those waters, thanks Jeff.

And I must spend more time fishing bread. It was luncheon meat at Stockton, largely because the roach must spend most of their time eating the huge amount of carp baits going in - including all that meat.

Jeff Hatt said...

I see. Never caught a roach on meat before.

I did fish Stockton once after crucians and had a lot of roach up to 12oz and rudd the same size too. They never looked like peaking much over though.

Lemington Lakes has lots of roach over a pound. Martin Roberts and I have had ten or so over a pound and a few around a pound and half. Their Abbey Lake is the best bet. I fed caster for a couple of hours two rods out then fished over it. The carp are a problem though!

Hornet said...

Jeff, that's a brilliant idea. I'd heard of Lemington lakes but not looked at them properly - I can't believe how close they are! Abbey sounds perfect, perhaps for a trip this September. Thanks for the nod. You'd pick caster over bread there?

fishermanrichard. said...

On our carp lake big roach take boilies ment for carp some over 2.lb Worth a thought?

Nice Blog will follow.


Call in if you get time?

Hornet said...

Thanks Richard, will do.