The wind that welcomed me to Fennes Fishery on Saturday morning was full of vim and vigour, a constant south-westerly of about 20mph with plenty of gusts beyond that. While the right-hand bank would be bathed in whatever sunshine we got throughout the day, this was not day for fishing a waggler into the wind.
Instead I hunkered down behind my brolly on the left-hand bank; a decision I didn't once regret as the sun came and went and came again, showers blasted through, and the wind only relented for the final hour.
A sleeper rod was quickly out to within a couple of metres of the island ahead, territory which had handily been brought into catapult range by the wind at my back.
After a brief spell trying some new boilies, I was back on the tried-and-tested pellet and corn combination, a good move as it turned out. On a day on which the many alarms around the lake lay mainly silent, mine pipped and peeped with reasonable regularity. A number of dropped runs were frustrating, but I did pick up a nice bream and a pair of chunky 3 or 4lb carp, probably F1s, in a quickfire double around lunchtime.
Meanwhile, the waggler fishing was giving me plenty to think about. Fishing off a slight ledge at about 10m, I was able to bring in a string of smallish perch on worm (the best probably 10oz), a handful of skimmers and a couple of roach on worm/corn and worm/maggot combos. A bonus carp, again around the 3lb mark, sealed a thoroughly enjoyable session on a day which everyone had found hard going.
Sunday morning at nearby Rayne Lodge was an altogether different animal. The wind remained from the south-west, but it had now faded to a whispering breeze on the warmest, sunniest of May mornings. Rayne Lodge is stuffed, many would no doubt argue overstuffed, with carp, and they would almost certainly be feeding well on such a morning. But even so, I knew from previous experience that the best of the action would be on the windward side of the two-acre lake.
|A typical Rayne Lodge common carp: long and lean, |
this one a touch over 4lbs
It was easy to see why everyone had walked past it. It was cramped, with tight overhead branches crowding in, and while most other swims were already warm in the morning sun, this one was still cool, if not cold, in the shadow of a huge conifer. But it had exactly what I was looking for - a horrible soupy scum pressed by that gentle westerly into the left hand corner margin. Not great to look at; at times a bit, well, yucky, to fish in; but a rich soup of nutrients which would act as a magnet to the fish all morning.
And so it proved. I was fairly confident that it would be almost impossible not to catch, so unusually for me I set myself targets: a match-style average of a fish every ten minutes for the first three hours, then a few off the top in the last 90 minutes or so.
And it all went like clockwork :-)
Starting with a tiny BB waggler in the margin I took carp after carp, all between 1 and 3lb, as well as a couple of lovely crucians. When the soupy swim to my left became overrun with extraordinarily pale roach, I switched to the willow tree to my right to pick up a couple more 3lb carp.
After three hours I had 19 fish in the virtual net, and I could barely see the surface of the water for the number of pairs of carp lips that were sucking at the surface debris in front of me. Time for Plan B!
And is there anything more fun than taking carp off the top with bread crust?
A new 1.75lb specimen rod proved perfect for the task, coupled with with a small controller float, a size 10 hook and a small chunk of Warburton's crust.
I catapulted out a few loose offerings to get them going, then got stuck in. I'll spare you the blow-by-blow account; suffice it to say that I missed a few (ooh) and hit a few (ahh), had a wonderful time, and banked my best three fish of the day - two common carp at four pounds and a lovely rose-pink mirror at 6lb 6oz.
So 22 fish in all, about 50lb in that 'net', and the only frustration on a fun-packed morning being when the camera phone packed in and stopped me photographing the best fish of the day. As a fishing experience it had absolutely nothing in common with the rock hard winter I've had on the River Leam, and it did feel odd more or less catching fish to order. But sod it - sometimes a little of what you fancy really does do you good.