As I clocked off the night shift at 10am, my thoughts turned to the relaxing afternoon I was planning to spend lakeside, melting in the serenity of a balmy July afternoon.
As it turned out I ended up in Ikea, then Lidl… and then my mother turned up. I did manage to get to the lake by 5.00pm, but all hope of de-stressing was lost as the sky darkened and raindrops began hitting the water.
Nevertheless, out came the rods and up went the umbrella. I was determined to get a few hours in at least. As it happened the lake was pretty busy. Lots of ne’er do wells clearly fishing for the table and not a bailiff in sight. Thankfully all the tracksuits I eyeballed seem to have blanked and went home as the rain got heavier, leaving their signature carrier bags full of rubbish and empty beer cans behind. Apparently plans are afoot to fence off the lake and allow member access only – hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later, though I will miss chewing the fat with responsible types who walk around the lakes for recreational pleasure.
An eel on the first cast seemed appropriate. I wasn’t in a good mood. I then got a brief lift from a nice perch which I didn’t weigh, but I suspect was around 1 3/4lb. Much better.
I was fishing close in with both rods due to a lot of tow on the lake. The aerator was on and peg 11 (not one I usually fish due to there being little in the way of structure) was very near to it. To be honest, I don’t enjoy using the quiver tip. I much prefer the float and I think I’ll probably stick to float and float from now on rather than mixing it up. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing, but on this particular lake the quiver just doesn’t compare productivity wise to the float. I also enjoy being able to give my attention to just the one rod. Two is nice if you’re running baitrunners for pike and you can sit back and relax, but neck ache shouldn’t be part of anyone’s relaxation regime.
I digress. So the perch went back and I continued to bait around the float using a single dendrobena for around 30 mins, having only caught the eel and the perch. Then I called my wife.
Calling the wife is a tried and tested method of getting a bite. I can guarantee that if bites are slow or not coming at all, my lucky charm will do the business for me. Tonight she came through for me superhero style. As we chatted about things to buy for the house, my float started slowly moving in a fairly large circle. I thanked her for the luck she’d bestowed upon me and she laughed and hung up.
Striking into the fish, I thought I was snagged. The rod tip careened around and the drag screamed as my little pellet waggler bowed to try and halt the by now 30 yards away fish, all to no avail. Out it went into the lake and back it came, slamming into the rod rest and pushing past the quiver tip’s tip, then back out again. It wasn’t surging, just running with the occasional drag jarring jolt. After 10 minutes, whatever it was began to tire and I started slowly hauling it back to the bank. I hadn’t seen what it was, but I knew it was big.
As I raised the rod tip to see what I’d caught I could see it was easily my PB carp. Please bear in mind I’m not a carp fisherman, so for me this is a pretty big deal. I eventually managed to get it into the net (which was far too small) and hauled it out of the water, net handle creaking with the strain.
PB carp in the bag. 11lb 2oz of very much chuffedness. Not bad for 6lb line and a size 12 hook. Also another one off the bucket list!
The rain by now was coming down very heavily, so I hunkered down beneath the brolly for the next hour and a half and watched the world go by. The swim was effectively destroyed by the crashing fish and other than a few nibbles I got nothing else until around 8.30pm. I’d swapped the float and quiver around to take advantage of a small bit of cover right at my feet and was getting hammered by gudgeon and fry, my float wibbling and wobbling and doing little else. ‘I know’, I thought, ‘I’ll pop on a single maggot and have a little fun’.
On went the maggot and within seconds of it hitting bottom the float slid under. I struck once more into a brick wall. Out into the middle of the lake went the fish and then back into my quiver line, almost dragging the other rod into the lake with it. I battled it for a good 6 or 7 minutes before the hook pulled, but I did get eyes on it. It was a mirror of probably 9 or 10lb.
With that, and with line everywhere and my fingers numb from the cold rain it was time to call it a night. A strange night, but a weirdly productive one too.