Hoveland is something of a hidden gem in my local area - it endures in plain sight, but it is little fished, despite holding a good many double-figure carp, - perhaps to thirty pounds.
Fishing with my brother Dave today (October 8, 2016), we started off full of happy expectations, and we were not disappointed. We were soon into fish - I caught eight carp including five doubles, - which is an outrageous result for me during a day session. It wasn't really deserved, actually; I was doing nothing different. But it was also, in fact, my personal best for the number of doubles in a day. They were all chunky carp, - rather rotund, when viewed head on, and I do suspect a touch of "Leney" in the mix, somewhere. The day's best fish - a 14lb 2oz common, surprised us when we weighed it, because we both thought it might only go 12lbs or so - which just goes to show how wrong one can be. The most memorable carp for me, however, was a double figure mirror, which put all the commons to shame when it came to a dogged fight. My arm was actually aching when Dave, great brother that he is, slipped the net under it for me.
I caught all my fish off the top - on bread - which pleases me in one respect and disappoints me in another. I have been experimenting with surface techniques and theory more and more in recent times, but I don't want to become a one trick pony. At the close of the afternoon, I switched to sight-bobbed prawns but, having bumped one fish off on the strike, and having lost another due to a hook pull, after two seconds, I realised I was getting tired and that my concentration was waning. It was time to go home.
Dave's method was a clever one, and he fully deserved a really good fish. He used a small feeder, with liquidised bread to create a food cloud. The hook-bait was usually bread - crust or flake, popped up, in the midst of that food cloud. For indication he used a quiver tip - an option with his Avon-type rod. He caught four carp this way - to high single figures, and his chance for a really good carp came right at the end, where the quiver tip wrenched round - and he was broken on the strike, despite stout line and a rod with plenty of cushion. There was a huge swirl - almost the size of a round dinner table. It was a very good fish, I think, and it was only bad luck that deprived him of a very memorable capture.
I can't help wondering now if the line had been slightly frayed during his earlier battles with the carp he caught today? It only takes one tiny weak spot, after all...
However, it was still a most enjoyable fishing session for us both, on a dry, slightly overcast autumnal day; and the experience was made all the more enjoyable by the constant presence of the farm terrier, who is a lovable old soul and, like us, is utterly fascinated by fish.
Unfortunately, he runs to the landing nets and actively tries to bite any carp he can find, - so you have to watch him! I must report, for the record, that he failed to sink his fangs into any carp today, thank goodness!