Isn’t it good to escape from Christmas, with its rich food and the alcohol, and to go fishing instead? I picked my moment. Today, January 2nd, brought in ‘a weather window’
to Herefordshire, with light winds and sunny spells promised. The only problem was getting to Clay Farm Pond by foot. The little river was over its banks and it was the colour of hot chocolate, due to the rains the night before.
I could not use the little bridge and cross the usual fields to my destination. Instead, I had to use the local roads, one of which was half-flooded itself. This was a nuisance, but didn’t add too much
to my journey.
I arrived to find the pool the colour of chocolate, as the feeding spring gushed and gurgled in beneath the willows. Nothing moved, in terms of fish; and for
two hours, apart from a few twitches, my little sight-bob float declined to slide across and under the surface. I began to despair, but I need not have worried. At around noon the tiny bob twitched and shot away, as something took a fancy to the broken-up
prawns. It was a small common. In fact it was a day of small commons, with the exception of a small mirror; but I was pleased to catch seven carp in total, and one rudd, - even though the largest carp I hooked today threw the hook at the net. (I didn’t
swear, - well, not much!)
No, the day pleased me not only because of the tally, but because I think I’ve learnt something new. You see, after I caught the first carp
I was being plagued with twitches from time to time and I was sure that carp were the culprits. The trouble was, I was also sure that those carp were semi-comatose and not really feeding at such. I’d found a cache of winter carp, but I suspected that
they were moving around very, very slowly indeed, and occasionally sucking and blowing at my bait in a rather aimless fashion.
The sight bob I was using would be suitable
for brook trout on the dry fly, and I was sure that the twitches were not down to any resistance the carp were feeling. There was no resistance to feel. Instead, the bob was merely showing me what was actually going on below, and how the fish were responding
to my bait and free offerings, - somewhat sluggishly, it seemed!
It occurred to me then that a sight-bob, while serving the same basic function as a float, is fundamentally
different to a float in that the impetus with a float is always towards it rising and, if it rises enough, lying flat on the surface. The tiny bob is already on the surface – and it’s so small it is critically balanced in that any pull or weight
below the bob will take it across the surface and under, as trout men know well. I decided to use this property of the sight bob, while having the traditional lift method in mind. With the traditional lift method, of course, the moving of a shot from the bottom
causes the buoyant float to rise. But if you fish like this with a sight-bob instead, the moving of the shot off the bottom will cause the bob to sink – and very suddenly too! Well, this is what I did today – and the bites were sudden, dramatic
and largely unmissable. I even nailed the rudd in the top lip with my size six Nash Fang Twister hook!
The bob goes under, I think, not due to the direct movement of the fish
but because the fish has sucked in the bait and in doing so the shot is momentarily lifted from the bottom. It is the weight of the shot and the ‘jolt’ of the shot that takes the sight-bob under. Every carp I caught today, apart from the first,
was hooked in the top lip – showing that I was striking as promptly as I possibly could, thanks to the rig’s sensitivity and the dramatic nature of the bites.
was very effective, and now I just need to try this method out on some larger carp: but that, I suppose, depends on the English weather!