Regular readers of "The Gnome" will know how much I love commons; but fully scaled mirrors really get my pulse racing too. They might not be quite so rare on every water, but on
The Other Pool, they are as rare as rocking horse poo. In fact, I've only caught one other fully scaled mirror from that particular pool - and it was larger than the one I caught today, - but I'm not complaining! I barely deserved that fish today, in fact;
and the only reason I caught it was because, at the last moment, I decided to overcome apathy and try for it.
The day started well enough.
A space on the dam had been cleared - just enough for a rod and net. There were carp off the dam, - very close in, and of course I thought of margin crust. The trouble was, I was still fishing over a half-submerged
bush, (which is growing out from the earthen dam). My rod tip just couldn't reach out far enough for a crust to be lowered where I wanted it to be. Yes, there was a gap through the bush, which would allow for netting - but those carp were on the other
side of the bush, so to speak, to my right.
I cast out a ball of flake and, sure enough, within 15 minutes it was taken by a carp, perhaps a double, which did the 'sinking
below the surface and holding the bait between the lips' routine. I missed on the strike, naturally, and every carp at the dam just melted away. One hour later, they still hadn't returned, and so I moved on, to the bay.
There I missed two "sitter" takes on sight-bobbed prawn. I then noticed a good carp patrolling the edge of the rushes, in front of me. It was a good, efficient cast with a ball of flake - around 25 metres or
more, and I landed the bait right in a little inlet in the reeds. The flake was taken, and I had a reasonable action plan in mind when it came to playing that hooked fish, (which was probably a mid-double). I walked to one side: keeping a low side-strain,
to hassle the carp away from a row of sunken, blackened tree stumps. (I suspect, through map research, that the pool was once a quarry in a Victorian orchard, and those relic tree stumps have cost me two good fish in the past, actually.) The fish was eased
away from the danger, only to turn and plunge through sunken branches and brambles in the far margin. Everything went solid. The fish had gone. When I pulled for a break I managed to retrieve my hook, which came back attached to a large chunk of dead wood.
Demoralised, I decided to try sight-bobbed prawns again - and I managed to catch three rather small commons, (which I believe explains the two missed bites earlier on).
I caught the fully-scaled mirror after I noticed it, - nosing its way towards me, looking for stray crusts, no doubt, of which there were one or two. I was tired and wet and soaked - the chilly
rain had been more or less relentless, although it had stopped by the afternoon; I could easily have let the moment slip; I almost wanted to: but my crust rod was still set up, beside me, and I cast for that fish. The take was nearly instantanous and I found
myself back-winding a powerful carp that fought deep to begin with.
When it rolled before the net I was delighted to see its golden, shielded body, - like a crazy person's
jigsaw for a common carp, where the plan has been mislaid and the end result is part inspiration, part guesswork, with those bold, outlandish,out-sized plates: the beauty of the fully scaled mirror, which is a very rare visitor to my landing net, - more's