I've come to realise that I'm a short-session merchant; a long session for me is two nights in a tent, and most of my angling sessions are day sessions, in fact, of up to eight hours. As a result,
most of the techniques I've developed and dabbled with over the past seven years or so - from sight bobs to the flake bomb - are meant to get quick responses from fish I have spotted already; - not for me "the setting of the traps", which usually means a long
wait with self-hooking rigs;....regular readers of this site will know how I like to find my fish and, when and if a take occurs, I make the strike. Concentration, then, is everything.
is all well and good in spring, summer and early autumn: but yesterday (November 5) at Hoveland, I almost found myself wishing for a semi-fixed bolt rig and a buzzer, as I sat on the little dam in the teeth of an Artic wind. It was so very cold (with even
- believe it or not - one brief flurry of snow, totally unforecast) - a split on my upper lip began to pour with blood and a mysterious cut on my left hand took ages to stop bleeding. Winter, it is fair to say, had arrived. Needless to say, no one else was
The water was gin clear - with no signs at all that the carp had been stirring up the bloodworm beds in recent days. I could see much of the bottom at the extreme shallows - with
no glimpses of carp there- and so I picked one spot off the dam which is a known feeding area and which is slightly deeper than the rest of the pool.
For a rig I used a float-ledger set up,
- a bodied-waggler held down with a quarter ounce bomb. This weight was necessary because of the considerable "chop" on the water - an endless sequence of little wavelets - I say little, you could often hear the smack of the water against the dam's boulders.
For bait, I used a large piece of bread-flake on a size four, and I glugged this in honey, as an added attraction.
I was so cold, and the wind was so strong, it was hard to cast with any accuracy
- but I found the spot and settled down as best I could. On a few occasions, the tip of the bodied-waggler rose slightly - but was this down to rocking water, shifting the little bomb? Suddenly, the float wasn't there anymore, and I found I had struck into
a fish. A miracle!
It's odd, even while I was playing that carp, I knew it would be my only fish of the day and I prayed the hook would hold, of course. As it happened, the hook
was neatly in one corner of the mouth - which, for some reason, appears to be the norm with a float-ledger rig. The common seemed quite weighty as I swung it out, and I thought it might just be a scraper double - but the imperious scale said 9lb 7oz.
A modest reward, perhaps, for such wintry bankside suffering!
But needless to say, I was most grateful for that carp, all considered.