I managed to catch my first carp of 2017 today, which was a distinct relief, after two somewhat dispiriting blanks. Not catching really shouldn't matter all that much; but after the rosy fireside dreams of winter,
the reality of actually putting carp on the bank can come as a harsh reality check.
There was no time to buy in the special particles I've mentioned, and so I opted for the time-hallowed staple of red maggots,
with bread as a back up. Needless to say, no-one else was fishing the pool and it seemed as if nobody had fished it for months - which was probably the case. This too was my first session of the year at The Other Pool. My two blanks came elsewhere: including
an especially disappointing one at Hoveland, where I missed three good takes, at least, and started to wonder if, somehow, I'd forgotten how to strike properly over the winter lay-off! As I say, the rosy dreams of winter and the harsh reality of another year...
Returning to today at The Other Pool. I set up a pretty sophisticated rig on the island - a kind of cross between the lift method and a sight-bob, with cunning use of float stops and rig-putty; - and I created a kind of Medusa
effect for the hookbait, by cramming as many maggots as I could on a size 6 Nash gaper hook. I catapulted maggots and some casters around the sight-bob and awaited events....and I waited...and I waited...
there have been otters at the pool, and so I wonder if the critters have actually been launching themselves from the island? That at least would explain the distinct absence of carp in what is usually an excellent albeit tricky swim.
At last I decided to go stalking, up at the dam corner - also extremely overgrown but usually home to one or two fish. I spotted three by the overhanging willow, but to reach them with floating crust required a bizarre little flick of a cast around
a little tree - another willow, as it happens. To be honest, I had no clear idea how I would actually land a fish from that spot; and so it was probably a good thing when I missed a surface take from what was clearly a decent carp - a mirror, I think, from
what I could see.
I ended up in the bay - more in desperation than with any real hope. I used a simple sight-bob rig, with the big bunch of maggots as the bait. I catapulted two small pouchfuls of free offerings
around the sight-bob and I sat back to muse and to ponder.
More that one hour later, the sight-bob twitched twice and then vanished. The gorgeous common on the other end seemed to be semi-comatose, as it simply
rolled around somewhat aimlessly on the surface for the first half-minute. It only woke up when I poked the big net out - and then I had a spirited battle on my hands, at last, in quite a snaggy spot. I was having to watch the time too, while all this was
happening, because my wife had arranged to pick me up from a nearby rural church at 4pm sharp....
I was relieved that I managed to net, photograph and return the fish with just minutes to spare. It wasn't a large
fish - just slightly over average for the pool; but my goodness, it was a fine-looking common, and to me worth its fishy weight in gold.