Weather reports shouldn't really be trusted, should they? Today it was supposed to be a mild March day, with temperatures up to 12 degrees Celsius (hah!) but in my neck of the woods,
winter was keen to make a return in the shape of a chilling East wind. Yes, I was cold, and I didn't feel too confident either, even though I was setting up at Woodside, which is a decent water for wintry conditions. Sometimes you can even take them off the
top when it is near freezing!
Now to a confession. After ten years without using the hair, I am allowing myself to use the hair, if I so choose. It will be for hard baits,
really, and I will not be using heavy leads for self-hooking rigs etc. But I feel that, if anyone has deserved the right to experiment in a 'new' direction, after a decade of not using the hair, then I'm that angler! I wouldn't have missed the last ten years
for anything, in terms of fishing pleasure, because I do feel that I've gained insight of what the early carp anglers had to contend with, and as a result I have become a better angler than I was, with far more 'tricks' up my sleeve, - because my own angling
has developed and progressed in fresh directions. I hope this 'hair today' confession doesn't upset or disappoint anyone. For myself, I realise I have been running the risk of signalling 'no-hair' virtue at the risk of making some other anglers feel bad about
their own style of fishing - and, if so, that is unacceptable, isn't it? Don't get me wrong, however - the hair will not be my first choice on any water.
So what about
today? My first fish fell to a popped-up, hair-rigged scopex boilie, heavily glugged, and fished in conjunction with the sight-bob rig. Seeing the sight-bob slide away seemed so unlikely, on such a cold and windy March day, it was a delight to see it happen.
That fish was small but it bent the rod and was a gorgeous star-burst mirror. However, carp started to come in close, and my second carp of the day, a small common, fell to the margin crust technique, as pioneered by Richard Walker, with no line at all lying
on the surface. I noticed, however, that the larger fish were not coming in quite so close, and also that they were shying away from even free offerings of crust. My solution was to squeeze a ball of flake onto my size six hook, so that it would only just
float. Like an iceberg, most of the flake was actually below the surface. I cast it about five yards out, between trees. This worked a treat, in that a high-single leather - a known fish at the pool, came up and sipped the offering in. I would love to report
that my vintage Alpha Carp rod and Mitchell 300A took a close range battering - but they did not. The leather seemed rather comotose and barely fought, compared with the two smaller fish, but I wasn't complaining. I suppose the satisfaction I can take from
today is the fact I used tackle, rigs and approaches from across a wide spectrum - from techniques that the Carp Catchers' Club would have recognised, to modern boilies and the hair-rig. I have to point out, however, it was simple freelined bread which fooled
the best fish of the day!