What a difference a week makes - the sunny weather has turned the canals green with algae and the duckweed is taking over, combined with more boat activity, spotting carp has got a lot more difficult. But I wanted another one to prove to myself the first wasn’t a fluke...
It took a lot of miles to find two feeding fish. Stalking them as they used the duckweed for cover, eventually the smaller one made a mistake. Great fight and a 8lb 15oz common was in the net - job done - but his pal looked like a mid-double - I’ll be back...
Fishing at range or in the wind I'm using a rig I’m playing with on the local pond:
The float sits the correct way up in the water, the small shot sinks the line between the rod and float, and the bread then floats about 6 foot beyond the float.
I cast well past the feeding fish, avoiding the ‘plop’ that gives the game away - and gently wind the bread into the carp’s path.
An added advantage is you can watch the float, once it moves you know the carp has taken the bread properly, not just mouthing it.
Or just use a controller float, but that doesn’t sound as good as an upside-down rig!
The only way I was going to catch a canal carp was by leaving the lures at home - even faced with a bunch of feeding double figure carp I am distracted by a jack, time and time again!
On Friday afternoon I set out searching the canal for carp. Lures ditched, kit was a size 2 micro barbed hook to 6 foot of invisible 12lb line to my 10lb mainline - even for me this was traveling light.
And I found about a dozen carp spread over about 5 miles. I convinced a couple to take my floating bread, and struck too quickly both times! Then, as the light was failing, I spotted something special...
Saturday morning I was back - and I found her exactly where I left her. And followed her for about half a mile, flicking a piece of bread in front of her - she sniffed it about 6 times before making a mistake!
I can’t describe how hard she fought, tearing up the muddy bottom as I followed along behind, dragging the net along with my foot - then disaster, she went though a roll of wire and was completely snagged...
I was tempted to go in after her - but it was a 12 foot jump down into water that is polluted enough to put me in hospital - I had to trust the micro-barb and waited the longest 2 minutes for her to swim out.
She still made a fight of it but found the net - my first canal carp and my first thirty! Until I put her on the scales, but at 28lb 12oz I couldn’t care less about those 20 ounces - what a beauty!
Massive thanks to a passing Kiran for the photo (after several photos of his thumb). So my PB didn’t last a week, I’ve christened my new net - and James; I’ve temporarily stolen your canal carp crown..!
I didn’t bother to fish on, my day couldn’t get any better - time for a celebratory pint. OK, the stunning topless lady who walked past me on route to the pub was pretty cool. But what a fish!
Another traditional pre-season post when I haven’t stopped fishing, the closed season has included 3 pike, 12 carp, 4 crucians, loads of tench & bream and two personal best trout - including that monster 10lb 15oz brownie - fish of the season already wrapped up?
I never seem to stick to my prematch game - but plans are in place for pike, barbel, more double carp with an eye on a beating my new PB and some sharks! But need to set a traditional season challenge... Let’s see - Pike Challenge 2018 - target 50 pike this season.
I’m not one for bait ‘n’ wait so it was quite a surprise when I found myself sat behind two rods for a 24 hour carp session, hoping to add another carp (or two) to my doubles count.
On the reservoir with James and Richard, and after a 7am draw we had three swims in a row - which was pretty lucky. We cast out some baits, began cremating food and talking rigs...
Both James and myself tend to stalk fish, but Richard has an extensive knowledge of the latest carp rigs and bait. It was an alien world of boilies, glugs, pva bait-socks, wafters and thing-a-ma-jigs!
The technique I was most interested in was the zig rig, I’ve never tried it. Richard tied me one up - basically fishing a 6 foot pop-up in 8 foot of water. And after a slow day a single beep signalled a fish...
A carp had hit the zig fished against the island and provided a hell of a fight on my 10lb line. Eventually steered into the waiting net - a beautiful, ancient mirror and a new PB of 20lb 8oz - fantastic!
It had taken 12 hours for one bite but my session was made. Elsewhere it was slow going, James had manage a couple of small fish off the top - but as day turned to night they weren’t playing.
It was a quite night all round the lake, Richard landed a new PB stillwater bream just as the sun rose - but that was the last of the action - the carp were just sunbathing, not interested in feeding.
On another day we might have had more, but a new PB is always brilliant - so big thanks to Richard and James. Back to stalking but I think there will be a couple more bait ‘n’ waits this summer...