Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Carp on crust.
Carp fishing isn't exactly a 'last resort' for me but if I'm honest I'd generally be at the coast or on the river bank if conditions were suitable. I suppose it's just what I'm used to and the fact that, when I'm carp fishing, it is more likely that I'll find someone already in the spot that I want to fish - always a bit off-putting.
Anyway, the other day I decided to spent a couple of hours in the afternoon trying to tempt a carp. I fished out a bag of bread crusts from the freezer (why have I just started to freeze these baits? They are just as good as fresh crusts). My rod was already set up with a strong, size 6 barbless hook tied direct to the line, so I grabbed the bag, donned my wellies and set off. When I arrived at the club lakes there were already half-a-dozen cars parked but with four, decent sized lakes that wasn't a problem. I intended fishing lily pad swims, so I walked round until I came to the first suitable spot. I put down the bag and baited the hook while I watched the lily leaves for any movement that might indicate the presence of a carp. Not a sign! I'm an impatient sort of angler so I opted to try anyway. Selecting a suitable gap in the leaves I swung the big lump of crust out, pendulum fashion, lowered it into the hole, laid the rod down and slowly turned the reel handle until the line hung in a slight bow from rod to bait.
I didn't bother giving the fish free offerings of loose crusts because I wanted any carp which might decide to feed to eat the bait on my hook. Now for the wait. To my amazement it was only five minutes before I saw the lily leaves shaking and moving as a fish approached the spot where my crust lay. I placed a hand over the rod and held my breath - this is the most exciting moment when you're carping. In textbook fashion a pair of big, rubbery lips opened by the bait and with a loud slurp sucked it in, the line tightened, the rod was dragged forward and down and the clutch began to zuzz. Fantastic!
Holding the rod I staggered to my feet and piled on the pressure to lift the carp up to the surface. It came, thrashing and pulling hard. I swung the rod to my left and dragged the fish out of the lily bed into open water. Now it should be easy. The carp, clearly a good one, fought hard and several times it dragged yards of line from the reel against heavy pressure but eventually it tired and I was able to slide it into the net. As it lay in the meshes I leaned over and took my little digital camera from the bag. After one picture I decided that it was worth trying to get a selfie. With the net handle firmly fixed under my boot I was able to screw the camera onto it's little, flexible tripod, set the timer, pick up the carp and hold it up for a picture before measuring its length (66cm from the snout to the fork of the tail) and returning it to the water. Magic!
I picked up my gear and moved on to the next patch of lilies - nothing! Three times I repeated my move with the same result. Time was running out so I decided to return to where I'd caught the fish. To my amazement, again within a few minutes, another decent fish took the crust but this one came unstuck before I could get it out of the vegetation. Pity. When I got home I checked the weight/length graph on my computer. The fish had been fat and in good condition so it was at least 27 pounds in weight and probably a bit more. A really satisfying afternoon.
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Rod and lily pads. Extracting the fish can be tricky.
Phew! Once it was in the net I could relax.
The 'selfie' came out pretty well considering the excitement.