Pecky’s Progress

Dar­rell lim­bers up for his au­tum­nal Euro ad­ven­tures on a whis­tle-stop tour of Bel­gium with a cam­era crew on standby, the last of his Korda du­ties for a while...

Carpworld - - MAINLINE - Dar­rell Peck

Once I am fin­ished typ­ing this, I have a com­pletely free cal­en­dar for the next eight weeks! This week I have been at home with the fam­ily and whilst the kids have been nap­ping I have been busy. I’ve had all the gear out in the gar­den, tidy­ing in readi­ness for au­tumn. The sleep­ing bag even got dragged up to the dry clean­ers and the tackle box, burst­ing with loads of lethal old rigs, got the au­tumn equiv­a­lent of a spring clean. It’s been a re­ally manic sum­mer with Korda, but now it is time I went fish­ing for my­self.

I am a selfish bas­tard at heart and I love noth­ing more than load­ing the van in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a long, solo ses­sion. More on that next month, but for now I have a lovely tale from three nights in Bel­gium last week. Last year, if you’re a reg­u­lar reader, you might re­mem­ber I went to Bel­gium twice, to fish on the canals with Derek Har­ri­son. The first ses­sion was a real eye opener in terms of just how rugged the Al­bert and V Canals are. In con­trast to this, the Kem­p­isch is a lovely look­ing Canal. The Al­bert and V are ex­tremely busy wa­ter­ways, used pri­mar­ily by mon­strous gravel­laden barges. The size of th­ese boats has to be seen to be be­lieved and it’s fair to say th­ese con­crete wa­ter­ways are not for the faint of heart. The Kem­p­isch though, is more sim­i­lar to UK canals, more in­ti­mate, less con­crete if you like, and lined with big beau­ti­ful oak trees. Full of ticks though, I might add. It’s prob­a­bly fair to say that they’re not at their peaks any more, but even hav­ing said that, be­tween the three canals, they prob­a­bly hold more 50s than the UK in its en­tirety. Not bad for the price of a Bel­gian rod li­cence I might add.

Last year, on the first week-long ses­sion, I fished three dif­fer­ent canals, catch­ing fish from each. With­out doubt though, the high­light had to be the cap­ture of the mir­ror known as The Mokka from the V-canal at 59lb 14oz. At the time, the high of the cap­ture clouded just how lucky I had been – as when I re­turned for round two, only one carp was caught in the whole of the week.

Since the start of the year this ses­sion had been in the cal­en­dar and I was to be film­ing a new se­ries called The Buzz. Ba­si­cally, film­ing me do­ing the fish­ing I would nor­mally do, wher­ever that may be. The first in­stal­ment was the cap­ture of the Co­conut from Bayes’ and for the sec­ond I had no idea of where to go. Last year I had been pretty close to catch­ing the big com­mon in a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of the Kem­p­isch.

Af­ter lo­cat­ing it in the edge and fish­ing for it, I said to Derek to move op­po­site... you can guess what hap­pened! With that close en­counter be­hind me, on the sec­ond ses­sion I came even closer. Af­ter find­ing fish in the edge and bait­ing lightly with tigers, I caught a nice 34lb com­mon. The cap­ture spooked the area a bit but later on when some good weather came in the fish be­gan

to feed quite heav­ily. The big­gest fish stood out like a sore thumb and I was on its case the whole time, ba­si­cally leap frog­ging it as it worked the edge. Af­ter a cou­ple of near misses, I had no­ticed a par­tic­u­lar pale spot it had shown at­ten­tion to and af­ter plac­ing a bal­anced tiger there it worked its way to it. I watched with my breath held as the rig was sucked in, fol­lowed by the tell­tale head knock as it ten­sioned into the lead. Got ya, or so I thought, but in that same in­stant a large head shake sent the rig and lead fly­ing off the spot. The fish knew it had nearly been in a whole load of trou­ble and with a few heavy swipes of its wilted tail all that was left was a cloud of mud.

Those two ses­sions had given me some con­fi­dence, so I de­cided I’d try and have an­other go for the same fish, ‘live’ on cam­era. We ar­rived on the Tues­day and the first thing I no­ticed was the colour of the wa­ter – pea green! The Kem­p­isch is gen­er­ally quite clear be­tween the boats pass­ing and that’s what makes it so ex­cit­ing as it is pos­si­ble to see them swim­ming. With­out ac­tu­ally see­ing fish the canals of­ten look very dead and it’s very hard for me to just sit still with­out ac­tu­ally see­ing fish. Hav­ing said all this I was fairly con­fi­dent the fish would be in the same area as be­fore – I had seen on In­sta­gram that Nick Helleur had caught a cou­ple re­cently from op­po­site where I had fished pre­vi­ously.

I was now torn in what was the best course of ac­tion. Derek kept say­ing I should come and jump on his spot on the V as he’d been bait­ing and catch­ing. It’s not my style to want to fish like that, but hav­ing not seen fish on the Kem­p­isch and the fact Derek was adamant we should fish there, it just seemed too good an op­por­tu­nity to pass up. My think­ing at that point was to bait a cou­ple of sec­tions on the Kem­p­isch. Firstly the area I pre­vi­ously men­tioned, but also an­other sec­tion that just looked par­tic­u­larly carpy. It had taken the best part of a day to drive over and walk and bait both spots (each of th­ese saw half a big bucket of mixed tigers and a 15mm test bait from Main­line).

By the time I reached Derek, I was sweaty and thirsty, so en route to him, I had col­lected a cus­tom­ary slab of Bel­gium’s favourite tip­ple, Jupiler – partly be­cause I love beer and was thirsty, but also be­cause I was a lit­tle ashamed to be jump­ing all over Derek’s hard work!

The rods were rigged up with heavy-duty 50lb sink­ing Arma-kord lead­ers and my stan­dard spin­ner rig with a tiger nut/plas­tic maize hook­bait. A wafter-style pre­sen­ta­tion that I thought suit­able, be­cause of the po­ten­tial for crays and all sorts of other crea­tures that like to whit­tle away your hook­baits. It re­ally was a lovely swim and a sim­ple short lob on one rod with a 6oz lead that cracked

down like Ian Botham had smacked one back at me on the full toss. Catty range with tigers... The other rod was then fished down the edge on a softer bot­tom but where Derek had caught his last fish.

A bream was the first vic­tim just on dark, then a 6lb com­mon around 2.30am and then a heron got tan­gled in my line at 3.30am. By the time I had re­placed the rod it was 4am and there seemed lit­tle point in go­ing back to bed. The film crew, Richard and Kevin, were both awake from the buzzer ac­tiv­ity and we sat up talk­ing and drink­ing tea. It’s funny but just as the words “We just need one fish to make the film a suc­cess” were said, one of the buzzers obliged. Im­me­di­ately, from the speed it set off at, I knew a carp was re­spon­si­ble and not want­ing to be cut off, I ran down the mar­gin with the rod be­fore fully tight­en­ing into it.

The fight was fairly un­spec­tac­u­lar but a carp from the V-canal wasn’t to be sniffed at, and I was soon look­ing in the net at a typ­i­cal pug­faced com­mon of 34lb. It was cer­tainly a very nice start to the film and later that af­ter­noon the same rod was away again. This one felt a lit­tle big­ger from the off. It is a crazy place, as you truly never know what could pop up next. I don’t mind ad­mit­ting my legs trem­bled a lit­tle as I caught glimpses of a nice wide com­mon. On the scales she weighted a gnat’s cock over 40lb. At that point the film was in the bag, two good fish de­liv­ered by Mr Har­ri­son but reeled in by yours truly.

I cy­cled the Kem­p­isch again a few times but be­cause of the clar­ity it was still im­pos­si­ble to see any­thing. I de­cided I’d let the bait do its thing for an­other night and stay put where I was.

The sec­ond night was quiet and in the morn­ing I again cy­cled over to the Kem­p­isch to the spot I had fished pre­vi­ously. The wa­ter was still green but as I stood peer­ing over where I had baited, I no­ticed a tail pat­tern. This mo­men­tar­ily cleared the al­gae enough for me to see the tail and the fish feed­ing! I de­cided to leave it be as I had caught the pre­vi­ous af­ter­noon but by 3pm the fol­low­ing day it was time to move. We made a brief pit-stop at the su­per­mar­ket and then quickly walked the sec­tion that had just looked carpy. The wa­ter was much clearer now, but rather than en­tice me in,

it ac­tu­ally looked de­void of fish. I knew then I’d be hav­ing a go for the big com­mon that had so nar­rowly eluded me on those ear­lier trips.

On ar­rival at around 5pm there were clearly carp still feed­ing. The rods were swung out, un­der­arm, and low­ered in with­out a sound. De­spite this, the fish still ‘did the off’ in­stantly. I had waited un­til they were out of sight to do it too but it’s pos­si­ble that they were just hid­den from view, deeper down, and the sound of two hand­fuls of tigers go­ing in had sent them pack­ing? On dusk two fish showed 80-100 me­tres down to my right, fur­ther con­firm­ing my sus­pi­cions. I was left hop­ing they would reap­pear in the night – I say hop­ing but it was more than that, I knew they liked this spot, they’d been feed­ing here.

When I woke at 5am with noth­ing reg­is­ter­ing to the alarms I was gut­ted. The light be­gan to in­crease and be­cause no boats had come through overnight the wa­ter was much clearer. I could see the yel­low­ish bot­tom where I had low­ered the hook­baits in and there were no carp to be seen. Around 8am, just af­ter a dash into the bushes, a dou­ble bleep alerted me that they were back. I didn’t see the fish but a mush­room cloud of dis­turbed bot­tom told me what had oc­curred.

I was fish­ing close but this fish was right in the edge. This was then fol­lowed up by two fish show­ing di­rectly in front of my rods but in the cen­tre of the canal. They were back!

Over the course of the next two hours the right-hand spot was un­der at­tack con­stantly. In hind­sight I should have sensed some­thing was wrong but I kept telling my­self it was about to go at any sec­ond. Even­tu­ally, the ac­tiv­ity be­gan to sub­side and I could see there was an op­por­tu­nity to re­place the rig. On do­ing this the prob­lem was clear! The rig wasn’t where I had placed it. Pos­si­bly I’d had an aborted take, be­cause the bead on my lead core had moved, but the bait showed signs of crayfish at­ten­tion.

Time was re­ally against us at this point, but we could prob­a­bly hang on an­other 45 min­utes. I re­placed both rods, mov­ing the left one onto the other side of the right as this was the spot they had shown a pref­er­ence for. Typ­i­cally, not five min­utes later a big fish ap­peared where the left rod had sat not mo­ments ear­lier and be­gan to feed with merry aban­don. Bol­locks! The rod I had just moved was quickly re­trieved and, keep­ing low to the wa­ter, I watched as it slowly moved off. It was now or never and from a kneel­ing po­si­tion, I re­leased the lead from my palm swing­ing it out and pierc­ing the sur­face with­out a sound. It landed ab­so­lutely per­fect – I could just make out my plas­tic maize tipper as it came to rest. Af­ter trans­fer­ring the rod to the alarm I won­dered up fur­ther to the left to see where they’d gone.

In­stantly I saw a fish com­ing back to­wards me so I backed away and just a few mo­ments later two omi­nous bleeps came from that alarm. The freshly placed trap was sprung, soon de­vel­op­ing into steady take! Af­ter all this tak­ing place I’d not even con­sid­ered which fish might be re­spon­si­ble and on first sight it didn’t look very big. How­ever, it was def­i­nitely the fish I’d seen com­ing to­wards the bait. The closer it got the more it be­gan to dawn on me which fish it was, but the weight was what re­ally blew us away.

I had an­tic­i­pated it might weigh a lit­tle over 50lb but on the scales the carp spun the nee­dle to just over 58lb. A truly mas­sive carp, from such a tiny canal and an ab­so­lute relic from the by­gone days when the canal was in its prime.

What an end to the sec­ond The Buzz piece, eh? First time I catch a 52lb com­mon whilst pack­ing up at Bayeswa­ter and sec­ond trip out, a 58-pounder from the Kem­p­isch – you couldn’t make it up!

Un­til next time, tight

lines, Pecky.

BE­LOW BOT­TOM I went armed with a case of the good stuff to say thanks for the hos­pi­tal­ity

BE­LOW TOP Get­ting in the mood...

BE­LOW BOT­TOM Lit­tle un­der­arm flicks, with whop­ping great leads, was the or­der of the day

BE­LOW TOP The first of the trip was this blunt-headed 34lb com­mon

ABOVE We could have called it quits when this 40lb-plus fish Fol­lowed it over the cord

RIGHT It got big­ger and big­ger on the way to the net. Noth­ing quite pre­pared us For the read­ing on the scales though

ABOVE What a way to round off a whirl­wind visit – all 58lb of it!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.