Week three...

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Carp Q & A -

I had been un­able to get ac­cess to my favourite tench lake last sea­son. It’s looked af­ter by a small syn­di­cate of carp an­glers but, as the fish grow big­ger, more peo­ple come sniff­ing round and the rules tighten up. Ev­ery­thing’s a bit more pre­cious since it’s pro­duced sev­eral 40. I re­spect that. Any­way, I had a Willy Wonka golden ticket at my dis­posal. Bring on the tin­cas. This lake is full of tench. There are hun­dreds of them, yet in 24 hours I never saw a fizz of bub­bles, a swim­mer’s roll or a slap of the tail. It was com­pletely dead. The carp were AWOL, too. Overnight my host fished with his cus­tom­ary four carp rods. I chucked out two yet nei­ther of us had so much as a sin­gle bleep. Weird. In 24 hours I didn’t man­age a sin­gle bite on mag­gots. In past trips I’ve had feed­ers chased by jack pike so I’d taken along some of Daiwa’s new rub­ber frogs to try. They float on the sur­face and ‘pop’ as you re­trieve them. At least some­thing pro­voked a bite! First cast I was in. Only a spindly lean thing but I was over the moon. You re­ally should have a go with them. The takes are all on the sur­face, of­ten at your feet and they are ex­plo­sive. To watch a pike hit your sur­face lure in a flurry of spray is about as ex­cit­ing as it gets. Though my Cin­derella bivvy was due to turn back to a pump­kin around teatime, by noon I was de­feated. Pack­ing up seemed the log­i­cal thing to do un­til I saw a back slowly ride up in the wa­ter as a big carp de­cided it was time to crack open the sun lo­tion. Here was a game changer. Pre­vi­ous at­tempts at feed­ing floaters had re­sulted in hordes of seag­ulls de­scend­ing on me. So, I mounted a large, meaty, moist dog bis­cuit. This would be the only meal avail­able in town. I cast about 10 me­tres beyond its path and edged the rig back five. Noth­ing hap­pened for what seemed ages and then sud­denly she just turned round, swam straight up to my bait a wolfed it down. Two things hap­pened. First the rod yanked for­ward and the drag be­gan to stut­ter. Sec­ond the fish was now point­ing away from me and I saw for the first time the width of its back. It was a mon­ster. For a while it just plod­ded up and down in front of me, com­pletely un­der my con­trol. I could see its depth, each fin and ev­ery scale in the clear wa­ter. This was po­ten­tially the big­gest carp I have ever caught in the UK and it was only a mat­ter of wait­ing for it to tire it­self out as she plod­ded along just be­neath the sur­face. And then it all went wrong. She’d gone to the right and I laid on a lit­tle side pres­sure to lead her back again when she had a bit of a hissy fit. I’m pre­sum­ing she ei­ther rolled on the line or it caught around a fin. From lead­ing this beast any­where I wanted, things were now out of con­trol and she surged away to the right strip­ping line off me like there was no to­mor­row. Ten yards, 20, 30, 40 and with no sign of stop­ping. Hon­estly, I’ve never wit­nessed a run like it from a carp. She must have gone 70 yards be­fore I got her to kite left. And then dis­as­ter struck. My line was cut-off be­low the con­troller. I don’t have the words to de­scribe how I felt. I hardly even swore. I didn’t re-tackle. I just crept home, tail fi­firmly be­tween my legs.

but It’s a beau­ti­ful set­ting a tench didn’t show and huge carp snapped me

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