Pecky’s Progress

Sick to the back teeth with at­tend­ing an­gling shows Dar­rell gets a chance to recharge his bat­ter­ies on a film­ing trip to France for Korda’s Think­ing Tackle and have some se­ri­ous ‘me’ time. Get­ting the net un­der a fish or two made it dif­fi­cult to think of

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Dar­rell Peck

Sick to the back teeth with at­tend­ing an­gling shows Dar­rell gets a chance to recharge his bat­ter­ies on a film­ing trip to France for Korda’s Think­ing Tackle and have some se­ri­ous ‘me’ time. Get­ting the net un­der a fish or two made it dif­fi­cult to think of it as work... but don’t tell the mis­sus

FFor some­body viewed as a full-time an­gler, my ‘me’ time has been se­ri­ously ra­tioned of late. As I sit to type this, it’s the day af­ter the fi­nal carp show of the year and as I glance up at the cal­en­dar, I can fi­nally see light at the end of the tun­nel. I have vis­ited Hol­land, Italy and France as well as all the UK shows and I don’t mind ad­mit­ting, I am bored shit­less of talk­ing about carp fish­ing.

Right now, I re­ally need to get out there and just do some of it! This win­ter has dragged, and the mild spells we have come to ex­pect haven’t ma­te­ri­alised. By this time last year I was well amongst them over at Bayes’ and this year I have barely even man­aged to get there due to work com­mit­ments.

This week, once the tem­per­a­ture had crept into dou­ble fig­ures, I knew they would be stir­ring and that next bite was im­mi­nent. Phil The Can ac­tu­ally sent me a text yes­ter­day af­ter­noon ask­ing if I would be about for a night or two this week. My tongue-in-cheek re­sponse was to ask if he was miss­ing the shep­herd, and did he need me to bring the for­mula. Ob­vi­ously, this was all light-hearted ban­ter, but in all hon­esty I knew I wouldn’t have the time to join him in any sub­stan­tial as­sault upon Bayeswa­ter this spring. It’s of­ten funny how a chain of events lead to an even­tual out­come.

Yes­ter­day I man­aged to get out of the show at Farn­bor­ough around 3pm, avoid­ing the dreaded pack-down, and I was just ap­proach­ing the Dart­ford Cross­ing when my phone went. It was Phil... and the Co­conut Com­mon was lay­ing in the bot­tom of his net! Hav­ing been fish­ing with Phil for 20 years, I knew his cam­era most likely wasn’t even charged and he would prob­a­bly very much ap­pre­ci­ate a lit­tle as­sis­tance. Thirty min­utes later and I was pulling through the gate and a lovely mo­ment was shared. Dave Lodge, Jim Chis­nall and I all helped weigh the beast, that was last caught by Adam Pen­ning in Oc­to­ber at 52lb. This time it weighed a very hon­est 49lb 14oz. For Phil it cer­tainly never de­tracted from the cap­ture as a few ounces means noth­ing when con­sid­er­ing a fish of this size. The fish was spot­less, com­pletely un­blem­ished or marked, just in per­fect con­di­tion from win­ter. Fair play to Phil – he’s had a very good 12 months on Bayes’ and it was nice to see the plan­ets align for him.

As for my own fish­ing, I have had an­other trip over to Blas­ford a few weeks ago with a cou­ple of nice 20s caught for the cameras, and also a quick day ses­sion to the day ticket lake at Bayeswa­ter, where I had an­other com­mon of 24lb. Since those trips in Fe­bru­ary, I have just re­turned from an 11 day French trip with Danny to film a cou­ple of episodes of Think­ing Tackle. These are due to be hit­ting the in­ter­net some­time later this year. To be hon­est this ses­sion was re­ally thrown to­gether at the last minute. Orig­i­nally we had planned to go to Morocco in Fe­bru­ary, which was can­celled due to snow, then the next thing, I was be­ing asked if I could go to France a month later on a road trip in­stead.

I had been look­ing for­ward to some win­ter sun for ages, so the Morocco trip falling through was def­i­nitely dis­ap­point­ing, but this French job cer­tainly of­fered a bet­ter chance of a re­ally big fish. I sup­pose some­body had to go and that might as well be me! The thing with plan­ning a ses­sion when you don’t re­ally know where you might end up, is pack­ing for ev­ery even­tu­al­ity. We weren’t go­ing to an English-run, French com­mer­cial, where the in­for­ma­tion was go­ing to be eas­ily avail­able, we were head­ing south to a re­gion ru­moured to hold big fish in pur­suit of pub­lic mon­sters.

A few venues had been dis­cussed, rang­ing from medium-sized gravel pits, where we could em­ploy our usual English tac­tics, to huge river sys­tems that would re­quire Dan, crew and I to all be fish­ing from bivvy boats. Lo­gis­ti­cally, I could al­ready sense van-car­nage as I al­ways try to carry a bare min­i­mum of equip­ment and I like to spend time in ad­vance, pack­ing, so I can hit the floor run­ning on ar­rival. The thought of be­ing weighed down with kit that I might not use is my idea of hell. In the end I bor­rowed Ali’s Trans­porter and Dan, the crew and I trav­elled out on the Mon­day as a con­voy. In the three match­ing vans, it all felt a bit mil­i­tary, like we meant busi­ness and I sup­pose we did. Once we’d crossed the Chan­nel, we drove down to Gi­gan­tica to meet James (our chef for the trip) and Chris Kessler (an­other cam­era­man) be­fore the sec­ond leg of the jour­ney. Now a con­voy of five, we con­tin­ued south, in all it was a full day’s driv­ing be­fore we even­tu­ally reached our des­ti­na­tion. Handily, we had a cou­ple of gites to sleep in be­fore start­ing fish­ing the fol­low­ing day.

We ar­rived pre-dawn to a gravel pit I guess around 80 acres in size. In­for­ma­tion-wise, other than be­ing a no-nights venue, and that it had pro­duced big fish in the past, we re­ally didn’t know much else

We ar­rived pre-dawn to a gravel pit I guess around 80 acres in size. In­for­ma­tion-wise, other than be­ing a no-nights venue, and that it had pro­duced big fish in the past, we re­ally didn’t know much else. With the weather still con­sid­er­ably colder than the norm for this time of year, I was re­ally hop­ing it would be quiet with re­gard to other an­glers. My big­gest con­cern when ap­proach­ing any venue is al­ways the same – other an­glers get­ting in the way. Af­ter all, it’s only peo­ple in the way that can pre­vent you do­ing what you need to do. Luck­ily, the lake was empty and with the whole lake to now keep eyes on, I sug­gested we split up to cover more wa­ter. Just by look­ing at Google Earth you could see the big­ger bowl sec­tion of the lake was stuffed with fea­tures and that would clearly be an area that needed in­ves­ti­gat­ing. With that in mind I had of­fered to watch the smaller, less vis­ually ap­peal­ing part, leav­ing Dan to view the best bit. He said “No, we’ll both go and look to­gether!” So around we went, stand­ing in the rain for about an hour, both star­ing at a blank can­vas – the whole time fully aware the other side was likely where we needed to be. Once he was con­fi­dent enough that they were very prob­a­bly not here, he said, “Stay and keep watch­ing, I’ll go and look at the other end.” If ever I needed con­fir­ma­tion of who was Bat­man and who was Robin in this movie, then this was cer­tainly it!

Luck­ily I didn’t have to stand in the rain like a plonker too much as, be­fore long, he came through on the walkie-talkie 10 min­utes later to say he was see­ing them in the main bowl. Sure enough he had and I’d only been back along­side him for a few min­utes in which time I’d seen three for my­self.

Dan shot off to get his gear while I kept watch for any fur­ther ac­tiv­ity. By this point the morn­ing had all but fiz­zled away and I was left won­der­ing what sort of dis­play we had po­ten­tially missed ear­lier on.

Once Dan re­turned, I col­lected my own kit and pro­ceeded to do no more than flick my three yel­low IBS 30 yards out, into a hor­ri­ble deep abyss. The bulk of the ac­tiv­ity had been around 120 yards out in front of Dan. Some were ad­mit­tedly closer, but all I had to go on was a sin­gle show, 80 me­tres down to his left and quite close in. Con­di­tions were bang on – low cloud, con­stant driz­zle and it just felt per­fect for day­time fish­ing.

I was al­most cer­tain Dan was go­ing catch some­thing quickly. From the depths of my drops, I felt com­pletely out of the game at this point, con­vinced I was noth­ing more than

...he said, “Stay and keep watch­ing, I’ll go and look at the other end.” If ever I needed con­fir­ma­tion of who was Bat­man and who was Robin in this movie, then this was cer­tainly it!

a to­ken spec­ta­tor. Hav­ing said that with eight and a half day’s fish­ing to go, I knew I’d get my chance to throw a yel­low wanger at some­thing soon enough. At about 2.30pm that chance came quicker than ex­pected, when a fish showed about 125 yards left of me and well out of harm’s way with re­gard to Dan’s rods. Without hes­i­ta­tion a rod was brought back in and un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously thrashed out there – what’s more, the drop was su­perb. Now we’re fish­ing I thought!

A few min­utes later, an­other fish showed a lit­tle left of the first, and an­other yel­low IB on a spin­ner rig was slung on that one’s head as well. This one went down ter­ri­bly, most likely in low weed, but in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the like­li­ness of this I had pushed my top bead right up the lead­core leader to counter any min­i­mal weed. With two rods on fish and now in a much more re­spectable depth of around 12-13 feet, I sensed I was no longer a spec­ta­tor.

It’s al­ways a buzz to get the first take on a new wa­ter, es­pe­cially on one ru­moured to be home to fish in ex­cess of 80lbs. A drop-back on the sec­ond rod I’d re­done, reg­is­tered the first take and, af­ter a short bat­tle, the first vic­tim of our trip was sat in the bot­tom of my net. Not a mon­ster, weigh­ing just shy of 30lb, but enough to shake Dan up a bit af­ter the morn­ing’s events.

The fol­low­ing day was sunny and ac­tiv­ity-wise it much qui­eter. Ini­tially, I thought that was be­cause they now knew we were there, but in hind­sight it was more due to the weather I think. The third day was much like the first, with over­cast con­di­tions and rain. We had both baited our swims from the boat the pre­vi­ous day and al­most straight af­ter cast­ing, Dan had his first fish. For the early part of the day I was ter­rorised by nui­sance fish – such as gi­gan­tic rudd and/or some hy­brid things, as well as a cou­ple of tench. Dan then had a cat­fish and I was im­me­di­ately ques­tion­ing our de­ci­sion to bait with a mix con­tain­ing maize.

I had not seen much to sug­gest the carp were still around and when com­bined with these nui­sance fish is­sues and some in­con­sid­er­ate loon in a boat, I just wasn’t feel­ing it in this area any­more. I de­cided to wind in and go for a mooch as it was re­ally the sort of day where, if you were do­ing it right, you’d be catch­ing. I won­dered up the chan­nel, be­tween the big­ger bowl end and the other part, and al­most in­stantly a fish came fly­ing out of the waves. Un­for­tu­nately, it wasn’t reach­able

It’s al­ways a buzz to get the first take on a new wa­ter, es­pe­cially on one ru­moured to be home to fish in ex­cess of 80lb

Phil and the Co­conut Com­mon at 49lb 14oz TOP

BOT­TOM When the plan­ets are in per­fect align­ment

A Blas­ford Hills’ mid-20 TOP

BOT­TOM An­other nice Blas­ford 20 caught dur­ing some win­ter film­ing

FAR LEFT Not a mon­ster but it’s al­ways nice to get off the mark early LEFT First blood for a forth­com­ing episode of Korda’s Think­ing Tackle

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