Pecky’s Progress

Af­ter his re­cent suc­cess on his bet­ter known syndicate wa­ter, Dar­rell opts to spend some time on a much qui­eter venue that he’s held a ticket for but not fished for some time

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Dar­rell Peck

Af­ter his re­cent suc­cess on a syndicate wa­ter, Dar­rell fan­cies a move to an old haunt

SSo, of all the places, I sit here typ­ing this while sit­ting on a plane des­tined for Peru­gia! I prob­a­bly should have typed this piece dur­ing my last ses­sion, but the cold beers were more than I could re­sist dur­ing this in­cred­i­ble heat­wave and World Cup run. Hav­ing had most of May and at least half of June free from any work com­mit­ments it’s high time I did some work... I’m fly­ing over to meet the Ital­ian Korda team to learn a bit about their fish­ing whilst of­fer­ing up any point­ers and ad­vice. A tough job I am sure you will agree, but more about that next month. I’ll pick up from where I left off, which is what I have been up to since the cap­ture of the Co­conut Com­mon. The fol­low­ing week I de­cided to have one last trip to Bayeswa­ter to see if I could catch Bug­gies mir­ror. This fish was ex­tremely due, hav­ing not been out in over a year and was said to be mas­sive, hav­ing been cap­tured dur­ing a win­ter net­ting. This plan fell at the first hur­dle as, af­ter ar­riv­ing at 4am for this ses­sion, they be­gan to spawn al­most im­me­di­ately. Re­al­is­ti­cally, this was a bless­ing in dis­guise as I knew I should have made the ef­fort to make the two hour drive to a snag-infested venue I have a ticket for. So that’s what I did, I turned the van round and off I went.

For those of you that haven’t read my pre­vi­ous di­aries on this venue I’ll give you a re­ally short brief. The lake is roughly 30-40 acres in size and holds around 80 fish, give or take, I guess. A guess is all it is though, as in­for­ma­tion is sparse at best and with­out an ot­ter fence the num­bers are con­tin­u­ously re­duc­ing. In the main, the stock seems to be mainly long, lean 15-25lb fish, or the ‘ot­ter dodgers’ as I like to re­fer to them. On top of these though there are po­ten­tially a hand­ful of big fish that could be 40s at the right time. I’d had a trip the pre­vi­ous April and a more sus­tained sum­mer cam­paign, but I hadn’t fished it since the pre­vi­ous September when the 15-man syndicate had first started.

On ar­rival at around 8am, only Lewis Porter was fish­ing, and he was in the process of pack­ing up. The first swim I came to is

a par­tic­u­lar favourite of mine and a fresh north-east­erly was ab­so­lutely pil­ing in there. I stood watch­ing for 15 min­utes or so but noth­ing showed, so I started hav­ing a slow walk round. At the other end the tem­per­a­ture dif­fer­ence was con­sid­er­able, and sud­denly out of the wind the sun felt warm. So warm in fact, that I felt the morn­ing had passed and that see­ing some­thing show was prob­a­bly un­likely now. As these thoughts were sim­mer­ing through my mind I came across an area of flat calm wa­ter, cov­ered in bub­bles. Ini­tially dis­mis­sive, I was mak­ing ex­cuses for them be­ing caused by squab­bling coots or sim­i­lar but some­thing was telling me dif­fer­ent. The bub­bles were still ris­ing here and there but I was still strug­gling to be­lieve that carp were re­spon­si­ble. Then wal­lop – out one came, crash­ing back in leav­ing much big­ger bub­bles pop­ping away on the sur­face in its wake. With­out a sec­ond thought I found my­self jog­ging back to my van at the op­po­site end, su­per keen to get some rigs read­ied. Un­for­tu­nately, the im­me­di­ate ac­tion I was an­tic­i­pat­ing didn’t ma­te­ri­alise and in hind­sight I think was just a lit­tle too late.

I spent that af­ter­noon re-spool­ing with heavy 20lb Carp Line and ty­ing fresh rigs for the night ahead. The first two rods were po­si­tioned quite far out. I took to the boat, gen­tly creep­ing out to­wards where I had seen a few shows, whilst on the look­out for any likely spots. This went pretty smoothly, other than spook­ing a cou­ple of small fish en route. Both these rods were dropped in bivvy-sized spots with roughly ½kg of 10mm Main­line pro­to­type free of­fer­ings over each hook­bait. The third rod was towed down into the cor­ner where the bub­bling had been and although it was a lit­tle deeper here, I could just about make out a clear spot the size of a din­ner plate. It took a few at­tempts to lower my rig di­rectly onto this spot but once I’d scored the bulls­eye, I sprin­kled a few more 10mms be­fore the short tow back to base. On the whole I was pretty smug with the day’s ef­forts – there’s some­thing par­tic­u­larly sat­is­fy­ing about see­ing your rig come to rest on the lake bed know­ing with­out ques­tion you are fish­ing ef­fi­ciently.

It was around 3am when the first alarm dragged me from my slum­ber and it was the shorter rod into the cor­ner. It’s funny writ­ing this but gen­er­ally the smaller fish here fight like ma­ni­acs and within a few sec­onds I knew I was hooked into some­thing big­ger. It wasn’t fight­ing at all, just wal­low­ing to­wards me. The fight though was fa­mil­iar, in that it felt ex­actly like the 40-pounder I had caught the pre­vi­ous April and, on closer in­spec­tion in the net, that’s what it was. The ex­act same fish! Not want­ing to go lamp­ing for that din­ner plate-sized clear spot in the dark, I repo­si­tioned the rod with a lighter lead, out into the gen­eral area, set­tling for a de­cent drop at the first time of ask­ing. It was just about to get light by this point and I sat down with a cof­fee to watch the day break.

I heard the clutch on the reel slip and I im­me­di­ately knew the ten­sion on the line was go­ing to be ab­so­lutely out­ra­geous. Grab­bing the rod and reel I just walked back­wards and hoped for the best

Con­di­tions were ab­so­lutely per­fect, the sky was filled with dark clouds and it was rain­ing in­ter­mit­tently. At 4am and just af­ter the light had turned, one of the long rods burst into life. There was no way I would be land­ing this from the bank due to the weed be­tween us, so I hopped straight in the boat to col­lect an up­per double. At this point it still wasn’t pos­si­ble to see the bot­tom and rather than re­place the rig, I chose to just get out of the zone quickly, know­ing I still had one rig fish­ing at range, not too far away. This was a good de­ci­sion as the re­main­ing rod was away be­fore 6am, re­sult­ing in a re­peat cap­ture of a scraper 30lb mir­ror. Not a bad open­ing night re­ally, all the rods went and I even man­aged an­other 24lb com­mon on my re­cast rod into the cor­ner. By the end of the morn­ing though I had the feel­ing that my boat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties had prob­a­bly caused quite a few carp to leave the zone. I de­cided to sit it out any­way as there were still a few about and dur­ing the sec­ond and fi­nal night I had an­other com­mon of 26lb.

This ses­sion cer­tainly re-lit the pas­sion for the Snag Lake and be­ing that they hadn’t spawned yet, it seemed the best op­tion for me to have a cou­ple more trips. The fol­low­ing week I set up cen­trally in the main peg af­ter see­ing a few shows at first light, but 24-hours later I re­alised I’d made a mis­take. The wind had now turned cold and the wa­ter in this zone was shal­low! With­out the con­tin­ued ac­tiv­ity I just wasn’t feel­ing it here any­more. The wind was strong enough to cause wind lanes and af­ter look­ing in the wind­ward cor­ner for all of ten min­utes, I saw one rat­tle out. Time for a quick move! Once I’d dragged my kit round there I set about get­ting my rods out to­wards the spots that had pro­duced the goods for me last sum­mer. Un­for­tu­nately, with­out the bait­ing they had re­ceived back then, I was now strug­gling for de­cent drops. Go­ing out in the boat to hand-place them wasn’t re­ally an op­tion be­cause of the wind strength, so I just pushed my top bead six inches fur­ther up the leader and set­tled for the best drops pos­si­ble. Cat­a­pult­ing about a kilo of 15mm Link over the two rods, I was con­fi­dent I would get a take at some point in the night and be­cause of this I slept in my waders. I was about 12 feet short of the snags and locked up tight, or so I thought. Again, it was about 3am when shit sud­denly got real. I was ab­so­lutely dead to the world when the sounder box went, im­me­di­ately blind­ing me with the lights on the top. In my dazed state, I just couldn’t seem to find the zip to my mosquito front. In re­al­ity it was just a cou­ple of sec­onds de­lay but as I man­aged to get out I heard the clutch on the reel slip and I im­me­di­ately knew the ten­sion on the line was go­ing to be ab­so­lutely out­ra­geous. Grab­bing

the rod and reel I just walked back­wards and hoped for the best. The fish turned af­ter a cou­ple of hefty lunges and on shin­ing the torch into the net, I was greeted by the sight of what looked a 30lb-plus mir­ror. Once it was re­tained, I re­cast as quick as pos­si­ble and not long af­ter, at 5am, I had an­other take! Un­for­tu­nately, it came adrift. Later that morn­ing I saw a few show­ing op­po­site and de­spite hav­ing caught, I thought a move was prob­a­bly best for the fol­low­ing night.

Once I had packed and driven round to the swim op­po­site, called the Roller, I was im­me­di­ately greeted by fish top­ping in the bay to the right and also an up­per 20lb com­mon glid­ing right into the edge, al­most brush­ing past my waders! Clearly there were a few about but I still wanted to make a few sub­tle, ex­ploratory casts to­wards a set of snags op­po­site. I knew there was a bit of gravel ex­tend­ing from the end of these and my plan was to fish as far away from the snags as pos­si­ble whilst still re­main­ing just on the gravel. I guess this left me about four me­tres short of the snags, and hope­fully far enough away to buy me the time to es­cape the mosquito mesh in the mid­dle of the night. A sim­ple 30-yard lob re­sulted in the most lovely thump down. I then fol­lowed that in with five or six pouches of 10mm baits. Trap set! For most of that day, I had just the sin­gle cast into the bay where I had seen some bub­bling, and that was it. Noth­ing ma­te­ri­alised though, so, in the evening, I gen­tly pad­dled up the right-hand edge un­til I had found a lovely yel­low patch to lower onto.

As the light dropped the fish started to show with merry aban­don all over this half of the lake, but wor­ry­ingly they weren’t re­ally close to me. I was a lit­tle anx­ious ini­tially, al­most mak­ing a last minute move. In the end I con­vinced my­self I would get traf­fic here and set­tled down for a night of ex­tremely bro­ken sleep. Or to be pre­cise, no sleep at all!

Dur­ing the hours of dark­ness I had six takes, los­ing one, land­ing five. The big­gest was just over 30lb and the oth­ers all dou­bles.

I have been back twice more catch­ing a few on each oc­ca­sion but just more dou­bles un­for­tu­nately, and be­cause of this I’m now torn as to just what’s best for the com­ing months? These are lovely old fish, don’t get me wrong, and I have loved get­ting a few bites. At the same time though, I can’t help but ask my­self is it re­ally the best use of my time? For the next few weeks I am quite busy with more of these for­eign-coach­ing ses­sions, but af­ter these I will want to get prop­erly stuck into some­thing this au­tumn. Noth­ing is set in stone yet but I have a com­pletely free cal­en­dar from September on­wards...

The truth is there is so much fish­ing on main­land Europe that I want to do and I can’t help but ask my­self why would I fish some­where where the best pos­si­ble out­come is a hand­ful of 40s, al­beit very nice ones, when I could travel just a cou­ple of hours fur­ther and sam­ple some amaz­ing lakes where un­known 40s, 50s and 60s are not be­yond the realms of pos­si­bil­ity?

Un­til next time, tight lines. Pecky.

The fight felt very sim­i­lar to one that I’d had with a carp the pre­vi­ous April. On closer in­spec­tion, it was the ex­act same fish! One towed down to the cor­ner where I’d seen the bub­bling I ended up staying put and had a 26lb com­mon A scraper 30 from my first ses­sion back af­ter the best part of a year away On the re­cast into the cor­ner! TOP MID­DLE ABOVE TOP RIGHT LEFT ABOVE LEFT

FAR LEFT TOP I was greeted by the sight of what looked like an­other 30lb-plus mir­ror FAR LEFT MID­DLE One of five from the ‘Roller’ and again, just over 30lb FAR LEFT BOT­TOM Part of a five-fish catch af­ter a quick move LEFT The ‘Roller’ – snags, snags ev­ery­where! ABOVE Long barbs! An­other of the haul af­ter drop­ping into the Roller on a hunch TOP RIGHT Although they’re stun­ning, they’re small and I can’t help but feel the urge to wan­der back across to the main­land...

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