Sorry for the lateness folks but I just haven't had the time to get around to this, plus it wasn't exactly on my list of priorities with nothing much to shout about again.
Anyway I had last week off work on what has to have been the hottest week for a long long time and of course this had an effect on my intended species and methods.
With the week off I had set my self the task of catching my first Calder barbel, with the forecast been for hot bright weather and family life to fit in too I decided on a couple of early dawn starts. Monday was my first and that saw me heading home mid morning after a blank although I kind of knew my tactics were wrong with such low clear river conditions. I had gone all out with big baits, pellets and paste wraps and all I had to show for it were knocks from the little fish ripping the paste off.
Wednesday I was back in the same spot this time armed with hemp and casters and a small selection of pellets as a back up. Again no barbel but a couple of small bait robbing chub on caster hook baits. The days were getting hotter and the river was getting lower and I felt my best chance would come on an evening but I had things to do at home and it was mornings or nothing so I needed another plan.
As most of you know I don't do much if any proper carp fishing but enjoy a bit of surface/stalking so looked in on a local lake after dropping the little one off at school after dinner on Wednesday. I knew the lake held a few good carp but I must admit I was shocked by the number of carp I was met with as I arrived lakeside and also the size. On talking to a regular most of the lakes carp stock were in front of me on the surface basking in the sun, approx 20 or so fish including a couple pushing 20lb and the resident 'big one' which tops out around 36-37 and comes out a hand full of times a year.
That was it, I had seen enough and was back Thursday morning at dawn armed with some particles and pellets plus a bucket of mixers and half a loaf of bread. I did a quick circuit of the lake and baited a few likely looking spots with the particle mixture and got the gear out of the car, a 2lb Tc rod matched up to my centre pin, 8lb line and a quill float. I worked my way around the spots float fishing flake and corn for a couple of hours and had 2 pesky bream to show before I saw a group of carp spook on the surface as some gulls flew over head, I knew then it was time to get the floater gear out.
I soon found the group of fish that had spooked and set about giving them some free offerings, to be honest they were not too interested and sulked off apart from one double figure common. This fish stuck around and kept taking the odd mixer, enough to prompt me to put a bait out anyway. My lump of crust had not been out long before the said carp took an interest only for me to pull the hook and bait clean out of its mouth DOH. This spooked it for a while before it settled into feeding again on some baits that had drifted a little further up the bank. Out with another bread bait and soon enough the carp came slurping along again only for me to the same as last time DOUBLE DOH.
I moved on and pestered a trio of good fish that were more interested in basking as they drifted off each time I wound my controller anywhere near them. A quick lap of the lake and I found the bulk of the fish in the same place as the day before, including those bigger fish.
To cut a long story short it took me a couple of hours to get the fish properly feeding and not shying off each time I made a cast, even then they were still super cautious of the bait. Then out of the blue the big one appeared in the swim and set about pigging every mixer and bit of loose bread it could find, my heart was in my mouth as it made a b line for my bait only to miss by a foot! Stupid puddle pig, anyway it did a full turn and came back on it and as its mouth closed around my bait I struck only to see my controller whizz past me and into the tree behind. Gutted I recast only to make a mess of that and almost hit the carp on the head, It was now less than amused and swam off into the middle to sunbath with its mates.
To try and get the fish to feed again I went around the other side and introduced a shed load of mixers that would drift right over the fish and towards the bottom end but by now the rather large resident bird population was wide awake and decided my mixers would make nice breakfast as did every gull for miles around. This encounter has now got me thinking though and that carp now has my name on it, so in between barbel trips and before winter then possibly next spring I'll be spending some time doing some proper carping.