Wednesday, 22 September 2010

All Is Calm, or is it?

Yesterday evening saw me making my way down the slug strewn grassy path to the home of The Common, a path I've trod many a time previous and on occassion have slipped on the wet grass almost breaking an ankle, not to mention my rods. I'm happy to report that this time I made the journey to the lake safe and sound.
 A quick look around and once again I felt that the deepwater swim would be my best choice.
 The evening air was warm and still and the lake took on a serene glass-like appearance, I'd never seen it so still and calm. My plan was to fish maggot at range, out in the deeper water, but as I opened the lid of my bucket, I was met with a sweating, smelly mass of wriggling colour, the unexpected heat of the day had adversely affected the only bait I had. I left the lid off and rest the bucket in shallow water to cool them down.
After a while I tried to put some into the large PVA mesh I use to get plenty around the hook, whilst doing so a fellow bailiff strolled into the swim, I was busted, my little secret bait and method was now out, I cursed under my breath. I'm well aware that maggots for Carp isn't new, but I have never seen them used on this lake and was hoping to keep it under wraps.
 Well, it went from bad to worse when the sweating maggots just dissolved the PVA, I had no option but to fish close-in with both rods and catapult the maggots out.
 With both rods set I sat back away from the edge on my bedchair, only to have a very loud Welshman with a resounding baritone voice stroll straight in front of me to the waters edge and bellow, "Have you caught anything mate?" followed in double quick time by his kids. I was blunt in reply and he soon got the message.
 In general, I fish tranquil, peaceful places, it's my escape...this place however is like a drug to me, It disturbs me, it's noisy, there are lots of people and dogs, but I keep going back, The Common drives a craving deep inside me, and there is only one cure.
I could've gone home, but that craving kept me there, into the darkness.
 When I woke at around 2am the lake was so still, as if it had gone solid, no force of nature wanted or dared to break the calm, I watched for around 20 minutes in the fat moon light.....nothing.
 Morning came quick enough, nobody on the lake caught a thing. I'd learnt a few hard lessons again and try to take positives from my failures.
 Lady Sarah arrived with rations,always a welcomed sight and I shared them with a couple of new friends in the sunshine before we left for home.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Another Night, Another Fish

Saturday evening saw me doing the usual tearing about like a lunatic to get to the lake after a full day in the shop. For once I hadn't forgotten anything important and was able to get back in the deep water swim that produced my previous fish. I'd heard rumours of The Common being spotted in a different part of the lake, but thought that the pressure of weekend anglers would move Her to deeper quieter areas.
 As I unfurled my  large unhooking mat an rather large spider appeared and ran straight over the back of my hand, I'm not a fan of the eight legged horrors and felt quite sure it was wearing four pairs of Skee-Tex boots, such was its size! I shuddered and hushered it well into the undergrowth.
 After my relative success on maggots in the week I decided that both rods would be fished  Mag-Aligner style, one on the spot I'd taken the Mirror and the other a little closer to the bank but deep enough to keep the ravenous bird-life at bay.
 I love the simplicity of this rig and it also panders to the purist in me slightly, not having that 'Creation of the Devil himself''.....a hair ( I like them really ).

 It began to rain and I retired to my shelter, no bivvy this time, no Lady Sarah, I lay on the bedchair, looking out over the lake, "That Common is out there somewhere",I thought. I watched well into darkness, not once did I see a sign of a Carp and eventually drifted to sleep, trying my hardest not to think where that spider might be.
 At 2am I woke with a start, as if something had happened and woke me up, there was nothing untoward and I looked out onto the lake. In the distance I saw a biggun poke its front end out, as if nature had sent me a little clue. The rest of the night proved uneventful, so, it came as a shock when at 6am, my right rod (the close one) was away, another blazing single toner, the fish seem truly shocked to be hooked on natural food...With none of the drama of my previous outing the fish quickly came to the waiting net, a fine mirror, one of about fifteen 'stockies' introduced about three years ago.

 Another result on the maggots then, it must surely only be a matter of time before they trip up one of the big girls, who knows,maybe The Common, she is out there somewhere.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Fish, At Last

Monday night saw me back on the lake that is home to The Common, it was grey and windy. I like to fish in these conditions as they are perfect for Carp and it also tends to keep the 'fair weather' angler at bay, thus leaving more choice of pitch and less angler pressure.
 I was fortunate to have a companion for the nights proceedings, that being the good Lady Sarah.
 On arrival at the lake I was pleased to find only one other ardent piscator present, another carp angler with just one fish on his mind.
 I decided to fish on the back of the wind in deeper water and as Lady Sarah re-parked the car in a safer area I set about erecting the bivvy and setting up rods. The lake throws up many challenges, not least vehicle security and I have had my car broken into twice previously as I indulged in my quest.
  Having suffered a baren spell fishing with boilies(as are the other anglers) I decided that the fish may be dining on their natural larder. With this in mind I set up one of my two rods on a maggot rig , this being Rob Maylins simple but effective Mag-Aligner rig. I'm not a fan of those metal clips and Rob's rig seems much less fussy.
Fishing maggots for Carp on this lake was a trip into the unknown for me, not less because of the numerous other species that inhabit the lake, including some rather large Tench, Bream and Crucians. All very nice of course but we must remember that on this lake I am targetting one specific fish.
 I cast both rods to areas I new were weed free (another of the lakes challenges) and wait, tentatively a while to see if the maggots would be savaged by all sorts of 'ne'er do well's'. It didn't happen and night fell.
 Lady Sarah seemed quite pleased with her new bedchair and sleeping bag and it was nice to have her share my 'special time'. She had seen the weather forecast, it wasn't great. "Welcome to my world", I said.
 We chatted until our eyes became heavy and we both fell soundly asleep. OK, in the morning she did say I snored a bit, but yes we were both in deep slumber when at 1-00am my left alarm sang at it loudest monotone voice into the cool night air. The maggot rod was away. It was such a surprise that I tipped my bedchair trying to exit the sleeping bag, but was soon on the rod and looking up at a satisfying bend.
  The fish took line, going far out in the lake, Sarah emerged bleary eyed and a tad excited as I retreived some line back. The fish had spirit though and was off again, then, in open water, everything went solid.
 This is the worst scenario for me, do I give it 'the old heave-ho' or place the rod back on the rest and let the fish find its own way out of the snag?.(no boats allowed on this water)....I decided on the latter..there then followed around forty minutes of uncertainty as I tried to work out what to do next. The fish wasn't moving...I got my kit off!!!
 Entering a lake in the hours of darkness is a stupid thing to do, I know that, but I was not alone,I also know this lake extremely well and was only wading a little way out. I would NEVER swim out for a fish.
 The water was cold, I knew the margins were shallow and manoevred myself to try to get a better angle on the fish, it stayed solid,stubbornly refusing to move and as I made my way back to the swim and my clothing, I wondered if the fish was even still attached.
 After more deliberation and about an hour after the run I decided on the 'straight line,rod pointing at the fish and walking backwards slowly' tactic, which always holds the risk of line breakage or lead hurtling towards you at some velocity. As I walked back, I whinced, when suddenly..... I felt the line slacken, the fish surfaced and the fight was back on.
 A few minutes later I was bringing a nice Mirror carp over the net and Lady Sarah raised it to engulf our prize. The fish was the only action of the night, I did have two massive Bream at first light, I wonder if this suggests they are better sight feeders than Carp. The whole episode has given me much food for thought and I will definitely persist with natural baits, though I did also have an aborted run on the boilies at first light.
 Anyway, here is the fine creature we landed, and another piece in the jigsaw that is, my quest for The Common........and it didn't rain either...wahey!!!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Spirit Of Redmire

It's a very rare occurrence that I publish a photo not taken by myself but I'm sure you'll agree that the picture below captures the spirit of all we hold dear in this wonderful pursuit of ours.
 It is with the generous permission of fellow Redmire Pool forumite "dick moss" that I am able to bring you this fantastic image of a Redmire Common leaping from the depths of the fabled pool. He describes the scene as follows.
"I was fishing from the 4th to the 8th of August, two days after the 25th anniversary of Dick Walkers death, when Les (Bamford) asked us about re-naming 'The Willow Pitch' (Walker's Pitch), it was so obvious, and with all hands up it became 'Walker's Pitch'....I was the first person fish the pitch under this name and the photo was taken there"
Great story and a great photograph.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Back Where I Need To Be

Another day dawns on a lake, a lake that has seen witness to many a finer angler than I...I can conjour up names like Walker, Taylor, Hilton and Maddocks. A lake, that had it not been for pollution in the 1960's would be one of the foremost Carp lakes in the country, a water of legendary fish sadly now past.
 Except, some of those fish were strong, a handful, probably Leney strain survived the pollution and are still swimming around. A very small group of old stagers, wise, canny and beautiful,
   The Common is possibly one of these fish, it is immaculate and rarely graces the banks. The first time I saw a photo of Her I knew I had to try to catch Her.
 So here I am again, on a hard to fish venue, at the wrong end of the year, embarking on yet another campaign for Her. If ever I have earned a fish, it is this amazing creature, yet She eludes me and makes me yearn for Her more.
 I am currently using two rods although I'm allowed three and using boilies as bait..I've done my homework and am confident my set-up and bait is capable of being picked up by Her. Landing Her is a different matter, the lake is full of weed and line cutting Mussels. I lost a large fish last year when my line just went slack as the beast took flight over the razor sharp blighters, I was gutted.
 The evening started with the usual chat to the regulars and then onto various tweeks and fine tuning of my rigs.
 Darkness closed in and I entertained myself by feeding the many bats with small pieces of sausage roll which I threw into the night air for them to acrobaticly swoop and catch.
 Having bedded down, the lake became silent, except for the distant traffic and train sound, I was soon asleep.
 The next sound I heard was the town church clock toll three o'clock, then a large fish crash out in the darkness sending ripples some seconds later towards my twin rods.
 Six o'clock and I hear "Excuse me mate, can you take a photo of this for me?"..The chap had caught a stock fish, around 24lb and had traipsed it in the weighsling to my swim, I berated him for doing so, but took his photos and returned to the sleeping bag, turning to take the above photos.
 Onto daylight then and the bobbins were still where I'd set them, she'd eluded me for another day.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Evolution and Obssession

Here is a picture taken by myself last week on my mobile phone of a beautiful Sumatran Tiger in the dark depths of Chessington. In its natural habitat it is an elusive and majestic beast. Possibly one of the most beautiful creatures we have the pleasure of sharing this wonderful planet with.
There is something deep inside of me that draws me towards these and other elusive creatures, with this in mind I embarked on a quest, a quest that was to cover five years, and, after much expense, travelling, sickness and determination I was blessed to view Bengal Tigers in the wild in the Jungles of India, in the very area which inspired Kipling to write "Jungle Book".
 What then does this have to do with fishing? "Has ol' Gurn gone all 'Attenborough' on us?",I hear you say.
Well theres a fish, you see....a fish that has been in my thoughts for many years now. It is beautiful and also elusive. I may confess that this entire journal of my angling activities is a distraction, I may even go as far to say that all of my other angling is a distraction, a distraction from thinking about this fish.
 This creature is a Carp,a Common Carp, a scale perfect, deep chestnut,woodcarving of a fish, possibly of the Leney strain.
I have spent more hours trying to catch it than any other fish and have failed,.
 Some have happened to associate a name to her, she is however, far too grand in my eyes for that.
What have I to do then? I have caught some wonderful fish this year but my mind returns to this fish time after time, like an itch I have to scratch. Catching her, and holding her aloft would be like coming across a beautiful Tigress in the early morning haze of an Indian Summer. It's a quest then, all other plans go out of the window although I may have to embark on other fishy pursuits to aid my sanity. I hope you will come along for the ride.

Another thing that Tiger made me ponder was the golfer with the same name. There was a time many years ago, when, if you were an fisherman of some skill and could provide food for your family you were high in the social pecking order, a good catch, an alpha male even, and therefore very attractive to the opposite sex.
 It seems that nowadays though, if you are a good angler, you have the adoration of many men and if you are serious about your pursuit of fish, perhaps skint most of the time.
 However,  should you be able to whack a dimply white ball in a hole adeptly, then it's cash and women aplenty.....strange world !!