Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Nearly Man

Ok, so with "The Common" having been caught I've been tempted away from 'Her' home. What fish could possibly drag me away then ?..Well how about another "needle in a haystack Common".
By kind permission of Alan Taylor, a trip to a private lake reputed to hold a Common Carp somewhat larger than the one I persue.
Joining me on the trip was young Nash consultant Jack Brown, a fine young Carp angler and work colleague.
 The lake is around six acres in size, shaped like a dogs bone with two main 'lakes' joined by a channel with an average depth of ten feet.
The shape of the lake presents obvious location problems especially when you consider that the stock level is just eight 'original' fish and 20 to 30 Dintons stockies.
 We set out in the boats checking the lake bed for features with prodding sticks, however, an algae bloom made using an aquascope ( a modern version of a glass bottomed bucket ) a waste of time with visibility about a foot.
With such a low stocking density, we baited lightly with hemp, pellet and groundbait, just little traps really on spots we thought may hold fish.
 The sunshine was brutal, the air muggy and it made for an uncomfortable time, especially as it isn't condusive to catching Carp. We thought we may see then basking in the mid-day sun, we did see one of the stockies, no mad dogs though, just two Englishmen.

The lake appeared to be a veritable paradise for wildlife, not least the various species of Butterflies. I've been a fan of these most beautiful of insects since I once saw a Swallowtail on the Norfolk Broads. The predominent species on this lake seemed to be the Marbled White but I did manage to creep up on this Red Admiral.
 Also spotted were the other fishermen...Grebe, Heron and Kingfisher. The Kingfisher's perch being quite close, he would plunge headlong into the depths, emerge with a fish and then dive for another before returning to his vantage point with a brace.
 The area also appears to be 'Snake Central' with many Grass Snakes and an Adder spotted, the latter certainly made one think twice before putting a hand in a bag or walking through the grass.
 In the evenings, the bucket barbeque was fired up and we enjoyed a fillet steak or two with some local Bombadier Ale and maybe a tot of Brandy, all very civilised, of course. This became a precursor to an hour or two of nonsensical chat, all good fun.
 After two fishless nights at one end of the 'Dog bone' I decided to have a sneaky peek down the other end. The 'other end' is silty, reed fringed and has only one proper pitch. A noisy Rookery greeted me and three Comorants sat on the rotting bows of a dead tree, looking a little like those Vultures in Disney's Jungle book as if saying, "So what are we going to do?".."I dunno,what are we gonna do?".
 I immediately saw signs of a feeding Carp with bubbles sheeting up in the water and boiling of the water...I went back for a rod.
  I found my lightest lead, set up a bottom rig with two grains of maize and a 'plastic fantastic' for balance, tied up a couple of PVA bags with micro pellets and on seeing the fish vacate the area cast the whole lot from the middle of a bush before sitting back on my bucket.
 About half an hour later the fish returned to the spot, it was only a matter of time before my rod cranked round, I thought.
 As my heart pounded in expectation, for a moment I became lost in a world of old hungry Commons and wet nets, a world of peace and solitude, away from the howling masses.
 "Aah so you found my secret swim" came the unmistakeable voice of the bailiff swiftly follow by a good licking from a couple of German Shepherds, closely followed the bailiff coming in to the bush, closely followed by Jack.
 Back to reality it was then, I never caught the fish but suggested to Jack that the whole Carp population were at this end of the lake as I had also seen another whilst in the bush.
The plan then was to watch this end for an hour and if we saw another Carp 'top' we'd move down....Ten minutes later, a golden head and shoulders popped up to say "Hello"...time to move...in the heat of the day, it wasn't a joyous hour but had to be done.

We decided that using Chod rigs and not using a boat would cause minimum disturbance, we didn't want to spook the fish back to where we had previously been and the use of Chods meant we'd be presenting a bait wherever it landed without the need for thrashing the lake to a foam with Marker Rods.
 After another blank night, Jack left to fulfill an appearance with the Nash guys in Belgium, with hopes of a little bit of fishing time on the Kempish Canal.
 I did stick it out for another night.....

A hot air balloon passed above, as the passengers peered down at me, waving, I read the logo on the side of the massive fire breathing beast.....GO....it said. I got the message.
There are two footnotes to this account..1) It is worth noting that from the time we cast a lead in to the 'other end', to the time I left, not a single Carp was seen.
2) I have heard today that the big Common of this lake was actually caught last night, the first time this year...its weight ?.....45lb !!!
 Once again, I am 'the nearly man'.
 I am left to thank Alan Taylor for allowing me the pleasure of persuing his wonderful fish. His website can be found here.


  1. Great title Gurn, But as you know it will happen soon enough, What a great place, At first sight i thought the trees on the opposit side were on fire, Then i looked at the first picture in more detail and what a great Rod Shot When the Picture is enlarged, The Balloon says it all, I would have thought it meant GO Gurn Go Catch the Big'un,
    But its not allways the catching that makes your Blog a good read, Its the effort you put into the day and the Pictures you take,
    So Thanks for being Human,

  2. Thanks for your comment Paddy, they are always welcome and encouraging..I am at a stage in my angling now where I always try for the bigger specimens rather than lots of fish, maybe 9 times out of 10 it doesn't pay off, but when it does it makes all the effort worthwhile.

  3. Keep at it matey, it will happen.

  4. Do you think the algae bloom could have had a negative effect on the fish? Ive always found lakes that I fish switch off when the algae gets bad because of the lack of oxygen in the water. Great story!

  5. Doubtful mate, it is difficult enough to catch a fish here in ideal conditions. The stock density is so small. Of course an algae bloom can have a devestating effect on a water, you only have to look at what happened on 'The Mere' but in this case I know that the fish have been unaffected, the only problem it gave as an angler was that it kept them well hidden.