Sunday, 17 June 2012

Surface Success

Awake, alert, it was a day to idle a few stolen hours at the lake. No lay-in on my day off. I had to go. I knew where they'd be, and when they'd be there. I wanted one.
The lake is exactly two miles from my home, and with no transport today, I set off on foot, carrying everything I needed.
 Crossing the familiar river bridge, the air seemed as flooded with dampness as the plodding flow beneath. Onwards, I detoured the engulfed areas of water meadow with squelching footsteps, past white campion and wilting forget-me-nots. Up onto the canal, early boats chugging past still sleeping ducks, the smell of bacon from floating abodes.
 On I went step by step, no anglers, just everyday folk on their way to work and school children engrossed with Blackberry and I-phone.
 I finally walked down the little track to the gate. My heart sank. I knew that the lake had risen with the floods and that one, maybe two swims only would be accessible, but someone else was there.
 Through the foot gate,along the boundary fence the dog roses cried out to me," Please let me in, please".

I walked to the end of the track, to the swim I knew they'd be, there were people there, a couple. I knew they wanted to fish there, but they had no tackle. "This looks like the only swim fishable", he said " Do you want to go in it?" ..Having walked two miles with my kit, I didn't need asking twice . I did point the two of them towards an area were they both might be able to set up together, this eased the undercurrent of guilt somewhat.

The first thing I noticed was a pair of Kingfishers, I see them so often now that you would think I would tire of them. It is of course impossible, they are such interesting as well as beautiful birds and a sighting is always a delight. I sat and watched a while, no rush, now that I was where I wanted to be.
 It was then that my eyes settled on a familiar bow-wave, only one fish makes them like that...carp. One, then two, then three. I fired out some riser pellet and flavoured mixers. then set up the rod.
 A battle of wits commenced, I'd seen them. They had , for sure, seen me. There's always one though. He circled each bait, as if feeling for line. He could smell the mixers. and then, that first tentative taste as some lips barely broke the surface. It seemed he liked them and proceeded to consume more. All this, of course, provoked more fish into feeding and before long I had achieved a confident feeding situation. Nearly one and a half hours after arriving, I cast a bait.
 More fish moved in and as usual they took all baits bar the one with the hook in. The joy of surface fishing is the trade-off between frustration and excitement, the fish tantalising, yet cunning. You place a bait in an ambush position and they change course or they miss baits completely. The first bait and rig was being avoided, I changed to another method, re-baited and recast.
 It was about this time that I sensed I was being watched and turned around to see a fellow club bailiff. I had carp feeding very close in so signalled for him to be quiet as he approached.
 He fishes mainly for catfish so watching all these fish cruising and feeding had him spellbound.
 One of the greedier fish came around, bang on line with my hookbait. He sucked it in, the controller dipped, I struck, then fell backwards off of my bucket, headbutting the bailiff in the process. No resistance, no fish.
 The greedy one soon came around again, but this time, before he could take the bait, it was snaffled by a previously unseen fish which appeared from nowhere, I struck, this one pulled back and my delightful 1.75lb Shimano Twin Power arced over as the fish made haste away from the feeding fish towards the snags.
After a real tussle, and with the fish beginning to tire, a problem occurred. I would guess that it's more common than most of us admit. I'd snagged the rod tip on an overhead branch. Fortunately, the bailiff came to the rescue with my landing net pole, unwrapping the line from the twigs. After a few nervous moments the fight was back on and before long she was in the net. A beautiful common, rarely caught, she fought like she'd never been hooked. I hope she is the first of many.

With the fish safely returned and fish still feeding in the swim I added more feed and set about recasting. I quickly noticed two things, to opposing things. The fish I have previously named 'Black Cheeks', a koi, in fact a very big koi, had moved into the swim just as I noticed a regulation bird's nest in my reel line. The next few minutes were horrendous, as Black Cheeks proceeded to come within three feet, chomping on the surface floaters, searching out every single one whilst I failed to untangle the line. The fish ate every floater and I had no option but to cut the line and re-rig, just in time to see a koi with a full belly waddle off out of the swim.
 I cast past two feeding commons and slowly pulled the rig in front of one, it took the bait immediately and I was soon scrapping with another hard fighting fish. Fortunately for me it ran out into open water where it could be played out safely and with not much drama was in the net.

Having caught these two wonderful fish, and having seen the rest drift away, I thought I might go home, then I thought I might not, thinking maybe I might get one more chance.
 The sun went in, and despite persisting with feed for another hour and a half, I never happened another cast. The fish had wised up to my presence and the lake had offered up two of it's treasures to me, and given a tantalising glimpse of what may come.
 I finally strolled off home happy with my lot, my first fish on the new syndicate. Every thing is coming up roses.


  1. And long may it continue!
    Splendid account Gurn as per. I dare say it would be worth walking ten miles for a session like that. Ease up on the flowers tho mate, people will talk! ;oD

  2. Definitely worth the walk mate. The lake is so peaceful in the week and I've seen some really nice fish, tricky buggers though. Are you not rollin' with the floral vibe mate? Me I love 'em...............and so does the missus :-)

  3. Lovely piece mate, I was almost there

  4. Nice Carp that Gurn it looks a lovely lake.

  5. They are fantastic looking carp Gurn, great angling.