I broke the carp rods out for the first time in far too long this past Monday and although the weather forecast was looking pretty torrential, I knew that this would not only play into my hands on the fishing front, but would also more than likely put anyone else off that had planned to head down to the little day ticket lake I spent last summer on.
One of the main reasons I haven't been back down there for so long is because it has seemed especially busy every time i've phoned up and enquired this year and i'm really not much of a fan of crowds, especially down there, so it had been left well alone up until now.
The carp are your typical small water fish and as soon as there's a few lines in the water and noisy footsteps on the bank, their guard is right up almost immediately and although they're not impossible to catch, I do enjoy trying to trick them either on the surface or in the edge and this is made rather difficult when there are numbers of anglers present.
Thankfully on my arrival to the lake it was soon clear that I was the only one mad enough to be there and with the rain beginning to get heavier, I headed straight to a swim i knew reasonably well from last year and threw everything up and under the Evo as quickly as I possibly could.
By the time I was settled, with some new rigs tied and hookbaits on, it was pitch black and even with my headtorch on, the rain was that heavy I couldn't really see more than a few inches in front of my face. The two rods were pretty much underarmed out completely blind and all I was waiting for was the plop of the lead amongst the rain and for what I hoped would be a reasonable drop to follow.
Thankfully I got both first time, although my confidence wasn't overly high fishing as i was so I felt I was pretty much just chancing it until morning when the sun rose and I could get out and try to find something to fish for a bit more effectively.
As I had expected, the night passed by uneventfully on the fish front and it wasn't much better on the sleep front either with the almost constant hammering of rain above my head but with the weather easing slightly, I reeled the rods in and did a quick lap of the lake to see what, if anything, I could find.
Around 50 yards up from where I had spent the night, I stumbled across some rather murky looking water which was in stark contrast to the gin clear depths I had been peering into around the rest of the lake. Sure enough, after waiting and watching for a minute or two, a dark shape slowly moved out from amongst the cloud, followed closely by a second and much larger one and that was more than enough for me to be heading back to the rods as quickly as i could to up sticks and head back down.
Last nights washed out hookbaits were left on and as soon as I could be sure the coast was clear, the first rod was lowered in amongst the coloured water around 4-5 feet from the bank and I then flicked the second out a little further onto some shallow water I knew they liked to move over. Around 10-20 squashed and broken baits were scattered around each and with the lines running as slackly as possible along the inside of the bank I took cover behind a nearby tree and peered out expectantly, hoping they'd soon return.
I stood watching two seperate groups cruising around just below the surface, one group of four which all looked around the same size and then another group of two, one of which was substantially larger than the rest and it was these two which I am guessing I first saw down on the marginal spot.
Around half an hour went by and the rain began to get much heavier once again, pretty much to the point I could barely see anything below the surface and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a big, dark shape move in over the spot and disappear down into the gloom. My heart was in my mouth for a few seconds, waiting expectantly to fly out from behind the cover to the rod but I then saw her slowly pop back up and move off over the shallows.
With only around half an hour to go until I had to be off to pick my little girl up from school, I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen as although both groups of fish were still circling quite happily around the area, none of them seemed to want to get their heads down on the offerings I had put in place.
With no more than about 10 minutes to go, I had pretty much given up hope and started to pack the few remaining bits and pieces away, ready to head up to the car and head off on my way but no sooner had I turned my back, the rod I had placed a little further out absolutely melted off and I could see several bow waves fly out over the shallows as everything else in the area spooked off from the commotion caused by the hooked fish.
After a short battle, I lifted the net around a stunning little mirror, which for the record registered a weight of 20lb 9oz when up on the scales and from feeling pretty much beaten, not only by the fish but also the incessant rain and wind I had endured, I could now head off with a smile on my face and another photo to add to the album.