After last weeks 2 day blank I was in no hurry to return to the Cheshire carp lake, it was bank holiday weekend, everybody was off work and to make matters worse the weather was truly awful. I can’t remember the last time we had snow at Easter!. The weather remained cold until mid-week, as I was off work I could afford to pick my days and when the weather forecasters gave milder conditions with wind and rain from Wednesday onwards, I made the decision to go carp fishing on Wednesday morning for a few nights, if nothing else at least I’d be a bit more comfortable.
I was back to the Cheshire carp lake by 9.30am on Wednesday morning, I must have been keen because I’m never normally awake at that time let alone packed and at the lake!. I’d arrived early to try and secure a good swim. It was raining persistently and things didn’t look too good, the best pegs were all occupied and the last of the decent pegs had just been taken by an angler who arrived 5 minutes before I did, so much for getting there early!. I wandered round both lakes in my waterproofs looking for signs of carp but I couldn’t see any, I had time on my side though so I went to have a chat with the guy who was occupying the hot swim on the main lake, known as little point. As luck would have it, straight away he mentioned he was leaving within an hour or two so I hung around like a bad smell waiting to take possession of the peg. Eventually, I managed to get the swim and I pitched my old rod hutchinson 2-man apothesis bivvy and went to get the rest of my fishing gear.
I carry quite a bit of fishing gear when I’m doing a few nights on the bank and it took me a while to get myself sorted out. The carp porter helped and by mid afternoon I was settled in with all 3 rods cast out. The fishing from little point is mostly long range casting with single baits aimed towards the far bank holding area, the far bank is out of bounds and the carp know where to go to hide. I had to wait until the wind died down before I put on my daiwa thigh waders and waded out to make my cast. In this swim, its such a distance to the far bank that any extra yards you can gain you do so. With no wind I dropped two single popup rigs at extreme range. It took me a few goes to get the timing of my casts right but when it finally clicked, my single baits flew out and seemed to hang in the air for ages before my 4oz leads finally hit the water on the far side with a loud ’thud’, both single popups where fished at ranges around 130-140 yards. Despite my best efforts these hookbaits were still short of the far bank, which, at its shortest point was 156yds!. The third rod was a bottom bait rig fished at 50yds range over 50 freebies that were scattered with a throwing stick, this was an area I’d seen carp on previous trips.
With everything sorted out I settled down to bivvy life, everything seems to go in slow motion when bivvy fishing, I watched the coots diving for food, the grebes fishing and the geese fighting as usual. I always keep an eye on the birdlife whilst watching the water, sometimes their behaviour can give vital clues as to where the carp are and one of the geese on the far bank freezing and backing off hinted that a large carp or two might be over there, unfortunately, this was going on tight to the far bank and beyond my casting range!.
Nothing happened first night and the second day was spent bivvy bound due to persistent rain. Sat in the bivvy, I couldn’t help but feel that this was no way to spend a week off work!. I recast my baits late on the second day when the wind dropped again but I couldn’t improve on the distance I was already fishing at. Thursday night was wet and windy, I didn’t sleep very well and again I had no action. I wanted to go home on Friday morning but it was still raining, I’d have cut the session short and cleared off if it hadn’t been for that rain. By time it had gone off and my gear was dry enough to pack away, I only had about 15 hours of my session left anyway. I opted to stay on the lake and do the last night even though I didn’t feel I was enjoying it.
I still couldn’t improve on the range I was fishing at, those carp certainly knew how to make life difficult for the carp anglers trying to catch them!. Unlike the previous two nights, Friday night actually turned out to be a really dark night, I’d been staring up at the stars the previous few nights but this time the sky was grey and cloudy but without rain. I sort of sensed that this was probably the best chance of some action and I drifted off to sleep to dream about big north west carp whilst listening to Friday nights ‘school days’ on century fm.
It was 3am in the morning when my middle delkim suddenly burst into life, it was one of the long range rods fished as a single popup, the spool was ticking away nicely as I ripped open the crash zip on my sleeping bag. I was straight into my trainers and onto the rod as quickly as I could, as I struck the rod arched over and I finally had a carp on!. You can’t really tell how big a fish is when you hook it at long range, I didn’t pile the pressure on the fish, I just kept it steady and kept gaining line until the carp surfaced about 30yds out. By the sound the fish made it wasn’t very big, you can usually tell how big a carp is by how deep the sound it makes when it splashes on the surface and this one sounded and felt quite small. The carp kept coming in, I had a minor problem playing knit one, pearl one with my other lines but eventually I slipped the landing net under my first carp since new years day.
I got to work weighing and photographing the fish, it was a nicely proportioned common that weighed in at 14lb. Not a big fish but at least it got me off the mark as far as my spring carp fishing was concerned. With the photography all finished I released the fish and got on with the job of sorting out my rods. The popup, and the heavy metal putty holding it down were both still in place so I just cast the rig back out to the same area, reset my monkey climber then hung my unhooking mat up in the nearest tree to dry.
The lead arrangement I’m using for my long range carping is the helicopter rig, the hook arrangement is exactly the same as my standard rig which can be seen here. The only change I’ve made to the standard fox international helicopter rig is the addition of a fox anti tangle sleeve, these little sleeves offer superb anti tangle properties and I think they are well worth a mention here as they definitely help the long range caster avoid tangles, specially when using braided hooklengths like kryston silkworm as I do. Next time I’m out I’ll remember to take a picture of my standard helicopter rig for inclusion on here.
The last few hours of my session passed by slowly, with one carp in the bag I was hoping for another but as usual it didn’t come. By 8.30am I’d already started packing up, daytime fishing on this particular Cheshire carp water is slow to say the least and with more rain forecast for later in the day, I packed up early and left for home before I got another soaking!.