I use to fall into the preplanned way of thinking very easily. Years ago before I'd even arrived at my chosen lake, my mind was already fishing it and there were times when it was so blatant that the fish were feeding in a different area from where I was totally intent on fishing. I have come across a lot of people that make this same mistake. For instance, if they've caught a good fish from a certain swim, they will fish 'said swim' forever more and I've even seen people go back home if they can't get on 'their' swim, even if the rest of the lake is empty. It seems a shame because they're missing out on gaining knowledge and thinking on their feet.
Some of my best sessions have been had by going against my initial feeling. The more open your mind is about the waters you fish, the more inclined you are to learn. Angling = Learning, learning is something that never stops, every single session from when I started fishing right up to the present day, I'm still learning.
I only visit Rugby when it feels like the right thing to do, if you've read my other blogs on the place, you will know that it's not an easy venue. Every time I'm about to cast my rods into its somewhat frustrating depths, I have to have the right mindset. If I can get a bite, I've done well, if I can get two, then I'm on a roll. My disadvantage is that I don't do nights, "not that I'd want to", but on a water such as Ruby it's an advantage. To catch on a day session I need to be totally on the ball. Over the last year or so I've found a few spots that give me a fair chance of getting a result. Rugby is probably one of the only waters where I do stick to the same approach each time I go.
It's also a water that has a very strange effect on me, it's not just about the fishing, it has such a sense of 'time, lost'. Whenever I'm on its banks I have no thought of the outside world, my time is different to that of the world around me, there is no other life past the tree lines that stand in its distance. Each time that I leave, it takes me a short while to get my head together. How many waters do that to you? as I've stated before, angling is about connections, connecting with the wild, yourself and everything that's encapsulated with being on the bank.
Time, Lost On The Rugby
The day I arrived I took a slow walk up and down the bank, the lake was empty so I had the pick of all the swims. There was a chill in the air with a light breeze pushing down towards the beach swim. When the wind is blowing in this direction and it isn't too cold, fishing face to the wind from the beach can be productive. I made my way back to the swim, got my coffee kit out, fired the kettle up and sat watching the water very closely.
If you look hard the Rugby carp can be clumsy at giving away their location. I spotted some fizzing at about 25 yards, this was enough evidence for me. I wasn't going to plonk my baits directly on their heads, when I know fish are present down this end of the lake, at some stage during the day, they'll patrol fairly close in. I was going to fish both rods only a few yards out. A short cast puts me in excess of 10ft of water, as we know, the marginal drop offs are obvious patrol routes.
This time around I wanted to try a slightly different presentation, on all my previous sessions I've been religiously using pop ups. Today I opted for bottom baits made up of two 10 mil pineapple cream boilies. In conjunction with this I would be using PVA mesh with a mixture of 10 mils and multi mix pellets, the boilies are ground down to dust. The weed is pretty bad but in the open water that stretches in front of the beach, it's really not that heavy, I thought I'd be able to get away with bottom baits, I was going to put a PVA nugget on the hook just for that added piece of mind.
Pineapple Cream 10m Bottom Baits
Usually I fish over a modest spread of free offerings, this time around I was only going to stick with the bags. This was the approach I was going to be using on most my waters once the winter sets in. Today was a prime opportunity to get the wheels in motion regarding this approach. The pellets that I am using have a low oil content and a quick breakdown time, combined with the small ground-up boilie, it was very colourful, the plan was to create visual attraction as well as flavour. I felt the smaller hook baits might up my chances of nicking a bite.
A Small Bait Offering
Small Parcels Of Attraction
Prior to casting out I had a few test casts to see if I collected any weed on my rigs. Apart from a few strands, there was nothing that I thought would pose a problem. Both rigs were set in position, I tightened up to my back leads so both rod tips had a slight bend in them, any slight movement would register nicely. I wasn't going to do any recasts during the session, on Rugby once the traps are set, it really is a case of sitting on your hands.
I put another coffee on and tried to count how many shades of brown that the Autumn was slowly bringing with it. Out of all the waters that I fish, Rugby is the one that turns into a truly bleak and beautiful place come the winter. Even though its life has gone, if you're quiet enough, a faint pulse can be heard.
View From The Swim
As expected the day slowly progressed with little evidence of carp being down my end of the lake. Apart from the feeding bubbles I saw earlier, it was pretty baron. I didn't doubt my approach for a minute though, Ruby has a habit of weaving a tender trap that makes you start to question if you've got it right, if I was going to catch I knew that the take would come out of the blue and it could happen at any moment.
Mid afternoon arrived and with it came a few liners and a couple of small streams of bubbles over my right rod, my heart was already racing due to my caffeine intake, but with these small occurrences I was really buzzing. All of a sudden "BANG" the bobbin smacked the blank and the rod was away. Jumping right on it and gently leaning back, I was in to a hard fighting fish, my heart rate was now through the roof. The carp weaved around in open water, its speed was crazy, I stuck with it, edging her closer towards me. Underneath the rod tip, she gave her final dash for freedom, soon tiring I was looking at pure 'Rugby Bronze' staring at me from the landing net. Scales sunk to 21IB 5oz, I was very pleased.
21IB 5oz Of Rugby Bronze
As usual it was one hell of a carp, I have stated in the past, any fish from Rugby is a gift, all the fish I've been lucky enough to catch have been pristine, and that's what it's all about for me, quality over quantity, cleanliness over size. To me, this viewpoint encapsulates what carp angling should represent. I slipped her back, watching her slowly fade in to the depths is as much of a rush as the capture.
"It's so important for us to have continued respect for the fish we catch and the lakes we visit. We must remember that we have invited ourselves into the carps world and the world of everything that inhabits the bank-side. We are merely a temporary visitor in their front room, behave in a way that you'd expect from anyone that comes into yours."
The rest of the day trickled away and I felt like Rugby had shone a light on me once more. Changing my presentation didn't hinder my chance of getting a take and it goes to show that two small baits can still get you the bites, this is something that I'm going to explore further, especially in the heart of winter. All in all another solid session.
The Moment We All Wait For