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Saturday, 18 May 2019

Burrows 'Echoes From The Valley' Part 11

These next set of blogs are going to be accounting for a series of sessions down on Burrows, it's these 'last' few sessions that will see me leave the water indefinitely. Part of me feels like it's a shame to walk away, I've fished the place for over a decade and it's the one place that I seem to have a special connection with. My reasons for pulling off are pretty simple really, firstly, I don't agree with what has been done with all the swims. The banks went from looking rough, ready and natural to suddenly having timber planks and wood chip thrown everywhere, not only that but the addition of a few extra pegs and their positioning has now created plenty of opportunity for stupidity in regards to anglers fishing on top of each other. Along with that, once a few 30's got caught and were plastered all over social media, anglers that usually didn't fish the place came flocking down. Finally, for the first time in ten years, me having two arguments in one week with two pricks who clearly didn't understand the concept of manors. I finally decided that it was best that I moved on and focused my attention elsewhere, when the carp circus comes knocking I've got to find the exit quick.

So let us turn the clock way back, the day of my session pretty much started out like any other. I arrived at the lake nice and early and decided to make my way round to where I'd had all my winter bites from. I was going to keep everything simple, pretty much just mimicking what I'd done all winter. Whilst I was slipping, sliding and wrestling with the barrow, I kept my eyes on the water, down past the muddy double and onward up the path. I came to a stand still to catch my breath opposite a swim that I call the 'bottleneck', this is an area of the water that I've never had much luck from. It use to be a 'hot spot' but over the years it seemed to dry up. Looking down in the edge there appeared to be several  patches of silt that had clearly been kicked up. The water had both the look and consistency of soup, milky looking bubbles still lingered on the surface. Carp had definitely been feeding there, after witnessing this, my plan instantly changed. I was working on the basis that if carp 'had' been there then there's a good chance they might still be in the area. I dipped into my bait bucket, showered the area with some 'tiger-fish', did an 'about-face' and made my way back up the path down through the woods and into the 'bottleneck' swim.
  
Swim Position 'Birds Eye View'

It was going to be a straight forward approach, I'd place both my baits a rod length or so either side of where I'd seen the silt patches. Any ounce of 'cool' I'd been exhibiting had very swiftly vacated my body, I was in a minor panic, mixed with a crazy excitement. If carp were still about I wanted to be getting my baits out as soon as possible. If today was to end in a fish I'd already made up my mind that over the next few weeks, in between my other sessions, the 'bottleneck' was the swim that I'd focus all my attention on. Just like my winter approach, I'd come down on a regular basis and put my baits on the same spots. With most of the other swims on the lake, you can pretty much guarantee that a lot of different bait will be going in and a lot of different anglers will be fishing all the obvious 'go-to' areas. Because this specific part of the water gets very little pressure, I knew that 9 times out of 10, when I'd come down to fish, this swim was going to be vacant. If I stuck to week days I could 'covertly' get on with my own thing, build the swim up and hopefully get some results. It was all dependent on how today was going to work out.

View From The Swim
Over the weeks that followed, I started to get a feel for the make up of the swim. There's a fair amount going on and I found it interesting. The marginal areas to the right hand side of my spot were surprisingly deep close in and then it gradually sloped down to 8ft, the bottom of the slope worked out to be just over half way across. I wanted to be positioning my bait no deeper than half way down the slope. I wasn't getting any real 'DONKS', it felt like a mix of silt & clay. Directly opposite me where the silt had been kicked up. It was about 3ft close in, about half a rods length out it fell away sharply to 5.5ft then gradually sloped down to 7-8ft. 

The left hand side of the swim fell away in 3 sections, it was relativity uniform close in and had a couple of sloping drop offs until it fell away to the deeper water. I wanted to be fishing the shallow sections of this area, it made no sense in targeting the deeper parts. From the communication I was getting every time the lead 'thumped' on the bottom. It appeared to be to same make up as the right hand spot, which was silt & clay. It's in these situations a deeper sonar would be an amazing tool to map the swim quickly but casting a bare lead about really helps to build up a mental picture. How accurate that picture is, it's hard to say but I feel better having something in mind to work with.

Tiger-Fish With A Fleck Of Color

Now with everything setup and ready to go I made one 'roughly judged' cast with each rod, both landed pretty much where I wanted them to. Having already chucked a couple of handfuls of bait in the swim from the other side, I opted to 'go relatively heavy' and scatter about half a kilo around the whole area. The reasoning behind this was 'instinct' more than anything else, feeling the temperature of the water and judging by the low clouds and atmosphere, I just knew in my gut that the conditions were right to bait heavy. Also from a 'passing thought point of view', I wanted enough bait out there to pull whatever fish might be ghosting around down onto my bait. If they didn't feed here on a regular basis I knew I had to keep the bait going in, with the hope that it would end up being an area that they got into the habit of visiting with the intention to feed. Obviously 'all the above' was wishful thinking but with a little bit of conviction and 'single bloody mindedness' it might just work out.

Long Hairs

Rig Talk

For the last 4 years or so I've been using an extra large rig ring on my blow back rigs. I've been asked a number of times why I do this, I'll explain. I personally think the more movement you give the hook bait the better the hooking potential. Through the years I've both read about and witnessed with my own eyes, carp picking up a hook bait and instead of bolting, sitting there blowing and sucking on the boilie trying to eject the hook. This was something I was told about many many years ago by Graham at Crowborough tackle. He explained that, on one specific local club water called 'Wirgol', the carp had a tendency not to bolt, instead they'd sit still sucking and blowing using the boilie as a tool to dislodge the hook.
To be honest I didn't really believe him and wrote it off as bollocks. This was until I had a very strange occurrence up Wirgol on a session not too long after the conversion. I can see it as clear as crystal in my mind. There I was sitting behind my motionless 'mixed matched' rods with my 45p orange bobbins clipped onto my lines. It was a really bright day, I was using a Richworths boilie called 'Meaty Mix' I can literally smell it as I type these words. I hadn't received one bleep which was hard to believe considering the pond was about an acre in size.

Towards mid afternoon I decided to reel in for a recast, as I picked up my right hand rod I was instantly met with a heavy weight. Whatever was on the end bolted off at pace, my old Sundridge rod was bent over double, not because it was a 'through action', because it was a 'shit action'. Anyway .... after a violent tussle I slipped my first ever fully scaled mirror over the net, weighing in at an awesome 13IB. At the time that was the biggest mirror I'd ever caught, the capture stayed in my mind for two reasons, firstly the size of the fish, secondly the fact that the carp had clearly picked the bait up and hadn't bolted. After what Graham told me I had no doubt in my mind that the fish was trying to ditch the hook, god knows how long it had actually been sitting there trying to do it. This was an experience and conversation that has stayed with me ever since, not all carp are the same but I think some are a lot smarter than what we give them credit for.

Large Rig Ring For More Free Movement

This is when the 5.3mm rig ring came into my mind, I wanted something that would stop the carp being able to use the hook bait to ditch the hook. I've found nearly 9 times out of 10, when you're using a large rig ring that can slide right up the shank and over the silicone kicker. The hair and boilie seem to tangle/lasso around the hook link, thus stopping the carp from being able to get the boilie back in its mouth. The bait basically tangles and stays well out the way. 'The white arrows on the image above shows the direction the bait has a tendency to travel when ejected'. I find this size ring combined with a long hair gives me really good hook holds. This is not in my imagination, I've genuinely seen a massive difference in the quality of the hook holds and I haven't lost a fish due to the hook coming out. Combined with a long hair, I have 100% confidence in this setup.

Back To The Session   

Bait of choice as mentioned before was the faithful 'Tiger-Fish', combined with that I was going to be fishing semi-fixed inlines with bottom baits. Attached to the hook on the cast would be a small mesh bag of crushed boilies, the hook bait would be topped off with an imitation orange maggot. The bait is of a dark tinge so adding a fleck of color might just help to entice a carp into picking it up. To finish off, my hook-links were made up of 'Nash Trigga-link' in 25IB combined with 'Kryston Silkworm' in 25IB. Many will know from past blogs that I love using the 'Trigga-link', I genuinely think it confuses the carp, you can tell by the bites you tend to get on it. You can literally see the confusion in the movement of the bobbin, not only that, if you're fishing for 'cute' fish that use the weight of the lead to try and ditch the hook. I think the 'spring' like quality of the 'Trigga-link' renders the whole 'head shake escape' useless. So now with both rods out I got my brolly up and set my swim out nice and tidy. Looking at the skies above I was definitely in for some rain, it was time to get the kettle on, sit back and hope that the fish that were in the area earlier weren't too far away.

Nice & Secluded In The 'Bottle Neck'
Why do I call this swim the bottleneck?. It's pretty simple really, this is the one part of the water that narrows. In my head Burrows is a lake of three sections, up the far end you have the cages. Then you have the main body of water which narrows through the bottleneck, opening back up at the 'bowl' end where the muddy double swim is located. You'd think that carp would be passing through the bottleneck all the time but, as mentioned before, the only bite I've ever had out the swim has been on a 7ft zig. Maybe they're moving through on a regular basis but they're mid-water, that would explain the zig bite. Also, lets not forget that I only fish days, maybe I would've had more of a result doing nights and longer stints. But as documented many times before, I can't stand camping, my night fishing days are very much behind me. I personally think that you put way more effort into what you're doing when you subtract night fishing out of the equation. I think it takes far more dedication focusing on just days, especially if you're going to be fishing consecutive sessions. I know there can be downsides to 'days only' but on each lake I fish I have to try to find a way to get a result in the time I have available to me.

Fish Feeding
Now with the steam from the kettle spluttering out the spout and the soft 'pitter patter' of the rain lightly hitting my umbrella, I sat quietly gazing out over the water. All the trees and branches were in full bloom, it felt like I was sitting in a strange 'hollow' within a lost woodland. The trees tower overhead and a small gap within the foliage gives you a partially obscured view of the water. As I sat staring out over my swim I started to see some activity, small streams of bubbles started to appear. At first I thought it might've been the mallards, but they were calm and hadn't made any commotion. I got my scope out and took a closer look, there was no doubt in my mind that carp had moved in and were very clearly kicking the bottom up. Now with my eyes fixed on the skin of the water, bubbles were hitting the surface in multiple spots, all the minor explosions were reminiscent of smoke signals. Coinciding with this, my right buzzer was signalling some movement, I sat transfixed, my heart was pounding in my chest, it was resonating in my head, boom .. boom .. boom ... booooom .... sccrreeeaammmm !!!!!. Before I could clock what was happening my right rod was away.

As the fish bolted off, multiple explosions could be seen, it was clear to me that the carp that had been feeding there in the early morning had come back. I lent into the fish, minor euphoria gripped my whole body, from all the years of fishing Burrows this was the first bite I'd had from this swim off the bottom. The fish bolted hard to the right, it was clearly heading for the sunken posts that 
ran up the the right side edge of the swim. You could just see the top of one poking out the water, this carp was firing on all cylinders to try and reach it. I had to put some serious pressure on to stop it, amid the battle I lowered my left rod off of the buzzer and sunk the tip so the line was well out the way. I continued to try and pacify the fish I had on, I'd managed to get it clear of the posts and I now had it 'comfortably' out in the open water in front of me. I started to relax a little, glancing down at my left rod still half sunken in the water, I saw the butt section jolt sharply to the left. Checking where both the fish and my line were, neither were anywhere near the rod. I had an awful feeling that I'd had a second take and I didn't have a second set of arms to land it.

Fish Number 1
I applied a little more pressure managing to get the first bite in the net, once it was safe in the mesh, I rushed to pick up my left rod and wound in the slack like a madman. I kept on winding until the line went tight, turning the reel and lifting the rod up high. It instantly pulled down to my right, I could feel a carp on the end but it had clearly bolted for the posts and succeeded in snagging itself around one of them. I couldn't believe it, I'd had a double take from a swim I couldn't buy a bite from in years. You could just about see the top of the post vibrating and pulsating as the fish was trying to flee. I kept the pressure on for a good few minutes, after which, I couldn't feel the carp anymore, looking at the post, it appeared motionless. I tighten right up, cupped the spool and walked back slowly, stopping for a few minutes as I went. The line was bow tight, pinging like a guitar string, suddenly everything gave way. I'd managed to bend the hook out and get all my terminal tackle back. I was obviously blown away with the fish waiting for me in the net. However having a second take and not being able to do anything about it left a sour taste in my mouth.

A 'Bottle-Neck' Beauty
Lifting the net slightly so the fish came into view, I was met with a beautiful chestnut colored mirror, this carp really was an amazing creature. A couple of photos were taken and I slipped her home, I had a feeling that all the commotion probably spooked whatever carp might have been in and around the area. However I wanted to witness the day 'play-out', this part of the water was new to me and I find simply sitting, watching and thinking about the swim can nurture new ideas for future sessions. Nothing else occurred but that didn't bother me, due to the result, I'd made up my mind that over the next couple of weeks I'd focus solely on this swim. I still didn't think it was an area that the carp fed in a great deal. I was going to approach it 'heavy-highhandedly, I'd 'fill it in', I didn't think a mouthful was going to cut it. If carp were passing through, which I believe they were, then enough bait had to be out there to attract them down. Before leaving I spread a good kilo and a half all around the swim with the plan to come back later in the week and give it another go. This little mission I'd set for myself was going to be a mini marathon, not a sprint.           


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

TF Gear Force 8 Rapid Day Shelter Review

"As in all my reviews I'd like to start by stating that I'm in no way connected to Total fishing gear. This is an independent write up that I hope might help you out if you've been thinking about purchasing the Force 8 Rapid Day Shelter"

Many of you that read my blogs will be aware that I'm not a follower of fashion, simply put, I buy things that I like not what I'm told I should like. Nowadays I feel carp fishing is very much 'fashion led' and I get the feeling that many newcomers to the sport are more bothered about what they look like when they're out on the bank, as opposed to understanding and applying their minds to the art of angling as a whole. The longer I'm in this game, '29 years and counting' the more I've come to understand that all the 'extras' that come with carp fishing, the tackle, the bait, the rigs etc are nothing more than distractions. It's the mind of the angler that puts fish on the bank not what bivvy one should choose or big pit reel one might prefer. There's far too much snobbery when it comes to 'brands'. I'm finding some of the major companies are relying on past reputation, many now churning out overpriced tat. I find the less popular brands are the ones producing reliable and reasonably priced gear, this is because many of them still have something to prove.

Moving on to the review, my 'Korum fibre-shield' had finally given up the ghost after many years of reliable service. Korum had discontinued it so I started scanning the internet for day shelters. If I'm not remaining mobile during a session I nearly always like to use some form of shelter, rain or shine, being nestled underneath something adds to the escapism and sanctuary that angling provides for me. Even though I only do day sessions, once I've arrived at the water it always feels nice to setup camp for the day, get my swim tidy and house all relevant items under cover. When I started to think about what I actually wanted from a shelter there were four main points. It had to be lightweight, built well and simple to setup and take down. I stumbled upon the "TF Gear Force 8 Rapid Day Shelter" when I was fishing with my friend Danny. It was a warm bright day and the wind was nuts, Danny disappeared for a few moments and suddenly reappeared again with what looked to be a small lightweight piece of material. With a quick "check this out", he performed some 'hocus-pocus' and within moments we had a home over our heads. I was pretty much sold straight away and I'd made the decision that when I needed a new 'portable fishing home' I'd be looking closer at the force 8.

The Force 8 In Action 
Before I continue I'd like to point out that I'm under no illusion that TF Gear aren't exactly what you'd call a 'trendy/cool' company. I think I'd go as far in saying that they haven't exactly got a great reputation in regards to some of their product lines and I know many out their wouldn't be seen dead using any of their gear. But none of that bothers me in the slightest, I've got to say that I own their trail-blazer barrow, chair, stove and some of their luggage range and for build quality and performance it's without a doubt the best I've owned by a mile. Before I continue I'd like to add that this review is for the 'force 8 rapid' day shelter, this is an updated version of the original 'force 8' that they produced a good few years back. So first impressions, the shelter itself is £59.99 and you get a lot for your money. It's neatly housed within a 'tie-top' bag with a handy shoulder strap. The point I like about this is the fact that the bag is a lot larger than the actual shelter. This means that you don't have to be messing around after a session trying to pack it super tight, you literally roll it up and slide it home. 

Over Sized Carry Bag & Shoulder Strap
The shelter in its rolled up form takes up about as much room as a standard brolly but it's much lighter. Removing it from the bag, it's nicely clipped up tight with a supporting strap, when you get it out you'll notice a mechanism attached to one end, this is the top of the shelter. It's this mechanism that you're going to use to erect it, it's a tidy little design and once you get the hang of it, nothing could be simpler. In the picture below the white arrow is pointing to the mechanism, it's here where all the magic happens.

The Mechanism Situated At The Top Of The Shelter
"I have images below demonstrating what I'm about to describe in this paragraph". To set the shelter up you lift it off the ground 'mechanism first', making sure that all the legs/stems are laying down on the floor. Then you're going to pull the protruding bar downwards 'number 1 in the image below' and clip it onto the long black bar 'number 2 in the image below', bar number 2 creates the shelters peak. From reading up online, some people find this a little tricky, from my understanding, this is because they don't apply enough force to the 'number 1' bar. My advice to you is, don't hold back, nothing is going to break. Pull it down hard and clip it in - job done !.

Clip Bar 1 to Bar 2 - Use Force
   
Finished Position

Once the main bar has been clipped into place the shelter should've taken shape, the next thing to do is to push the central shaft 'letter A in the image below' into the central part of the mechanism 'letter B in the image below'. Upon doing this you'll hear a "CLICK", once this has been done slide the two small rods forward 'letter C in the image below', this locks everything into place and will ensure the central shaft doesn't come out.

Click Central Shaft Into Place
The above paragraphs make it sound like a drawn out process but the whole procedure literally takes a matter of seconds. The main thing is having the confidence to pull and clip the bars together. Once you've got this down the shelter pretty much puts itself up. Below is a time-lapse video of both the setup and pack down.

Setup & Pack Down

 
So now we've covered the art of setting it up lets get down to the nitty-gritty. First off, it's made with a very lightweight material, I've fished with it in heavy rain and sunshine and I can confirm that it dries really fast without holding any moisture. All of the stitching is heavy duty especially around the four main pegging points. In regards to the pegs, you do get a bag with the shelter but they're of a very low quality and I'd advise you to replace them. I don't quite understand why TFG would create such a handy product only to supply substandard accessories. You can buy good quality pegs from most tackle shops. Moving on to the shape, to some people it may not look 'carpy' enough to be seen sitting under. Firstly 'carpy' is a stupid word, secondly I actually really like the shape and from an aesthetic point of view it hasn't looked out of place anywhere that I've taken it. The extended peak is a nice touch, it makes the overall appearance quite streamline, not only that, it helps to keep the rain out. Due the the sharp angle on each side of the peak, the water doesn't have anywhere to gather. It simply glides off and splashes to the floor a foot or so away from the front of the shelter, it doesn't drip inward.

Solid Pegging Points
When I was researching the product one of the main gripes I kept coming across was how wobbly and bendy the shelter can be in blustery winds. Due to its shape and design it isn't going to be as stable as a brolly and I've been getting a bit of 'wobble', especially in 'heavy weather'. However this can be partially solved, This next point is important, it's all to do with how you peg it down. When pegging your four main points, make sure you're pulling the shelter tight. Along with these main pegging points you get secondary support cords, you have one on each side and two located on the back. To ensure the shelter holds ground well in strong winds it's vital that you use all of the pegging points available. When the pegging down has been done correctly it should be nice and stable, you will still get a little bit of movement if the wind is strong but that can't really be helped. One down side that, again I find strange, there isn't a primary pegging point located on the back panel, this doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.

Side Pegging Cord
 Back Pegging Cords, No Primary Pegging Point
Moving on to the overall size, there's a surprising amount of room once you're inside. From the outside it genuinely doesn't look like it takes up a particularly large foot print. I've managed to fit it in all of my chosen swims so far and some have been pretty tight. You have plenty of head room and even on a relatively high chair you don't feel cramped. Me and my mate have spent a good few sessions in it hiding from both the wind and the rain, it doesn't feel like there's a lack of room. I would say it's perfect if you're fishing on your own and you want to fit your barrow and other items of tackle underneath to keep it all dry and out of the rain. This is where I think a shelter like the force 8 weighs in slightly over a brolly. As much as I loved my fibre-sheild I always felt I was hunching down, even when sitting and, apart from my seat and maybe my large tackle bag, you really couldn't fit a great deal under it at all.

Force 8 Dimensions
A couple of nice little touches regarding the inside of the shelter, you've got a sewn in plastic ring in the center of the ceiling which you could hang a torch or small light from and you have two sewn in pockets on either side. I've found these useful to keep a catapult, phone, sounder box etc in. Another nice touch is the option to open the back panel, this can be used to improve airflow on hot days or come in handy if you're pole fishing and it's tipping it down outside.

Optional Air Vent
Focusing on the force 8's negative points, firstly as mentioned before, you're going to need to replace the pegs provided, they're really not great. In regards to the design, one aspect that bothers me is the fact that the side panels don't go all the way down to the floor. There's a small gap of a few inches, this is particularly annoying if you've got a cold wind because you tend to get a bit of a draft firing in underneath. From a design point of view I really don't understand why they didn't make sure it went nice and snug all the way to the ground. Not only does the gap prove a drafty annoyance but when it rains some of the water tends to run down the sides and come in underneath creating wet spots, again if the shelter went all the way to the floor this wouldn't happen. One other point, 'mentioned before', is the lack of a main pegging point on the back panel, you have two extra pegging cords but no main pegging point.

In regards to the overall stability of the force 8, if pegged down properly it is stable but it's not solid, I do find that I get a lot more 'wobble' and movement compared to my old brolly, but this is to be expected because of the shape and the height. It's hard to say at this stage how it will fair in proper gale force winds and rain. I personally think it's suited more to less brutal conditions, like spring showers and moderate winds. I can see myself using it as a shelter to get some shade on a hot day, also because it's so quick to setup and take down it would be perfect on a pit or a river if you're going to be roving around. One last thing that I personally thought would of made a great addition would've been a couple of velcro straps to be able to clip your rods into whilst re-baiting or changing rigs. That's something that my fibre-shield had and I thought they were a really nice touch. All in all none of these gripes are particularly huge, if anything it's just me being a little pedantic. But as in all of my reviews I like to give an honest and rounded opinion.

Onsite With The Force 8
So to sum up, despite the odd gripe I actually really like my force 8 shelter, it's super light and super easy to put up and take down. I just really like the idea of having a home from home that you can put up in seconds. As mentioned before, I love the 'escapism' part of my angling and being tucked under a shelter enhances that feeling for me. If you're thinking about the force 8 as an option, you're not exactly buying a super luxurious engineered bit of kit, it's a little 'rough & ready' and it has its weaknesses. But gear is to use and abuse and for the money you can't really go wrong and you ain't going to feel too bad abusing it. I think it's pretty obvious that if you're a self-confessed tackle tart and follow both leading fashions and brands then a shelter like this isn't going to be anywhere near your radar. However if you're the type of angler that doesn't care for fashions and you just want a good reliable bit of kit that doesn't break the bank, then the TFG Force 8 rapid day shelter might be worth looking into. It's a piece of kit that I've already used loads and I'm really happy that I decided to purchase one.

Rating 7/10 

Ideal Application - Protection From Moderate Winds, Rain & Hot Sun
      

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Braxted Reservoir Part One 'The Trance & The Hypnotists'

This blog is going to be in two parts, in the second part I'm going to be accounting for a nice relaxed session up on Braxted Reservoir. There's a link at the bottom of this post that will take you directly to the session blog. In this first part I'd like to try and explain to you my viewpoint on "the outside world". I refer to "the outside world" as the place beyond the sanctuary of the waters and rivers we fish. What effects society has a tendency to bleed over into angling, I hope you can see the connection I'm trying to make. Some of what I'm going to say might sound like the ramblings of a madman, I'm fine with that, sanity is overrated.   

Having spent the last couple of months focusing solely on Cants I felt inspired at the prospect of shifting my attention elsewhere. In some respects I'm my own worst enemy because I never consistently stick to one water for a long length of time, once I start to catch regularly, I have a tendency to move on, coming back to 'said water' when it takes my fancy. I like fishing this way because it widens my perspective and keeps me thinking, I don't get bored. As we know, every water is different and the more scenarios you find yourself up against, the more your knowledge base expands and alters as does your experience. As mentioned before, I'm still writing my 2016 sessions up, existing as an angler in 2019 my viewpoint has taken a major shift. I'm starting to get the urge to branch out further afield, I mentioned the slight frustration I was feeling in my previous blog. I'm seriously considering taking on a big pit of some kind, something that I can really focus on and get into a rythm of fishing on a regular basis. I like the idea of bleak wide open spaces with little, to no knowledge of what the water contains. Part of me feels that my 'club water days' are slowly coming to an end. Over the next few months I'm going to be considering my next move very carefully.

In regards to big pits, I feel the seed was planted decades ago but its just taken a while to firmly root. Many moons back in the days of the VHS video I remember watching a film of Andy Little and David Seaman fishing a huge desolate water, it was a deep old gravel pit with an unknown stock. The film documented 7 days of fishing, I recall the endless thought process they went through to try and extract the mystery that lurked within its eerie depths. They worked tirelessly to try and make something happen, it was on the 6th day that a breakthrough occurred. For a good few days they'd been constantly feeding their swim, both of them stood there, each with a throwing stick and they just kept on applying bait. Carp finally started to show, I can literally see it in my mind now as I type these words, out across this huge hostile landscape, life was emerging. Single shows turned into multiple acrobatic displays. The bottom was clearly starting to get kicked up and then ... 'BANG' .. it all kicked off. There was something about extracting life from something so wild and untapped that had a long lasting effect on me.

Below The Surface
 

I had a recent conversation with a friend when we were discussing the very simple subject of existence, one point I made, which pretty much sums up where my mind is at was, "my interest is focused below the surface, dry land is far too obvious" - What I mean by this could be seen as complicated, "try and bare with me whilst I go off on a rather long tangent"

Lets Take A Trip Down The Rabbit Hole
  
On a day to day basis you pretty much know what's going to happen, we wake and we work and we abuse ourselves trying to get by. We're all continually chasing after something, an idea of happiness that's been cleverly implanted in our minds by a number of influences, a happiness that may not actually exist. Personally I'm still trying to work out what that 'happiness' is, one thing I'm certain of, it doesn't involve expensive cars, big houses and loads of money. I believe 'it' contains a far greater amount of substance than anything material. Along side that, you can literally predict the day to day conflict, it's completely out of hand, a massive majority are now so divided in their views and opinions that it's almost irreparable. In reality this shouldn't cause problems, but it does. Due to the current 'political climate' in the UK, never before has a line been drawn so deeply between the population. I'm hearing all these 'slogans' and 'buzz terms' that in theory, don't actually exist. Through the years they've been made to exist, I see this as a product of 'social engineering', many think they have their own mind and their own opinions, it can come as quite a shock when people wake up and realize they don't. Your opinions are formed and shaped by the information you're exposed to, I believe a vast majority of this 'information' is manipulated and designed to get a reaction and create friction. I started to write a poem about this and there's a line in it that says, "We're all infected with a virus, it's called media bias" - this line resonates with what I'm seeing around me, not just in the UK but all over the world.

It's Us Against Us

More than ever before people are defining themselves by meaningless labels, no longer do we use our names, you're either 'Conservative' or 'Labour', you're a 'Remainer' or 'Brexiteer', you're 'left-wing', 'right-wing' or 'center'. All these terms don't exist, they've been made to exist and each one has been given a meaning as a mechanism to divide and split the collective consciousness. There really doesn't need to be any divide because we're all sharing and existing on the same frequency, we're experiencing the same consciousness. A prime example I can give of the 'collective mind' operating as one was during the last world cup. I sensed a huge shift in peoples attitudes towards one another, we were all supporting the same thing. This produced an overall feeling of unity and it gave us all an amazing feeling of hope, for those that control, hope is a very dangerous thing. Once England got knocked out it took a matter of days for the usual divides to take hold again, the feeling in the air literally changed over night. But this gives us a glimpse of what society can feel like when our collective consciousness comes together. The more I observe the world, the more I believe that we're living in an engineered reality and as humans we're literally trapped in a collective trance that we can't break out of. 
  
Lead, Don't Follow

The creators of this trance are what I call the 'hypnotists', these are the mechanisms that keep us dumb and fixated on the 'unimportant'. They include the corporations, the media in all its forms, Hollywood, the music industry, the entertainment industry, the television companies, think tanks, celebrities, the list goes on, they're all around us in every area of our existence. It's these hypnotists that influence us on a day to day basis and many are completely unaware that this is the case. They form our world view, tell us how we should think and what we should feel, who we should like and who we should hate, what we should have and what we shouldn't. They do the thinking for us and many just take it all onboard without question. I believe the less self-belief you have the easier you are to influence, if you believe in both yourself and your actions, you'll have a natural resistance to this hypnosis. We have our own minds for a reason, and that's to use and develop them. The saying, "if you don't use it you loose it" rings very true here. And looking at society and the world in general, I think more people are losing their minds as opposed to using them. Before the worldwide web and smart phones it was far easier to remove yourself from the thought-control, but nowadays it's almost impossible. Until we break this trance the conflict and ill feeling is just going to escalate further. So how do we wake up? I don't think it's possible, as a race we're too far down the rabbit hole to be able to claw our way back out.

Down The Rabbit Hole
 

The idea of a 'trance' might sound utterly ridiculous to some of you out there, I can understand why. Surely to be in a trance we have to be asleep?. This isn't necessarily the case, both 'shock' and 'trauma' create a sleep like state even though our eyes are wide open and we're fully conscious. There are forms of hypnosis that can put you in a dream like state whilst you are completely aware of your surroundings. It's this form of hypnosis that our television set provides. How many times have you been watching TV only to realize that the hours have past and you've literally lost all sense of time. Another common symptom of how effective TV is as a trance inducing tool, how many of us find ourselves falling asleep in front of it, only to find that when we go to bed we can't seem to fall asleep as easily. Surfing the web has a very similar effect, I find that your awareness is locked so firmly on your screen that you're blind to anything else. If you're not careful a whole day can disappear and all you've got to show for it is a dozen or so carefully edited and choreographed social media updates. We're looking in the wrong places for substance, the term 'habitually distracted' comes to mind, we're so preoccupied with the 'meaningless' that we've lost sight of the 'meaning'. None of this is our fault, we're up against a finely tuned machine. Billions of pounds have been invested into learning about the human mind and how to manipulate it. Why is the trance so successful? There are many layers to this question but I have a main theory, it's perpetuated by targeting the lowest common denominators in our psyche.      

Don't Question, Stay In The Trance

A few of these denominators include the ego, vanity, greed, envy, anger and possibly, delusion. I believe we live in a society where these traits are being continually targeted and massaged. The more they're stimulated the more prominent and 'normal' they become within us, they're like muscles, the more they're worked the more they grow. When it comes to an outer influence stimulating the higher traits such as honesty, courage, imagination, loyalty and dependability, I see very little working towards bringing these to the forefront, it seems these traits are continually getting buried. The trance isn't contained to just one area of our lives, it's functioning in every aspect. In recent years angling has become infected, I think it's safe to say that, back in the late 70's and 80's, carp angling didn't really contain any 'hypnotists', it was all pretty much below the radar and only those on the waters knew what was going on. Unfortunately nowadays it's a very different story, the corporate machine has come and raped every ounce of honesty and beauty that carp fishing once held. We now have master hypnotists controlling and dictating to a 'mass' that's so consumed by the trance that a vast majority of independent thinking has been removed from the equation completely. Looking back over the lowest traits listed above, I see them all within modern day carp angling, ego and envy being the strongest by far.

Drop The Lead, You'll Land More Fish

It's at this point in this post that people may well disagree with what I'm trying to say, or they simply don't quite understand the point I'm trying to make, which is fair enough. But lets try and step outside of our angling minds for just a moment. One consequence of the trance that I find utterly absurd is dropping the lead on the take, I understand there's an argument that it's safer for the carp if you're fishing near snags or in weed. However, I don't think it should be dropped in any situation, if the weed and the snags are that bad then you shouldn't be fishing in that specific spot in the first place. But .. alas .. the 'catch at any cost' mentality is another symptom of the trance. When you look at it in the most straightforward way possible, we're traveling out into the countryside to occupy a place of beauty. We're placing ourselves in and amongst many living creatures and casting our lines into waters that contain their own ecosystem and universe. I was under the impression that anglers respected their environment and we simply slotted in and out without leaving a trace. But it would appear not, now we're dumping a highly toxic material in the waters in the name of "fish care". Does anyone actually understand just how ridiculous that sounds? unfortunately many many people don't see it as a problem. The master 'hypnotists' in modern day carp angling have such a huge influence that people are blind to the fact that we are slowly destroying the one thing that we're all suppose to love and look after. Is this statement over the top? ... no I don't think it is.

Monkey See Monkey Do
This is where 'celebrity obsession syndrome' rears its pathetic head. Through my eyes 'celebrity' is another meaningless word, it creates division, it's us, 'the lower' & them, 'the higher' - it's an illusion. It would appear if someone is on the television, in the movies, in the magazines and now on You-Tube or Instagram with millions of followers, all of a sudden they're elevated into a supreme being. They're propelled into the stratosphere, untouchable by us mere mortals. Suddenly everything they wear is a 'must have', everything they do has to be copied and everything that they say is gospel and, of course, 100% the truth. People will blindly follow 'celebrity', as if in a 'trance', and that's exactly what it is, all these apparent celebrities are just different examples of the 'hypnotists' I'm talking about. It's these same 'hypnotists' that convince hundreds of impressionable girls & boys to look a certain way, even if it's detrimental to their health. It's these same 'hypnotists' that distort their face with botox, thus inspiring many a 'beautiful' young person to do the same thing, disfiguring themselves in the process. In my eyes 'celebrity obsession' has an awful lot to answer for in this day and age. People need to develop their own mind and their own sense of self and stop relocating their self belief in a 'tin god'.  Let us not forget that it's this same 'celebrity obsession' that influenced hundreds, if not thousands of 'anglers' that dropping lead, a poison, into the water ways is exceptable and a new 'cool approach'. It's these same 'hypnotists' that teach you how to spend your hard earned money on outrageously overpriced tackle that you don't really need - just so you look the part out on the bank. However, one thing that's become very apparent, they certainly don't teach you manors, etiquette and consideration, these are all the good, valuable traits that, as mentioned before, aren't stimulated nowadays in any way.

So let us go all the back to my original point "my interest is focused below the surface, dry land is far too obvious" 
   
The above paragraphs explain how I see the world, it's not a forced viewpoint, I wish I had a far more "happy go lucky" way of looking at things, unfortunately I never have and that isn't going to change now. I find everything I see in the world around me to be an 'obvious' symptom of both the system and the collective trance. When I look to the waters, especially the idea of huge desolate pits and the possibilities that they hold, there is no trance, there is no 'left', no 'right' or 'center' and there is no divide. The information we receive when we're out in the wild isn't 'engineered', it's real, you don't know what's going to happen, nothing is obvious, there are no forces controlling or manipulating the outcome, only nature itself. I've spoken about all this many times before, those of us that fish are lucky, our 'get out clause' from the bullshit is when we cast those lines into infinity. Uncertainty in any other area of our lives is a stressful situation, but it's that same uncertainty that fuels us to get out and fish, it's that uncertainty that keeps us fixed behind our rods for countless hours, days and weeks. When you're away from the bullshit you can actually discover yourself and get a little bit closer to understanding who you are and what you want out of your life. How many people say they go fishing to "get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life". Have you ever asked yourself why you feel stressed and strained?, it's because our lives have been engineered to be that way, and since 'day one' its become normalized and accepted. When you get the time, cast your lines and break the trance. 

Braxted Reservoir Part Two 'Escaping The Trance'

The sun was high in the sky and there wasn't a cloud in sight, it was a good day. I had a chance to escape the system/trance for a short while, I'd made the decision to head up to Braxted reservoir, it's a water I like to fish when I don't want to fry my brain thinking too deeply about trying to get a bite. When I first joined CAA the reservoir was a water that I'd get really excited about. It contained a lot of 20's with a large stock of upper doubles. You could always guarantee that you where going to have a great day. Unfortunately in recent years I've found 'the res' has become a shadow of its former self, it's now overrun with hundreds of small carp and they've really effected the biomass of the water. Because the club don't own the fish they can't manage the stock like they did so brilliantly on Cants mere. This blog is from summer 2016, it was around this time that I started to see the waters deterioration. 

After a few more visits during 2016 & 2017, come 2018, I'd pulled off the place all together. As I sit writing this, I haven't fished the reservoir for well over a year, and to be honest I don't plan to fish it again, which is a real shame. But putting all that aside, it feels good to revisit the 'res' having not fished it for so long. A week or so before this session I'd taken a trip down to Burrows for literally a few hours. The session was so short that it wasn't really worth writing about, it was a lovely warm evening and I just felt that I had to cast a line. It was an 'off the cuff' decision that produced an 'off the cuff' common, it was a beautiful carp caught close to a sunken tree. It proves that sometimes it pays off to just go to the water, keep everything as simple as possible and see what happens, overthinking and over planning isn't always the way to go - I was very pleased with this capture.

Short Trip Success
On the morning of my session I felt lazy, I didn't see the point in rushing, the 'res' is good for a bite at most times during the day. To keep my head clear and avoid the possibility of 'thought pollution' I kept both the television and radio off, my wife had gone to work so I opted to eat my breakfast in silence thinking about the day ahead. The windows of both my front room and bedroom where wide open, the sun was beaming in, the net curtains were swaying as the breeze flew through my front window then exiting out the back. In the distance I could hear the sounds of the city, there were sirens, a constant hum of traffic and the occasional rumble as the train trundled along the track that's situated just a short distance away. I love mornings like this, especially when I can get 'the hell outta dodge'. Once the van was loaded I eased my way through the roads of SE7 and down onto the Woolwich road. The traffic was awful and as I looked into the distance I could see that the Woolwich road flyover was jammed right up. 

Living in London, this is the price I have to pay for not getting up at the crack of dawn, from feeling so relaxed I now started to feel wound up. Sitting in a static jam with a thousand exhaust pipes spitting poison, it was clear I needed to get out of the city before it got the better of me. As I looked at all the cars and all the people in these cars staring lifeless ahead of them, I couldn't help but think they were all in the trance that I'd spoken of in my last blog. So here I was desperately trying to escape the system, trapped motionless with a lung full of poison, as me and hundreds of others sat contained in our 'four wheeled' prison cells. I had no choice but to just sit there, silently wishing that those around me would just evaporate. After a very slow crawl I eventually found myself engulfed by the tubular hell that is the Blackwall tunnel, I can't put into words just how much I detest this 'eyesore'.

The Rat Race
Going northbound through the tunnel never feels quite right, I'm heading towards the city and everything gets really claustrophobic. The buildings tend to swallow the sky and everyone is fighting their way through the streets. Coming back southbound has a completely different feel about it, it's as if I'm escaping. Living on the outskirts of the capital is the perfect place to be, you generally don't feel trapped, everything appears more spread out and I have an exit route to the waters literally at the end of my road. Exiting the tunnel and now moving at pace, London was soon a speck in the rear view mirror. I opened the windows of the van and let the warm fresh air blast all the cobwebs of the city out of my ears. The journey flew by and as I turned off the A12 and on to the final stretch to Braxted, I was feeling excited. Pulling into the car park it was practically empty. Taking a quick wander, there were a couple of guys on back lake, front lake was empty.

The Walk Of Doom

Once my barrow was loaded I took a moment to prepare myself for the killer walk up to the reservoir. There's no easy way of doing it, it's a long hike, mostly up hill and just when you think you're getting to the top. You turn a corner and the hill gets progressively steeper, it's at the top of this final slope that the prize awaits and the dam wall end of the 'res' comes into view. As I stood at the peak of the hill I was hit by a lovely warm breeze that was firing down from the shallows, I took a few very deep breaths, I really needed them after the crippling walk. The res is surrounded by farmers fields so the wind can really pick up, when it's warm the carp have a tendency to get on the front of it. I didn't bother walking the water before setting up, I decided to be 'predictable' and fish tight to the dam wall over a heavy spread of bait. It's not brain surgery extracting the carp from the 'res', keeping it simple was the way to go. My bait of choice for this session was the 'tiger-fish', I'd been doing really well on it. Before even setting my rods up I put out about half a kilo making sure I spread it all over the area that I was planning to put my baits. Today was going to be pure boilie fishing.

View From The Swim
Regarding my rigs, I fancied a change, I'd been using my semi-fixed setup for so long. It works fine and I'm 100% confident in it, I just felt like using something different. I decided to revert back to the good old running rig. I feel this specific setup is so underused nowadays, I'd always done well on it. I can't help but wonder if some of the fish living in the more pressured waters are starting to get use to 'bolt-style' setups. I think this is something I'm going to explore over the coming months, when you think about a fishes instinctive reaction to bolt upon feeling resistance. How long does it take for a carp to go against its instincts and simply eject the bait upon feeling the weight. When I first started carp fishing I used the running rig exclusively. In past blogs I've made it no secret that initially I just couldn't get my head around the concept of a bolt rig. I was totally convinced that upon feeling the lead the fish simply dropped the bait and buggered off. Personally I believe this happens more than we think, are those single bleeps really just line bites or has a carp just ejected us, I guess this is something we'll never truly know. In the meantime I think a running setup is something I'll be moving over to.

A Simple Running Rig
    
With both rods now rigged up I was ready for the casts, I wasn't going to bother clipping up. The area that I'd baited was large, I felt that I didn't really have to worry about being super accurate. I knew that when the fish move in they're 'sure as hell' going to find my hook bait, they have a tendency to be in groups and they seem to feed heavy. Both casts were executed, both rigs plopped into the water and a soft "DONK" was felt as each came to land on the bottom. The make up of the bottom near the dam wall is mostly soft clay and silt, I love this specific area because you can literally see the carp moving in and feeding. You can almost predict when the bites are going to occur, you'll get a mass of 'fizzing' and then all hell breaks loose. Now with both baits in position I proceeded to put out another large helping of tiger-fish. I must admit, I've got to be careful because I find myself getting strangely addicted to using the throwing stick. I get a real sense of satisfaction listening to the sound the boilies make as they whizz out the end of the tube. To aid accuracy I like to give them a dip in lake water, they tend to exit the stick better than when they're dry.

Give-em A Soak

With the rods out and the bobbins clipped onto the lines, I got my swim organized and took a much needed seat. Looking through my scope I could already see some fizzing coming up in several areas where I'd put the bait in. My left hand rod which was positioned slightly further along the dam wall was bleeping and knocking. Within a matter of minutes it was away, I was on it fast and as I lent into the fish it bolted hard up towards some low lying branches. I could tell that this was a good carp, it was heavy, before I even managed to gain proper control, it had bolted under the branches. Everything went solid, as fast as the fish was on, it was gone, leaving me with a sick taste in my mouth. The rig was now very clearly stuck, I suspected there was probably a "get out clause" underneath the branches that the carp use to ditch many an angler. I cupped the spool and very slowly walked backwards keeping the pressure solid and consistent. Further and further back I walked, the mono was literally as tight as a 'military style' tripwire. I kept walking backwards, then ..... 'ping', the rig was free and as I retrieved it, thankfully I'd managed to bend the hook out leaving zero tackle in the water. 

Red Arrow Points To "Get Out Clause"
In my mind this was a false start so, after taking a long deep breath, I tied on a fresh hook-link and propelled the rig back out. Give or take a few inches, it pretty much landed in the same position. I now knew where the fish were going to head if that rod went off again, I decided to lock the clutch right up, I didn't want to be giving an inch. I put some more bait out, concentrating on spreading it right up to the spot the carp had ditched me. With the throwing stick still in hand, my right rod tore away. This fish bolted sharp to the right and headed straight towards the corner. I applied some serious side-strain to pacify its initial run. After an early explosion of energy the fish came in pretty easy. I had a feeling this carp must visit the bank a lot, it literally waved the white flag and jumped in the landing net. I felt slightly underwhelmed, it was a nice surprise to see a mirror engulfed in the mesh, considering most of the carp in the 'res' are commons. Unfortunately it was pretty beaten up, I took a few quick shots, applied some "propolis" to some of its old battle scars and quickly slipped it back.
      
A Weathered Looking Mirror
I got the rig back out followed by another helping of bait, during all this I'd been receiving liners on my other rod. There were definitely carp in my swim, it hadn't taken them long to move in at all. I reckon due to the wind direction there were fish milling around the area before I'd even turned up. With both rods back out I took a seat and continued to peer through my scope, I could see fizzing all over the place, it wasn't long before both alarms and bobbins were fidgeting like crazy. It was my left rod that was the next to go, the bobbin shot to the top and the rod started to get dragged off the rest. I was on it before 'panic mode' kicked in, the fish shot up fast towards the "get out clause", I managed to steer it away easily, this fish clearly wasn't as large as the 'escape artist' that had imitated 'Houdini' earlier on. It kited right out into the deeper water directly in front of me, I just let it run and slowly eased it towards me. I was enjoying this fight, the fish was frantic but it was a very pleasurable experience, thanks to my "3IB Ballistas". After a spirited tussle I slipped the net under a little silvery common.

Bite Number Two
Before taking a few photos I fired another couple of handfuls of bait into the swim. My other rod was bleeping and knocking so I slipped the carp back quickly just in case it went off, I didn't want to be juggling fish. I got the rod back out, hung the bobbin and sat there peering through my scope. There were clear signs of fish in the area, from a distance the swim looked pretty lifeless. It shows the importance of having a scope or binoculars of some type. I've got into the habit of using 'magnification' most of the time, it's amazing what you can see if you really look, there have been times when I was going to reel in and reposition my rigs, when on closer inspection with a scope, you could clearly see that there were carp in the vicinity. So there I was sitting on the edge of my seat peering through my 'magnification', both rods where crackling with liners. It was tense stuff, I knew a bite was imminent, sure enough my right rod screamed off. Picking it up I suspected this was one of the smaller carp, there was no pull and it was zigzagging all over the place, it wasn't taking any line, I even loosened the clutch just to hear the addictive 'ticking', it came in close and literally jumped into the net. It was another 'weathered' looking fish. For some reason, with each bite that came I was feeling more and more uninspired.

A Uninspiring Third Bite
I slipped the fish back fed the swim some more and got the rig back out. I don't know exactly what it was but I was starting to feel somewhat deflated. This was very odd for me, it was lovely being out on such a warm and bright day but the overall feeling of the 'res' and the fish I was catching appeared to be putting a dampener on proceedings. Even though the session was suppose to be a laid back affair. I couldn't help but think that I now wanted far more out of my fishing than waters like the reservoir provide. I wasn't enjoying catching these carp, it had nothing to do with the size of them, it was the condition that was getting me down. I think the carp in the 'res' are so pressured and many of them have been caught loads of times before, add the amount of small carp living in the water to the equation, and it all just feels a bit crap. The magic I felt when I first fished the place had clearly vanished. Whilst I sat contemplating the situation, my left rod tore off. Just like the bite before, it was shooting from left to right but it wasn't taking any line. Only when it was under the rod tip did it wake up, as it surfaced I caught a glimpse of another nondescript common. As I lowered the net it made a last ditch attempt to escape but was soon engulfed in the mesh.
  
More Of The Same  
Slipping the fish back I decided to reel my other rod in and stop fishing for awhile, I suspected that a large-ish shoal of smaller carp might be sitting on my bait. The plan was to let them clear me out and hopefully they'd move off, then later I'd cast a couple of singles back out and see if I could tempt a better fish. The large carp always seem to come later on in the day. It was 3:30pm now so the plan was to cast out at 5pm, I put the kettle on, brewed a coffee and decided to go for a walk around the water. I made my way up towards the shallows, looking out over all the fields, there wasn't any sign of another human anywhere, I had the whole place to myself. Just for a second I wondered what it would feel like to own my own lake, it's always been a dream of mine, being all alone with only the water as company, I imagined that both the reservoir and the fields that surround it were mine. I think it would feel pretty special to own your own secret water, you could hand pick the carp and give them a good home, I wouldn't fish it. I'd leave them alone to grow up and have a peaceful life. I imagine time spent watching both the fish and the water mature would be a very cathartic experience. There would be no restraint or control, nature would simply take its course.

Amid The Fields

As I reached the shallows I half expected to see loads of fish milling around, it was surprisingly quiet, I spotted a couple but nothing to really write home about. Sipping my coffee whilst the odd twig cracked underfoot, I felt better just existing by the water than actually having my rods out. Now on the opposite bank from where I'd set up, my swim looked a mile away and the dam wall looked huge. It's amazing how the perspective of both the swims and the water can change depending on where you're standing. I made my way down the bank and onto the stretch of the dam wall, all the branches were overgrown and obstructing the path. I clambered through until my swim was in view, with the mini expedition over I daydreamed and watched the water right up until 5pm. Then both rigs, each with a single hook bait, got launched back into the swim. Now with the bobbins hung and a newly found enthusiasm, I sat static staring across the water. 

The early evening is by-far my favorite time, activity on the water tends to increase and the 'magic-hour', more times than not, tends to produce a take or two. It was dead on 6pm when my left rod ripped away, this was a violent bite, I immediately it was a better fish. As I lent into it my 'Ballista' arched right over, I swear I heard the blank give off a 'yelp'. With the clutch humming, the carp made its way across the open water at a serious pace. This was the first bite of the day that I felt excited about it was pile-driving, left, right and center, I was embroiled in a real battle. With the sun slowly lowering, I was still totally alone with the water to myself, standing connected to a mystery that was minutes away from coming into view. As the carp came in closer, it surfaced, it was a long looking common with a lovely grey back and white belly. Catching a quick glimpse, I was eager to get it in the net, closer and closer it came, it was now in spitting distance of the landing net. After one last run around I was soon netting a beauty of common carp.

A Perfect Fish To End The Day
Once the fish was safe in the cradle I took time to admire it, there was one slightly damaged scale that I treated. Apart from that it was spotless and a solid reminded of why I use to love the 'res' so much. I know that between the hoarders of tiny carp that now inhabit the place, there's always going to be a few secrets swimming around somewhere. I decided not to cast out again, instead I reeled both rods in and slowly packed away. With the sun lower in the sky than it was an hour ago, I took one last look at the 'res', the mallards were fighting and the coots were skipping along the waters skin. I trundled down the hill and onward through the farm yard, the scent of cow poo hit me as I past the the cattle buildings. It had been a strange day, it was only towards the end that I started to feel inspired. I just genuinely feel like I've grown out of the place, it would be November when I'd revisit the res for my next session. In the meantime, in the short-term, I'm going to be heading back down Burrows for a series of sessions where I concentrate all my efforts on a section of the water that I call the 'bottle-neck'.

The journey home was easy, I flew down the A12 at a leisurely pace, I was driving towards the sun, minute by minute it slowly fell below the horizon line. As I edged closer and closer to London I could feel the traffic getting heavier, I could feel the system closing down around me. To avoid the 'thought pollution' I kept the radio off, once home I didn't switch the television on. Between now and the next session I was going to do my best to avoid the 'psychological ball & chain' the media like to put on our thought process. But I knew it was going to be tough, it just a matter of time before both 'the trance' & 'the hypnotists' would do their best to muddy the waters, to continue to divide all of us. I was counting the days till I could, once again, make my escape and leave our engineered reality behind. It turned out I'd be back out within the fortnight, I look forward to sharing the next set of sessions with you. It's and interesting section of water that I focused on with some equally interesting results.     
  
"When you get the time, cast your lines and break the trance".