Sunday 26 April 2015

Burrows 'A Ghost In Winter' Part 4

One of the great advantages in writing about my angling is that I get a chance to look at it all from a distance, this allows me to clearly understand what I've done with my time spent on the bank and what path I'm going to take in the future. I only seem to experience a true sense of clarity once the process of writing and recalling has been completed. 

The moment I press the 'publish' button, it's like setting a ship off to sail, within the final moments before departure, you then get a true sense of whats been constructed, and as it sets sail or takes flight 'whatever metaphor you chose to use' it's now free to become whatever it's destine to be. It's at this time I can use whats been written to plan my future sessions, catalogue mentally what's worked well and develop a few areas that I feel were lacking.

What I mean is this.. when I look back through my winter sessions on Burrows I can see that I was thinking in a proactive way, adapting, changing and trying things that I'd usually sit on for a good while before putting them into practise. I've managed to catch some really nice fish and I think this is because, basically put, "I was doing the right thing", so obviously I was going to get "the right result". This demonstrates how adapting and always trying to be progressive in your thinking can make all the difference, it's too easy to stick to just one way of fishing. 

You simply can't do the right thing and get the wrong result - and visa versa. If you're continuously not catching on a venue and you're fishing it in exactly the same way every time you go, change one thing, and repeat this process until the bites start, sometimes the simplest of things can make all the difference, any change you make needn't be complicated, simplicity is always the key. Combine this way of thinking with confidence and conviction in your own choices and I'm willing to bet the worm will slowly turn and with time, you'll landing net mesh will be gracing some gifts.

Getting To The Job At Hand

This blog is going to account for a short day session, it was during this period that I got very busy with work so I had to slot my angling in when it was possible. This time around I'd decided that, to a degree, I was going to replicate what I'd done previously, the only difference being that I'd moved one swim up to the left. You can get away with fishing this area of water literally a few yards out. I call this swim 'The Spit' because it resembles a narrow walkway that branches out further than the rest of the bank side. 

I personally love this spot, when you walk out to the end of it, you're surrounded by water, the view is incredible and when the wind blows hard, it's as if you're at the apex of a mountain, you feel so isolated, many times I've got myself soaked and blown sideways standing on its edge whilst wrestling a carp. Directly under your nose it shelves right down to 7/8ft and has proved to be a pretty successful patrol route in the past. With the cold wind shifting the water, I visualised the carp lurking in the deep. 

Face To The Wind On The Edge Of The Spit

On the day of the session I arrived for noon, it felt brutal, you could really feel a knife in the wind, it was cutting. This already got me thinking that my vision of the carp haunting the deep channels could be right, I felt pretty optimistic. I'd decided I was going to be sparse with my baiting approach, I really didn't think the carp would be up for feeding much, maybe if at all. 

My bait of choice was Caribbean boilies that I'd soaked in Tigernut & Maple glug, they were very potent and I knew 100% that if fish were visiting the area, they'd find them hard to resist. Over the top of each rod I was going to put a handful of multi-mix pellets that had also been soaked in the same glug. I'd left the pellet soaking so it was just on the edge of breaking up, I wanted them to almost disintegrate whilst they were passing through the water columns, not only would this create a wide area of attraction, it might also pull any fish in the mid to upper layers down on the deck, or at least in the rough area of where my baits were.

An Anomaly On The Landscape
Rods were set, I was fishing tight to my back leads, bobbins were literally touching the blank, I'd set everything up so it was as sensitive as it could be. The kettle was on and the waiting game had now officially begun. I took a moment to think about my previous sessions, it felt good to be concentrating on one lake. As most know who read my blogs, I have a lot of waters on the go at the same time. I think putting all of my attention into one lake, 'especially in winter', was the right move, it allows you to go through a much more systematic process. 

A Single Mini Spomb For My Left Hand Spot

Winter time is all about giving yourself the best chance of catching, even though it can be a rather lonely period, fishing through the colder months is vital for me to continue to gain knowledge and understanding of angling as a whole. The bigger picture you create for yourself on the bank, the more chance you have of being able to tackle any water that you might come across in the future. If I'm not learning I don't feel like I'm fishing right, each time I walk away from a session I make mental notes of everything that I can use to my advantage on future outings.

View From The Swim
Along with both glugged boilies and pellets I'd topped off my hook-baits with some of Krystons Doppel-Ganger. This is a very versatile substance that comes in a variety of colours, it's super buoyant, flavoured and best of all you can mould it into any shape you choose. In theory I was fishing a mini 'snowman' style presentation, I wanted that little bit of buoyancy to counter act the weight of the hook and again, present something a little different to your standard round shape.

Topped With The Doppel-Ganger

A few hours passed with no action, this alone proved that the drop in temperature had without a doubt effected the fishing. But as we know, this is all part of the puzzle, I knew what I was doing was spot on for the conditions, I just had to wait it out. On the upside, I was the only one on the water, the colours around me were vivid and both me and the landscape were taking a good old beating by the elements. 

I decided to take it all on the chin, keeping the brolly packed away, I took pleasure in inhaling deep, clean breaths of fresh air, combining that with an immense intake of caffeine, I was pretty high on life, the thought of a blank didn't bother me at all. On the other hand, the thought of me having stayed at home to not soak all this up, that just wouldn't have been an option.

Suddenly my right rod was away, totally taken by surprise I grabbed it, composed myself and I was soon "back in the zone", the few hours of no action were soon forgotten as, after a solid fight, I was staring into the eyes of a lovely mirror, draped in its winter skin. It was a lovely mid-double, I didn't weigh her, a few quick photos and she was back in her watery hideaway, what a tidy little result.

A Spirited Mid-Double Came Out Of Nowhere
The rod went straight back out on the same spot, along with a handful of bait. Back-leads and bobbins were reset, all was calm after the momentary chaos, the kettle was back on and I was sitting once more staring in trace over the water. The wind started to ease and the low sun shone brightly, I sat thinking about angling, the excitement, the expectations and the sheer buzz you get when the alarm sounds. 

I find every time I get a run I experience a 'time shift' effect, you can sit for hours and days waiting for a fish, the second the rod goes off, all the time spent waiting simply vanishes within a few seconds. On experiencing the capture and of course, the release, it's as if you're refuelled for 'the wait', you get a feeling of optimism as you recast, re bait and once again take a seat. Patience is a beautiful thing when you're in pursuit of carp, patience has to be mastered and as mentioned before, one of the main foundations that lies within patience is confidence in knowing that you are giving yourself the best chance of getting a bite.

Late afternoon arrived, all was quiet, I hadn't seen any evidence of fish, I was thinking about packing up but this thought was soon erased when I heard the bobbin on my right hand rod smack onto the blank. I was in, the rush in my gut erupted, time once again became irrelevant and I proceeded to battle with a ball of chaos that was weaving around the water in front of me, I held on, let the carp blow its load and soon netted a moody looking common. Once again, I didn't weigh her, she was a good mid double and very much welcome.

A Perfect End To A Session
Once again I felt it was a pretty solid session, it was clear to me that things were starting to slow down. This however was not going to put me off, I believe that carp are catchable all year round but you have to change your view point on how you're going to go about catching them. My gut was telling me that there were still fish to be had. My next session was going to be the start of my mobile approach, as the fish get less active I need to make sure that I keep busy on the bank. Both location and baiting correctly is going to be vital if I expect to get any kind of result.

As I made my way, once again, along the muddy path and up to the carp park, the whole complex was deserted. The sun had set, it was very eerie, I packed the car and decided to walk back to a point where Burrows could just about be seen through the trees. I felt connected, and at the same time, totally alone, for all I knew there could have been a nuclear war raging, but I had no interest in the outside world, it's something I find hard to be a part of at the best of times. I knew I'd found my place years ago and as long as I'm by the water then I know everything is ok. 

There's No Place Like Home

Saturday 18 April 2015

Burrows 'A Ghost In Winter' Part 3

It was a week or so before I managed to get back on the water again, work had kept me away, but during this time I'd been thinking a lot about how I wanted to approach my future sessions. Firstly I was done with "the muddy double" swim, I'd had a solid result but I felt that if I was going to stand a chance at catching some of the better fish, I was going to have to pick my spots wisely, I didn't want to retread old ground. 

"I'd like to point out before I start that I'm aware that some of you that read this may fish Burrows and think "what the hell is this guy on about, it's a runs water", and to a degree that is very true, if I wanted to load the far margin up with bait and sit on it, I'd have plenty, but I don't have a great deal of interest in approaching the water in this way. I'm searching for the diamonds, the bigger fish that haunt the place. I've had many productive sessions fishing it in a predictable manor, but this series of blogs is not about fish numbers, its about fish quality and exploring the water a great deal more than I have in the past" 

Part of my winter planning was to chop and change things around, I didn't want to play it safe, I wasn't going to learn anything if I carried on adopting the same approach. This went for both bait application and the spots I was choosing to target. You only gain a wider knowledge of what's in front of you by exploring all the options available. Some of my best results have come from the sessions when my intuition has completely overridden my literal thinking. You'd think that with all the years of fishing the lake, I'd know pretty much all there is to know, but I don't see it that way. There are so many variables within carp fishing, almost too many. I believe the carps behaviour changes constantly, especially on pressured waters or venues that don't have a closed season.

Theory Time - Please Bare With Me

"A pressured fish never has any time to really act naturally, there's always lines in the water, piles of bait set to create an ambush, and of course, angling activity on the bank. The older fish have seen everything there is to see, time and time again, and I believe that they constantly adapt and change their habits to survive, to feel safe, it's a natural instinct, not only in carp but in humans to. How many times do we hear that "X" fish hasn't visited the bank for "X" amount of months or even years? It isn't 'luck', I believe it's the sign of a creature that is so acutely in resonance with its own environment that it naturally  adapts and changes accordingly"

"I first started thinking about bigger carp in this way when I read Lee Jacksons book 'Just For The Record', 'The Quest For Two-Tone'. The aspect that really stood out to me was when he first started to fish Conningbrook. The carp were very visible and they had their habits, a fairly simple approach seemed to bank most of them. Once they'd been caught a few times, their habits changed, they didn't show in their usual spots, the majority of the time they didn't show at all, and as time went by they became harder and harder to catch. Was This Luck On The Carps Side? no I don't believe it was, I think they'd wised up and obviously adapted to their now, new environment, and proceeded to exist with far more caution than before. Even when it comes down to feeding, why is it certain fish can "get away with it" and others seem to get caught all the time. I don't believe it's a conscience thought on the fishes part, I think again, it just comes down to instinct and experience... I know this sounds crazy, I might be giving THE CARP way to much credit, but I find that if I think like this, you are keeping your mind open to every possibility, and in doing so you're more willing to grow and adapt as an angler." 

So, going back to my original point, I don't believe you can ever learn everything there is to know about any of the waters that you fish, especially when/if the carp are constantly shifting the goal posts, which I believe they do .. a lot, but, of course there's always going to be the odd exception to the rule.    

Mystery Returning
Back To The Session

On revision, nearly all my good fish have come from the channel that runs down the centre of the lake, it really doesn't get fished a great deal. In the deepest part, you're looking at about 9ft of water, all my bites have come from between 5.5ft and 7ft. I visualise the channel to bare resemblance to a valley surrounded by gradual fields that gently slope down either side. I was looking to place my baits on both sides of the channel, in roughly 6ft of water, too me this felt like a good depth to be fishing in. In my mind it was the perfect 'middle ground', especially if the carp were swimming in the mid-layers down the centre of the lake.

With all this in mind, come the day of the session, I was fired up to get down to the water as soon as possible. I arrived on the bank around 8:30am, I took a relaxed look around, there were no signs of fish anywhere so I proceeded with my plan. I headed to the centre of the lake, put the kettle on and got my rods sorted out, I didn't use any marker to find my exact spots, I could pretty much judge by the drop on both casts that I was in the 'ballpark' area. 

My chosen bait was Green Lipped Mussel, I know that this type of bait is favoured more for the warmer months but I've done very well on both this and other fish-meal based baits in the colder conditions. My bait application was going to be the complete opposite of last time, I was going to fish heavy, creating a nice spread of bait all around both zones. Whenever I use fishmeal & GLM baits despite the time of the year, I fish them heavy, it always seems to feel natural to apply them in this way. It's the milk protein baits that I have 100% confidence in using, when fishing with singles or minimal bait.

GLM & Multi-Mix Pellets

To create a little more attraction around my hook bait I was going to fish small PVA mesh bags. Each bag would contain crushed GLM boilies and mixed pellet, the pellets I favour are designed to breakdown fast, even in cold water. Along with the added attraction, this would also create a nice fleck of colour which I hoped would help to encourage a bite.

A Nice Tidy Package

Once both rods were in position I started to apply my bait, I spread it all around both spots, I wanted bait distributed over a fairly large area in different depths and, at least two handfuls were applied a good few meters away from both hook baits. My thinking behind this was to hopefully pull in any carp that might be mooching around on the bottom and at different depths, patrolling along the slope of the channel. Even though it was cold I had a gut feeling that I might be able to get a few fish competing. Again, I'd like to point out that all of these decisions were acted upon intuitively, I didn't want to entertain my conscience thought in any way. "It was a gamble - but I was willing to go with it" 

View From The Swim
As I placed the bobbins and finally took a seat, I was feeling pretty optimistic, the temperature felt slightly up compared to my last two sessions and it felt like it might just be enough to help produce a few more bites. And with this thought, my right-hand rod was off, I didn't even have a chance to get poetic, slightly stunned I leapt for the rod and I lent back into something that felt pretty dam heavy. The fight was short and before I knew it I was staring at my first carp of the session, it lounged in the landing net mesh, looking as perplexed as I was, "talk about a quick bite". Scales fell to 20IB.

As Clean As They Come
To be honest I was taken by surprise, my system didn't have time to compute the fact that I'd managed to bank a real good fish so quick. "Maybe some of my far fetched theories weren't so nuts after all". It's only as I sit here writing this, looking at the image of the carp above, do I realise what a truly awesome catch it was. It was yet again another example of why I've spent minutes, hours and many years, perched on the banks of Burrows. I truly did 'unearth a diamond' with this one.

Once she was returned I got the rod back out and baited up with another generous spread of boilies. My left rod was still perfectly perched, waiting for a passing fish, I just left it as it was, I knew it was primed for a bite. I finally had time to take a seat and soak in my surrounds, everything appeared very still, almost too silent, I could feel that the world around the lake was in hibernation, even though a few shrubs and trees still had some green leaves on them, you knew this was all so very temporary, they were simply the last survivors - "maybe I was to".

A single bleep off the right hand rod broke my day dreaming, a second bleep upped my heart rate, before I knew it, it was flying away again. Sliding down to my rod, I lunged and grabbed it, whatever was on the end was darting around all over the place, I could feel it shaking its head furiously, it surfaced, it was a mirror that looked none too pleased that she'd fallen for my ambush, eventually winning the battle, the mesh slid under a lovely mid double common, I didn't weight her, she was a monster in her own right.

Future King Of The Water
I love fish when they're wearing their winter skin, they always look so vibrant when the days are dull. On returning her I repeated the process, another large offering of boilies with the rig cast gently over the top. That spot was obviously working for me, still, the left hand rod was yet to go, I felt confident that it eventually would so once again I left it where is was. As I sat back down my mind started to wander once again, I decided to spark up another coffee and made a concerted effort not to get too tangled up in my thoughts. I watched the water, the clouds and the coots, you can always rely on the coots to put on some kind of performance, this helped the time pass fluidly.

White, No Sugar

A few hours past, all was quiet until out of nowhere the left rod took off, "took off" is an understatement, it was a ferocious take. I was on the rod fast, still the fish had taken so much line and was edging closer and closer to the far margin snags. I held on for dear life and the blank creaked as it bent double, it felt like a good fish. We had a wrestling match that seemed to last forever and I struggled for a while to really feel like I was in control of the situation. Eventually I won the battle and another good looking mirror slipped its way into the net mesh. Scales fell to 21IB 6oz, I was blown away.

A Winter Wanderer 
Once again the fish was perfect, not only does it go to show that trying something different can pay off, it's also a perfect display of the fact that Green Lipped Mussel base mixes can still get you bites in the colder weather. I usually have a 'default' way of thinking when winter comes, "surly it's the season for the sweet birdseed mixes and the ever reliable fruity milk proteins". This session was proving otherwise and I was going to take this all on board for future winters to come.

Both spots had produced and they'd produced very well, I'm glad that I was able to tame my obsessive mind enough to think clearly on how I wanted to approach the session. After this fish I was in two minds whether to pack up, I was obviously on a roll and when you're getting gifts from the gods, it's rude to turn your back on them. I decided that I was going to sit it out until after dark, I had an hour or so to wait, I felt like witnessing the closing of the day, one of the continuous highlights of my angling existence has been under the summer sun and below the winter moon, these are two polar opposites that fit so perfectly together.  

The day retreated and within a few minutes I was surrounded by the dark, the clouds became heavy so there was literally nothing for the retina to focus on. I sat tight with me eyes squinting in the direction of my rods, I was hoping the sound of my alarm screaming would provide me with navigation. All remained still, and it continued like this for a good hour before I saw a light in the darkness. My right hand bite alarm gave a small indication, the LED shone like a landing beacon and then stayed constant as the rod ripped off. 

I stumbled down to the rod, flicked the head-torch on and lent into the void, the clutch ticked, I was in to something and it felt pretty solid, it took line, it was heavy, the fight continued for a good few minutes before I eventually netted a really good looking common, there's something slightly sinister about playing a carp in the dark, I find it to be so much more sensory because you're going by what you're feeling rather than what you're seeing, once in the sling the scales sunk to 23IB.

23IB Common After The Dark
I was slightly stunned, three twenties in a session is good going, taking into consideration that they're not exactly in abundance in this water. This carp was an incredible way to close what can only be described an as amazing session. It goes to show that changing your approach over a series of short stints can really payoff, it always pays to experiment, "if you don't try, you'll never know"

It goes without saying that I was excited to get back down again, I'd already planned how I was going to approach the next few sessions, again, it was going to be different. I was planning on staying mobile and gently feeding a few different spots up, rotating between them. This was an approach I've always wanted to try on Burrows and it felt like the right time to do so. As I struggled with the barrow through the darkness and up the muddy path to the car park, I felt like the diamonds that I was so eager to unearth were slowly uncovering themselves. I look forward to continuing to prospect the water, if I'm lucky I might even land a bar of gold. I'd like to leave you with a poem I wrote whilst on the bank called 'Bridges Fall'.

Monday 6 April 2015

Burrows 'A Ghost In Winter' Part 2

With the result I had on my last session I was buzzing for a good 24 hours afterwards, the common I caught was a great way to kick off my little winter stint. I was itching to get back down Burrows, when I think of how many times I've fished the water and how many awesome fish I've had, it says so much about my connection with the place, that I can still get so excited about being on its banks. 

I think one of the main reasons that I buzz so much is because I keep my expectations realistic, thinking about it, I'm very grounded about all the different waters that I fish. Never once do I load my car thinking "I have to catch a big carp", I simply welcome the idea of catching, be it a single, double or a monster, if you keep your expectations realistic then you never walk away from the bank feeling disappointed, once again, it's all about your mind set. I know I repeat myself but consistency is the key for me, if I can remain consistent on all my waters, a special beauty will at some point grace the landing net.

On The Day Of The Session

The alarm clock broke my sleep at 6:30am, I was up like a shot, all my gear was prepared so I could exit quick and make my way down to the waters edge as early as possible. I always amaze myself when it comes to getting up to go fishing, I'm out of bed like a cannon ball, wrecking everything in my path. Getting up for work is a very different test, it's as if I'm stapled to the mattress. Clothes were thrown on, I inhaled a couple of coffees, loaded the car and floored it all the way down the motorway. A combination of adrenalin and caffeine turned my enthusiasm into borderline obsession, I had visions of carp in front of my eyes, long ones, dumpy ones, all kinds of "Cyprinus Carpio" were feeding within the margins of my mind.

The idea of getting this excited after the best part of twenty five years of angling is something that never ceases to inspire me. I had so many ideas of how I wanted to fish the session, this time around, on arrival I wanted to take a nice long walk around the water, think hard about where I was going to fish and basically take it all as it comes, hopefully doing this would tame my excitement. 

I find when I'm really excited I have a habit of going 'through the motions' and don't always consider things as much as I should, I believe that in the past this has cost me a fish or two. It's always important to consider all your options prior to casting out, there's nothing worse than pitching up in a swim when you're not 100% confident with your decision. Confidence grows and stays with you when 'in your mind', you know that you've done everything you can do to get a bite.  

On arriving at the water I left my gear in the car and went for a wander, the conditions were pretty much the same as the previous session, the only difference being that there wasn't much of a breeze, the sky was vacant, their was a strange silence, it all felt fairly tame. I took advantage of this and walked the whole lake, stopping in each swim to see if I could clock any carpy activity. 

It all looked quiet, I was going to have to go on my gut feeling and consider past experiences. I was edging towards going back in the muddy double, there's a spot down in the opposite right corner of the bowl that usually produces a few bites, funnily enough it's not an area that I target during the summer, it seems to always call to me when temperatures drop.  

The Muddy Double 'Many A Moment Shared'
The aspect that really interested me about the area I was considering, was the fact that it's deep close in and shelves down gradually to the deepest part of the lake. In my mind this was a perfect winter holding spot, I visualised the carp patrolling up and down the marginal slope. Even though the water was now pretty much crystal clear close in, there was still enough depth in the margin for the fish to feel safe, 'Well This Was My Theory Anyway'. I find if I can build up a clear image in my mind of what a spot might offer, I feel inclined to follow through with the hunch. It's like drum playing, you can learn so much by listening, if I can visualise how the drum part is being played, I can shift and mould the ideas into my own playing style. 

The Muddy Double - For Obvious Reasons
My chosen bait for this session was Honey Nectar, I was going to fish a cut down single on the hair and literally two or three broken up boilies as freebies, followed by a light scattering of pellet. I was going to walk round before casting out and drop the few free offerings in the rough vicinity of where I was planning to cast. I wanted the presentation to look as random as possible, as if a bit of bait had been thrown in the margin after a session. 

'We all do it', boilie, corn, or whatever we've been using, usually gets pulled off the hair and thrown in the margin in front of the swim at the end of the day. The idea of cutting the bait down was very simple, I wanted to steer away from the usual round shape and offer something that didn't give the carp any reason to reject it. I knew that if some fish where in the area and they were feeding, this approach was enough to get a bite. As mentioned before, I'm not fishing for a big hit, I want to pick the odd fish off. 

View From The Swim
The rig was simple and the same as last time, the only difference being that I was using a slightly heavier lead, I'd gone up to a 2oz inline. I made sure the presentation was nice and stream line and with a feathered cast would rest perfectly on the contours of the lake. My chosen hook-link was Krystons 'Synx' Gold, this steams straight beautifully and sinks like a brick, I kept the coating on the whole link apart from the tiny section under my silicone kicker, this helped to produce a brilliant hinge effect. 

I'm a big believer in kickers on bottom bait rigs, anything that helps to turn the hook when it's picked up is a winner in my book. I don't buy the whole 'closing the gape' theory, as I've explained before, I know there's mixed opinions about this but to me, this is where the "each to their own" element of angling comes in to play, we all have our own little things that we feel confident in using. See Image Below

Stripped Back Under The Kicker Only

Finished Presentation

Once I'd walked round and distributed my freebies into the swim, it took me a few casts to get both baits in positions that I was happy with, I could feel on the drop of both rods that I was fishing in a good depth, each lead landing communicated a dull thud through the rod blank. Once both traps were set I'd decided that I wasn't going to do any recasts at any point throughout the day, I knew what I was doing was correct and now it was just in the lap of the gods if a curious carp was going to investigate the spot. 

As usual I sparked the kettle up, it was coffee time, for me this is like a religious ceremony, there's no better way to welcome in the first few minutes of a session. This time around, instead of focusing intensely on the water like I usually do, I decided to try and let my mind wander, and whilst I sat back and slowly watched the steam streaming from the kettle, I started to imagine that I was releasing old ghosts, I was setting them free to gently drift and evaporate into the ether above, allowing them to reach their destination.

Thinking about it, there's been many times in my life when I've wished that I could just simply disappear, float free, I find this world too much to bare at times, there's so much conflict, too much resentment, war, and if I'm being honest I find I have nothing in common with the majority of people that seem to drift in and out of my life, it use to bother me, but now I except that it's just the way it is. Some people manage to exist in harmony, I unfortunately don't, I've spent my life chasing something that I still haven't found and to make it worse I still don't really know what that is. I think it lies somewhere between the primal energy of the drum and the truth hidden within the written word.

But then I realised that if I hadn't lived my life the way that I had, I wouldn't be here now, sitting like a ghost in the wilderness, trying desperately to communicate with the unseen. I started to think that every single moment and action in my life had to happen for me to end up right here, right now, in this moment. Maybe the world wasn't so bad after all, and as I inhaled the fresh air that the new wind had to offer, I felt such a huge sense of ease. Here I was surrounded by 'infinity', and I was getting lost in the atlas of my mind - "I think next time I should do what I usually do, which is watch the water intensely",  thinking too much can be dangerous.

Back To Reality

A sudden bleep from my right hand rod broke my day dreaming, all of a sudden reality was very real again, another bleep followed. I was sitting on the edge of my chair waiting to pounce on the rod. A minute passed and then it was away, a carpy buzz came over my body and before I knew it I had a hard fighting mystery on the end of my line. The fight was hard, it weaved all around the water in front of me and was very reluctant to show itself, she soon started to give herself up and I proceeded to ease the mesh under a lovely looking mirror, scales fell to 17IB.

17IB Mirror Wearing Her Winter Skin
This fish was again another perfect example of a pure Burrows carp, clean, healthy and hard fighting, it was an honour to have tamed her. The presentation worked and clarified that the spot was worth a punt. I wanted to get the bait back out fast, so I opted for a tiny little mesh bag of pellet, just to give a little added attraction. Hopefully there was the odd freebie kicking around near my left hand bait. I'm sure if a carp had come across it, the rod would of gone off by now. A calm and measured cast saw my right hand bait smack bang on its previous position. 

A Tiny Package Of Attraction

Since my success on both Boreham Mere and Braxted Front lake, my confidence is flying sky high regarding the minimal bait approach. If fish are about, you really don't have to be loading your swim right up, in the summer on certain waters 'baiting with both barrels' is a killer method and I love doing it. But working with small baits has more of a hunting quality about it, you've got to get your location right. I'm starting to feel the more pressured the water is, the less bait I am willing to use. Both solid bag and spodding presentations have a pattern, I feel wiser carp can pick up on this and spook, but broken boilies, the odd pellet and maybe a thin scattering of method mix doesn't create any real obvious pattern, it's random and it's an approach I am eager to take further in the coming months.

So, both rods were out, mid afternoon was yawning into late afternoon and I was still feeling hopeful, the minutes bled into an hour or two and then all of a sudden the right rod was away again. I scrabbled for it and kept the pressure on, the fish was trying to get in the snags to the left of the spot. With some gentle persuasion I managed to guide her my way and I felt such relief when I could see that she was in the open water. I kept her steady and managed to get her in the net with no fuss, it was another stunning mirror, once in the sling, scales fell to 16IB.

A Majestic Mirror At 16IB
After I'd gently slipped her back I took a moment to acknowledge the fact that I'd got everything right, taking into account how moody Burrows can be. It can really have a habit of slapping you in the face, hence why appreciating every capture is so important, each fish caught keeps you going through the sessions where the water plays the blanking game with you. 

As the day started to draw to a close it felt like the water was preparing for temporarily hibernation, and as I packed up and made my way back to the car, I felt pleased that it had been another solid session. It goes without saying that I was already thinking about my next visit and on the journey home, carp were already starting to appear, swimming once again through the margins of my mind. It was going to be a long few days until I could get back down again, angling - it's a beautiful obsession.