Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Stock Pond 'The Time Thief'

A considerable amount of time had passed since my last session, I'd managed to get out on a few trips but they all resulted in a blank. The weather had been so hot and I'd found myself scratching to get a bite pretty much everywhere I went, add a lot of work into the equation, a fair chunk of summer had flown by in a instant. I managed a few fish out the Braxted reservoir but they were nothing to really write home about. I still had a lot going on off the bank but I did manage to steal an afternoon in between everything. I chose to make a trip back down the stock pond, I was inspired by my last session. 

Looking back over my previous years results, I had one hell of a season, for me, the current year so far had been pretty tough going. I certainly wasn't getting out as much as I would've liked and the heat we'd been experiencing, without a doubt, had slowed the fishing down. Putting all these minor points aside, I work on the basis that you just have to work with what's available to you and make the best of it. I find that when we get prolonged periods of heat, it might be nice to be out on the bank but it's not always best on the fishing front. I think there can be a huge misconception about summer angling, for those of us who fish through all the seasons, you do find yourself looking forward to the warmer weather.

As we know, when the heat comes the fish start feeding 'more' and they're usually very active, I think subconsciously we feel that we're going to start hauling the minute summer arrives. From past experience I know that it's not always the case. Spring can be a very productive period, but if the heat hits quickly and water temperatures rise fast. The carp can become very sluggish and before you know it they're thinking about spawning. At this point, feeding isn't high on their priorities, then we have a "post-spawning" period and depending on the lake you're fishing, it can take a while for the carp to start feeding properly again. 

In conclusion, for me, the best times to be out on the bank are spring, late summer right through Autumn, up until mid winter when the first ice freezes the waters. When I have my angling head well and truly screwed on I find, if I'm not careful, I'm constantly looking ahead to the changing of the season or the impending months. The expectation is always there, that if fishing has been slow, 'the carp are sure to kick off' any week now. Adopting this outlook, life can pass you by very quickly, each pivotal point of every year in my mind is angling related. The saying "don't forget to the smell the roses along the way" is very fitting to this mentality. I really have to master living in the now and appreciating time, time is not something to be wished away, it can either be your friend or a thief, it's all down to how you choose to use it.

On the day of the session I had a few things to do in the morning, the plan was to get to the water just after midday. The stock pond is usually pretty good for a bite come the late afternoon, I wasn't in a rush. If I could tempt just one fish then I'd be more than happy. Half day sessions can be quite refreshing, for my perspective to stay finely tuned I need to balance my time on the bank carefully. When I'm on shorter sessions I'm inclined to try a number of different things that I usually wouldn't go with on my long day trips. If I get results then I will carry whatever approach I'm using over into my full day sessions. 

For example I really learnt how to fish adjustable zigs on a series of half days. Once I'd learnt how to make the method work for me then it was a lot easier sitting behind my rods on a long session feeling confident in the approach. It's not about how much time you're out on the bank, it's about how that time is used, that's what counts. I found that when I use to fish consecutive nights, a few days in, I was so dam tired that I really wasn't fishing effectively, I expelled most of my energy on trying to stay awake. My angling is all about the 'mindset', to finish my point off, "the less time you have the more effort you put in to make something happen".

Upon arriving at the pond I was met with a deserted landscape, other than the horses, coots and geese, I was the only human about, the main lake was also empty. The weed was flourishing, it was way heavier than my previous trip. I took some time to have a mooch about, paying close attention to both the reed lines. When the banks are deserted, the carp love to get behind the reeds, you can usually see them ghosting in between the stems. I didn't see any signs of them close in so I decided to target the open water.

The wind was pushing hard down into the bottom corner, this is an interesting little area, you have a small set of reeds out in the open. A lot of weed always gets pushed down and collects along the edge of both the reeds and the margins. There's nearly always a few fish passing through, there's a small gravel bar that gently descends from the point of the reeds. I was going to be fishing both my baits on it, one rod was going to be a foot or so off the reeds, the other, a couple of rod lengths along. 

View From The Swim
In the image above I've marked up where the 'gravel run' is located, it's only a few feet deep. In the back ground you'll notice flat spots, this is weed. Down to the right of my swim is a corner which was thick with the stuff, I had a gut feeling that a few fish would be holding down amongst it. I was really going to have to sink my line because I didn't want the fish to detect it if/when they were passing through the channel in front of me. Just like last time, I'd given myself one cast on each rod, I didn't want anymore disturbance than necessary. 

Regarding my bait, today I was going to use a combination of fruity flavours, I wanted to have a proper fruit cocktail going on in the solid bags. On the hair was a cut down Pineapple CSL bottom bait, the crushed boilies consisted of 'Strawberry Mivvi', 'Raspberry Ripple' and 'Honey Nectar'. I liked the idea of mixing both a sweet birdseed and Milk Protein bait together, I was going for maximum attraction on this session. Because the lake was chocked I knew there was going to be a hell of a lot of "naturals" to compete with. I wanted something that a passing carp just couldn't ignore.

A Fruit Selection

My hook link was a short trigga-link combi, the lead was my usual 2.5oz flat pear inline. All of this was going to be tightly packed into a medium sized solid bag. Thinking back to most of my sessions on the stock pond, I've always caught on the old school flavours. Combining them all together made complete sense, also it was something a little different to what I'd tried before. If I could tempt a bite then it was an approach that I would put into practise on my other waters.

Visual Attraction

So, with both bags tied I very carefully made the casts, it was such a short distance that I was able to get them spot on. Even though it was only a short cast I feathered them down, each bag literally kissed the water with two quiet 'plops', I was happy. I had the afternoon and early evening ahead of me, I took a seat, sparked the kettle up and prepared for 'the wait'. The stock pond is a place I could easily sit by even if I didn't have my rods out, I've mentioned it before but its location is special. It's all flat lands and vacant plains that stretch down to the estuary, there's nothing quite like looking as far as possible into the horizon to help untangle the thoughts in your mind, 'I live my life in knots'.

Testing A Bag in The Margins

A few hours passed, I'd be watching the water carefully when all of a sudden a fish cut the surface down in the corner to my right. The bank I was on was very high so I kept low to the ground and went to take a closer look, it was very clear too me that there were two carp moving very slowly through the weed. I sat quietly whilst they poked about, they were rather clumsy in giving themselves away. I put this down to the fact that they hadn't detected my presence, once again, this highlights how important it is to keep bank-side disturbance to a minimum.

I suddenly felt really confident, if those fish were to move out the corner and come my way, they were sure to come across one of my traps. Also, working on the basis that there might be other carp in the area, I was positive that a bite was on the horizon. Sitting calmly was very difficult now, I was anticipating a bite, I was really on edge, any moment my prize could reveal itself. Polishing my third coffee off didn't really help calm the situation.

3rd Coffee 

I continued to watch the carp until the activity disappeared, they were there for a good half hour before moving off. The wind dropped and the cloud came over, it was now approaching early evening, time had passed so fast. My anticipation held out and when I received a 'liner' on both rods, it became clear that fish were now moving in front of me. Minutes after the liners my left rod bleeped a few times, the bobbin dropped a few inches, paused and then BANG!, it was away. The fish went powering off up the lake, I leapt on the rod with lightening speed but the fish had already ploughed through a submerged weed bed. 

I kept my panic to a minimum, the whole reason I was fishing with a leader was if a situation like this occurred. I kept the pressure on and just held it, you don't need to "rip in to them" in these sort of situations. Once I'd reached the maximum pressure that I was willing to use, I held it at that point. I could feel that I was slowly gaining some ground, the carp was starting to fidget, a minute or so passed and the game was back on, it was out, I was relieved but the war wasn't over yet.

I was now fishing on a tight clutch letting the rod do all the work, the fish attempted to bury me again but I managed to stop her, she was tiring, so was I. Very gently I was teasing her towards me, I caught a glimpse of a lovely dark mirror, it looked like a fair size fish. The net was lowered, teasing her a little bit more.. RESULT! she was safely in the net. I gave both me and the fish a few minutes to recover, it was nail biting stuff. Clearing the weed that she was buried in, I was met with the sight of a lovely old mirror carp, and what a carp she was. 

The Battle Was Won
I was over the moon with this fish and another prime example of what the stock pond has to offer, it always amazes me the stamp of fish that are lurking in such a small water. Another short successful session was now underneath my belt, from a 'perspective' point of view, I really do enjoy quick trips, especially if you manage to catch. With each carp I catch I seem to get an injection of enthusiasm, in that very moment of releasing the fish I experience a high that can't be replicated through any chemical drug.

I packed up slowly, once everything was on the barrow I decided to walk around the water one last time, the light was fading and the wind was calm. The distant lights over in Rochester were illuminating the horizon line, there was no one around, not a single soul. It was magic, what other pass time puts you in such amazing places, as I stood there, now in darkness, I found it so hard to believe that I was only 30 minutes away from the capital. Loading the van, I was once again 'city bound', on the journey home I was planning my next escape, time to get back up Wick mere.

A Different Kind Of Wilderness

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