Fields End (96)

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Fields End (96)

After last week's reasonably successful outing I returned to the same spot, but today was entirely different.

Arrival time: 07.50 (started to fish at 08.15)
Weather: Overcast with a southerly breeze, brightening later.
Swim: Tree corner
Tackle: 10ft Fishtec Compact Float, Shimano bait caster, 8lb line, 8 hook.
14ft Shimano Speedmaster match rod, Shimano Exage 1000RC reel with 5lb line, 14 hook. Insert waggler.
Baits: Bread flake and luncheon meat.
Fish: One carp and lots of small roach and rudd. A couple of crucians at the end.

Hoping for a repeat of last week's success with the carp close in, I went to the same spot. The overcast sky and a sheltered bay seemed to offer ideal conditions. I started by trying bread flake down each margin on a free line with the hope of a quick carp, but not a touch. I persevered with this approach for a while but it became clear that the carp either weren't there, or weren't interested. A foretaste of the day ahead !

I swapped to my match rod and got bites on both bread and luncheon meat but just couldn't connect. This was again the story of the day, the occasional successful strike returning small roach or rudd. There were a few slightly better fish, some in the 4-6oz category and a couple just over half a pound. But the overall story was that of frustration.
  •  Leather carp 5lb

    Leather carp 5lb

  •  Crucian carp 1lb 9oz

    Crucian carp 1lb 9oz

Click/touch image to show all photos in a light box.
The fact I wasn't making much headway was bad enough, but what was also irritating was that a group of three chaps on the south bank to my right were surface fishing with pellets and controller floats. It wasn't that they were near enough to disturb my swim, but by mid-morning they had the carp in a feeding frenzy on the surface. The result was that they were pulling out fish all day while, as far as I could see, everybody else was having a bit of a lean time of it. Now I'm not sure if their activities actually diverted carp from elsewhere, but what I can say is that I saw no visible signs of carp in my swim all day.

I also found their conveyor belt approach to catching the carp a bit off-putting. They hauled each one in as quickly as possible and returned it just as unceremoniously in readiness for the next cast. There didn't seem to be any appreciation of individual fish.

Anyway, I plodded on and just after 13.30 what appeared to be just another finicky bite resulted in something screaming off to the left. I was on the match road so needed to take things carefully. At one point I thought I had lost it in the reeds, but it came out and after a while I netted a 5lb carp. Not massive, but I took a photo as I had a feeling that it might end up being the only one. And I was right. (For some reason the photo is a bit fuzzy. My ageing fishing camera no doubt!)

Through the afternoon I continued hitting the occasional roach or rudd, although there were a couple of occasions where a heavier fish was briefly on before shedding the hook. They didn't feel like large carp and I suspected crucians. This was borne out when I landed two crucian carp each just over 1½lb between 16.15 and 16.30. I had planned to pack up at 16.30 but stayed a bit longer after catching the crucians. But I didn't get any more and when I left at 17.00 I still hadn't seen any visible signs of carp in the swim, such as reed movement or surface cruising.

So it wasn't really that good a day. On the plus side, I noticed that many swims remained unoccupied through the day, so next time I may come for the afternoon and evening. Leaving when I did today was a bit of a wrench, as the lake was looking just perfect and I'm sure that the carp would have eventually made their way to the margins.
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