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An Indian Summer

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Last Updated: 14th October 2014

In my previous post I mentioned that I finally had my fishing head back on, so it was towards the end of September that I took a week off of work to enjoy some good times on the bank. It must be said that the previous couple of months had been hectic and I really was in need of some time to take the pressure off.

This session would be the last, at least this year, that I would use my beloved Club Mix boilies with the sublime Squid & Octopus and Esterblend 12 flavour combo, as the new Chilli Club bait was about to come out and there was no doubt that this was a winner. This was bait that I was going to be using throughout the autumn. I must admit that I didn’t really want to give up the bait that I was so familiar with, and that saw me catch so many huge residents of this particular venue, but on the other end, a change of bait wouldn’t be bad either. As long as it was going to produce as good as the ‘regular Clubs’, I’d be more than happy.

Normally this week was supposed to be a social session with fellow team member Rogier Smit, but due to work commitments he had to postpone the trip, so I was out there on my own. Not that I mind fishing alone, most of my time on the bank is usually spent without the company of others and I must admit that I like this solitude. The fact of being out there enjoying the rest and peace that nature offers is important to me. Life is busy enough as it is and there’s no such joy in ‘normal life’ as watching the sun rise while kingfishers sit on the rod tips in order to have a better position from which to catch their breakfast.

Anyway, I hoped this week would be the start of the autumn season, with big southwesterly winds kicking in, winds that would be shaking the carp up and reminding them that it’s time to feed up before the long, cold winter arrives. How wrong could I have been. This week turned out to be a proper Indian summer with temperatures over 20°C, warm nights and hardly no wind.

Before settling into a swim I baited up another area to than the one I had set my mind on. This is something I often do, just to have a plan B in case the carp are not in the area that I expect. The problem on these vast venues is that the fish can virtually be everywhere. They can venture up in the immense canal system or hang out in mid water or simply way out of reach. This turned out to be the case this time around as the carp were mostly in areas that were either out of bounds or places I just had no access to. Some other interesting swims were regularly baited up and fished by people I know quite well, so dropping into one of their swims was certainly not an option either.

The first 48 hours of the session passed motionless. There was a light breeze pushing in my direction, but the carp were just not there. Just before noon I packed up and baited another swim on the canal, as this huge lake is connected to an equally large canal system, and went to the area that I had baited two days beforehand.

Once installed, the sweat was pearling on my forehead, incredible how warm it was, certainly for this time of year. While I first sat down to enjoy these new surroundings, the left hand rod went into complete meltdown. Can you believe that!? I’d been waiting for two days with no action and in this new swim I was off the mark within the hour. What a promising sign.

After a short, but aggressive, battle a stunning scaled mid 30lb mirror was gazing at me from the bottom of my landing net. Wow, this was an even better start than I could have dreamed of. After a couple of quick self-takes, the beauty was released to swim back to the depths of the abyss.

After repositioning the rod I could finally sit back and relax. My confidence was now high because I knew that there was a good chance that more fish would follow. The following night I was watching the surface and waiting for some more action. The weather had slightly changed and a light drizzle was tickling on my Groundhog bivvy. Good conditions, but after not seeing or hearing anything carpy I decided to hit the sack in the early hours only to be awaken by a fierce take at first light. This opponent felt bigger than the previous one and this turned out to be so. Another cracking mirror, nearly 42lb, was not a bad start to the new day. The same self-take ritual was carried out and back she went. By now the clouds had gone and the sun broke through announcing another bright, sunny day.

I didn’t get time to finish my first coffee of the morning before another take saw me wading through the shallow margins with a rod bent in a nice curve. Life can be beautiful when things turn out according to plan. This time a low 20lb common was the culprit and soon enough it got its freedom back to fight another day. After accurately placing the rod back into position I baited up carefully with some boilies gently thrown into the swim, one by one, with each time a couple of minutes between each boilie. The last thing I wanted to do was to chase carp out of the swim with an enthusiastic bait bombardment, so stealth was paramount.

While the sun was climbing to its zenith, thing were really heating up in my swim. Dressed in shorts and t-shirt I was getting some proper exercise from a really powerful beast that was pulling on the other end of a snare-drum-tight line. It took a while before the battle was won and a long, muscular common was lying on the unhooking mat. The sight of her trough my Wrap sunglasses added to the atmosphere. I must admit that these sunglasses, in my case with prescription lenses, are a blessing. You can see so much deeper into the water, allowing you to discover a whole new world. Weighing over 45lb this one was the second forty of the morning and the fourth fish of the session, so no wonder I had a wide grin on my face. At times you need weeks to obtain this result, now it all happened in less than 24 hours. For this occasion, a friend of mine, who was fishing a couple of kilometers further up the bank, agreed to come down to do the honors with the camera.  

With the carp safely back in the water, I enjoyed another 24 hours, but nothing else happened. Either the fish moved out due to the rising temperatures or I had caught most of the carp that were in the swim. I’m not one for sitting in a swim and waiting days on end, hoping for the fish to move in, so that’s why I packed up and moved to the swim on the canal. During the night, the only action came from a big roach that somehow managed to hook itself on the 22mm bottom bait setup. The next morning saw me packing up and again I moved to the area where I started my session, only to find out that nothing had changed and there were still no carp in the area. Another 24 hours later saw me getting myself into the swim that I caught from, but apart from some fish showing in the open water at ridiculous range, over depths of 70 feet, nothing happened. When I packed up to go home, I paid some friends a visit and found out that neither of them had been catching. All in all it had been a difficult week, but I was pleased to have caught and was looking forward to my next trip.

Meanwhile, keep at it!