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Wesley Lagaert's Carp Diary - October 2012

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Last Updated: 30th October 2012

After a perfect September, it was about time to get my feet back on the ground and start ‘the-end-of season’ campaign, before king winter finally arrived. In my opinion I think I’ve witnessed the most wet and rainy October month in years!  Normally I love October. Okay, the nights are longer, the mornings misty and colder, but the days are largely bright and sunny and although there are no high temperatures, it’s just good to be out fishing.

Well, not this time. It just tipped it down for the first three weeks of the month, which was combined with heavy winds that came from every direction you could think of. With all that rain, the water temperatures dropped quite fast and the fishing got harder and harder. On a decent note, I almost had the lake to myself as not many anglers were competing against the weather conditions. As Martin Locke brought over some Club Mix and Top Banana for Alain Servaes and I at the Solar fish-in during September, we were eager to get it rolled so we could start using it. Due to the logistics of transporting freezer baits from the bait factory in Kent all the way to Belgium, we often get the base mixes and liquid additives and roll the boilies ourselves so that they are as fresh as possible.

I mixed the boilies together and baited up with small amounts  for two days. It was a while since Alain and I had fished together, but I was soon off the mark with a mirror off around 20lb in the middle off the night. The fish came on a Top Banana hook bait, but nothing happened for the rest off the weekend.

I fished another night midweek, which also resulted in a blank. I baited once more with a small quantity off boilies later that week and left the swim until the weekend. This time I was on my own and in really poor conditions I managed to get my rods well spread out over the area. By Sunday morning nothing had happened, not even a single bleep or a slimy bream had put in an appearance, so I packed up. Even so, a bad weekend’s fishing is still a lot better than a week at work. Again I fished a night through the week without a result, but I couldn’t wait until it was Friday evening again.  Just before dark my leads hit the bottom, a little bait was spread around and the waiting game continued. Well, it rained, rained and rained some more throughout the whole weekend, but out of the blue at noon on Saturday I received a steady take.

I was on the rod in a flash and the battle began. I didn’t play the fish hard as it felt really good, and while taking line from the spool it just fell off! I yelled a few swearwords, and felt like I’d been really beaten up.  Still cursing and walking around like a man without a head, I got a phone call from Angelo who was fishing on the other side. He too had just lost a one. To make it even worse for him, he lost a second one later that afternoon. We stayed until Sunday, but nothing else happened for either of us. This just was the proof I needed to conclude that the fish weren’t feeding confidently, as three takes and three hook pulls was just too much to ignore.

Being quite astonished by the lack of action I baited up once again on Wednesday evening and heard one fish jumping out. I took the decision to put an extra kilo of bait in the swim and hoped that it would all get eaten in the next two days. I knew that I had taken a risk in putting that extra bait in, as the lake wasn’t fishing anyway, but it wouldn’t be the first time that, after a long period of inactivity, one off the bigger carp tend to pay a visit to the bank coming from a baited spot. As usual the setting up was done in wet and windy conditions, but we had to make the most of it as I dearly wanted an end of season big carp and, if possible, more than one.

Just after midnight I received a long-awaited take and landed a mirror of around 20lb, which I unhooked in the net and simply slid back. Soaked to the bone due to playing the carp in severe rain, I managed to get the rod back out and sorted myself some new, dry clothes. I was woken again at 6am  with that same rod ripping off again.  Well, this was more like it! After a really strong fight I finally netted a lump of a common, but just could not make out which one it was.

After putting the rod away, rolling the fish up in the net and laying it on the unhooking mat I could see a distinctive mark on its shoulder, which meant that I’d just caught one a big common I dearly wanted.  Although having caught it many years ago, I still wanted a recapture, as it was still one off the oldest original big common carp in the lake. As the fish came out last year well above the 50lb, we hoped it would top 55lb later that same year, but it didn’t put in another appearance even though I, and a few others, hunted it until late November. This time the common weighed 50lb, but he now had a new scar on his side, which was maybe why he was a bit down in weight, as recovering from that scar would take a lot off extra energy!

Over the moon and with another friend, Dirk, doing the honours with the camera it was time to put him back. Later that day it was me doing the honours with Dirk’s camera as he managed to bag himself a 46lb mirror and a 38lb common in just a few hours.

Expectations were sky-high for another take, but nothing happened. As the news spread about the capture I was expecting the lake to be packed over the weekend, but with just three anglers on, it looked perfect again. Early on Saturday morning Angelo woke me up with a phone call saying:

“Look out side, the carp are going mad, they are jumping like dolphins.” Jokingly I said that he needed to buy some proper glasses, but he kept saying it was me who needed the glasses. Looking over the lake, still on the phone, indeed I could see several carp stick their heads out and others jumping completely out of the lake into the cold air before re-entering with a huge splash. Now aware that the carp were well awake I kept on fishing until Monday morning without a single bleep. I’m not lying if I say that I saw over 150 carp jump out over the weekend, most of them halfway up the lake.

It wasn’t only me who witnessed them either, as by Sunday evening I counted seven anglers on the lake, all blanking! Never have I experienced a ‘show’ like that, and certainly not at that time of year.  While typing this, my rods are out, another blank as a result (so it seems) and my last fishing night of October is drifting by. I’ve fished hard, only receiving three takes, but that one, big common makes it all worthwhile.

I hope November still has something in store!

Take care! Wes