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The Ups And Downs Of A Thames Carper - Part 3

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Last Updated: 7th January 2014

After another tough day at work on the 2nd of November I was glad to get on the bus and start my journey towards the river. It was not until I reached the home straight that it dawned on me that it was bonfire weekend (not that it seems we have a bonfire weekend now days, its more like Guy Fawkes month). The spot I had baited was opposite a huge public firework display. Oh joy I thought to myself as I loaded the boat and set off. I just kept telling myself I had to be in it to win it and at least I was in a prime spot to watch the fireworks. Luckily they didn't go on too late and by 10pm I was getting into the sleeping bag knowing I had done all I could to hopefully get a bite through the night. I had had to pull the boat in tight to the river bank on this spot to be out the way of any boats that might be out after dark, but I could not set up on the bank as the path was just so narrow. Sleeping on the boat is great but it does have its down sides and space is tight once the brolly is up and the rods are out.

At 2am I was awoken with a real fright as something jumped on top of the brolly and slid down over the front landing on the boat floor with a thump I sat upright to be greeted by a slightly confused cat. I leaned out of bed and tried to shoo it away, but it couldn’t get out of the boat of its own accord so I had to give it a helping hand. As I went to swing my legs out of bed I started having a coughing fit and could not swallow as my uvula (the dangly bit at the back of your throat) had swollen up. I also had a blocked nose so was really struggling for breath.

There was a moment I did think it was all over, but somehow I managed to compose my self long enough to catch my breath and get a slurp of water. In the mean time the cat had gone back to where it had come from and I was just left sitting there in a bit of a state. As soon as daylight came I packed up and headed home to go to the doctors, but once again, not before shooting to another spot to get a bit more bait spread about. 

My next trip out was to be the 5th of November after work. I could not shoot straight out on this day though as the other half had a meeting to attend so I had to do daddy duties until she was home and then I was free for the night.

As soon as Kellie, my better half, walked in the door I was up and gone like the wind, almost running to the river as the bike had a flat tyre. Half way along the towpath I bumped into my brother and our mate Nathan so I ended up catching up with them for an hour while they tried to catch some barbel. The river had changed a bit since my trip a few days previous and it was now a horrid brown colour with a bit more flow to it! Undeterred, I hurried up to the boat and was soon loaded and heading up river to what I call the winter spot. It's a deep slack bit of water on the outside of a big bend that has done me proud in the worst conditions imaginable.

Halfway there in the inky darkness I hit a huge lump of tree that had been washed down with the higher, faster water. This was not good as the force with which I had collided with it split a hole in the front of the boat. Luckily it was well above water level and there was no chance of the captain going down with his ship. A hole in the boat and a hole in my wallet for the repair was all the lasting damage that tree was going to cause and it was certainly not going to stop me getting the rods out.

By the time I had got set up it was gone midnight and I did literally collapse into the bag. Getting out the bag again at 6am to redo the rods was a chore that morning. At least it was not raining for a change and I soon had fresh baits with the Marine 17 soaked bread sticks back on the spots ready for the crafty Thames carp to come and find. I had been baiting this spot at the end of every trip, so confidence was very high. Although only 1 bream obliged and soon it was time to head home to the real world for yet another few days at work.


Tune in next month as Ben's Thames diary continues as he contnues his quest over the Christmas period.


Missed parts 1 & 2? Don't worry. CLICK HERE to catch up with part 1 of Ben's exclusive Thames diary or CLICK HERE to catch up with part 2.