My last visit to the lake was a mixture of fortune and it's opposite. I hadn't yet cast the second rod to it's spot when the first one was away, bending in an alarming curve whilst the clutch begrudgingly released line.
Despite my instant response the fish was nosing through umpteen sunken branches and the like but, after a tremendous tussle, it finally succumbed. It went 34.4, a cracking fish by any standards and my day was made.
That I lost the two subsequent takes was more of a downer. One slipped the hook as it found a leverage point under a tree, the other fought hard and long only to let go of the hook as it neared the net. All very frustrating but eventful nonetheless.
That was almost two months ago, I cannot believe it's been so long. In truth, my lad has been taking the piss this year. Like me, when we heard of three big thirties being present we set our plans accordingly. My carping tends to be catastrophe followed by disaster and the biggies were ignoring me whilst Neil had a succession of fish over the magic weight including two of the lumps, one of them twice.
I'm not competitive with The Boy but, due to his results and the fish evidently losing a bit of weight in the summer, I didn't want to be recording second hand fish at lower weights than he'd had them. It all seemed a bit pointless. So I just had that short day trip and another today.
I was going after the barbel yesterday but the river had too little water and the banks too many anglers. My plan B was therefore an easy option.
Due to a lethargic start, my second rod was finally cast at noon. I was using the same rigs in the same spots and with the same baits as last time. I abhor routine but I really do have faith in my approach.
Time for a coffee, some lunch and a stab at the crossword. All was going well until a harsh trill sent me up and out of my seat as spectacles, pen, paper and packet of Rolo's went flying. The choccies were lost but may form part of my future baiting plan for sweet toothed margin carp.
At the rod it was immediately deja vu. A heavy weight edged the far bank, picked up a stick which in turn picked up the second rod and a mighty battle was played out with my 10' Free Spirit bent into an impressive 'C'. It took between ten and fifteen minutes before the fish finally took a gasp of fresh air and I could slide it into the net.
I quickly popped it on the scales and found that it had gained 4 oz since our last meeting. Maybe I should have a go for the A Team..... but it's getting cold and I have other targets in mind.
Anyway, that was it. I sorted out a cats cradle of lines and was soon back fishing again. However, this time I was spared the indignation of losing fish and recorded just the one bite.