I took out my diary to begin the entry that would see me hunting carp for the next forty eight hours or so. Looking at the index, a simple list of dates and catches, I could see that I had been beside water jut three times since the end of May and had landed the princely sum of three small roach. No summer has been so bereft of fishing action.... probably in over fifty years of angling. Why?
I have never looked forward to a carping year so much in my life and the inclusion of a shallow estate lake to my available waters had made me giddy with anticipation. However, it all got thrown out of kilter by the weather.
My first trip to the new lake saw me forget my sleeping bag and I froze during the night. From then on the weather (you may recall) has been stupidly hot. I don't do heat and have suffered. Now, I don't mind a spot of suffering for the cause but that particular water demands you sit facing the full glare of the sun and, if there's one thing that put's fish off in a shallow, clear lake it's blazing hot sunshine. The idea of sweltering all day in the hope of a bite in the wee small hours does not turn me on. I put the lake on the back burner and sat back, waiting for a cloud or two to appear.
In the mean time I had a gander at the Wye. Neil and I had a go one evening and both chose seemingly perfect evening swims for the conditions. These spots are always good for a few chub as well as a barbel or two. That neither of us had so much as a tremble on the tip led us to realise it was not the place to be. I will not fish when I feel the fish may suffer from my actions. I have waited for days or weeks until the fish have spawned and recovered enough to be worthy of pursuing and, when the river looks low and sick, it's a no brainer.
I felt that my other carp venue may be suffering and opted to wait for some rain. That wait dragged on and on and with the separation from the routine I guess I just got out of the fishing habit. It seems I have missed some good fishing as the carp have fed well and dealt with the heat admirably. Ah well.
So there I am, eager to get a bite or two and yes, I had six of them in all. On the downside, three came adrift - don't ask, just bad angling I guess. I had one small common at my feet in the early hours. I was deciding where to land it as it was sat between two rods in a decidedly awkward position. As I ummed and aahed it wrapped me around a leg of the pontoon and was gone. I was gob smacked..... but it was, again, bad angling.
I landed a couple, another common of 8-10 pounds and a mirror of 16 -18 pounds. I didn't even weigh or photograph them.
One of my spots was full of snags so I chose to move the rod despite having baited it quite heavily. Where did I see plenty of feeding activity, rolling and crashing fish? Like I said, I won't fish where it's going to cause harm so I sat grinding my teeth. But I may get in the boat and pull that big branch out.
The title mentions "loads of bites", and yes, I have had more than my share this summer but they have been from mosquitos, I've been eaten alive! Anybody else getting mullered by the little bastards? Most years I can go without so much as a lick from a mozzie but 2018 has seen me giving blood on a regular basis. I lay in my bivvy drenched in anti-mozzie spray of oil, citronella candles burned and I wore base layer clothing to cover most of my body. Yet, come morning and the little shits have snuck into my sleeping bag and have made my back and arms polka dot. They itch like nothing else and it's enough for me to wait until winter for my next trip.
But I doubt it.