Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Tropical Night at Brandon

1st July, 17:00 - 09:00. Boiling hot, light SW breeze fading to a breathless night.

Having tried to spend as much time as possible this last week under the influence of air conditioning, I knew this night session was going to be a grueller.

Daunted by having to lug overnight gear to the peg and set up camp in the heat I stripped my gear down to the bare essentials when I packed it the previous night. I'd showered after work but by the time I'd finished in the garage I needed another one.

In hindsight I think I could have got away without a shelter or a cover for my bed as it was so close, but the humidity carried the constant threat of a storm so I took both in case of a downpour.
I fished with two rods, one targeting Bream and one Carp. I used simple running lead set ups on both rods as I'm still not confident I have the balance of my bolt rigs right - I worry is the lead too light or the hook is too small etc. It's a simple case of confidence really and when I'm fishing a water like Brandon I want to stick with what I know works. Furthermore, running set ups and light bobbins will show up all manner of line bites and aborted pick ups where bolt rigs might not.

The surface of the lake was typically fish free, apart from myriads of fry and the odd splash of a Perch chasing them. I saw a group of bubbles from feeding fish nearby which I think were Bream given the tightness of the shoal and the size of the bubbles. I set up a float rod with simple lift float method and cast a piece of flake into the middle of them. The fish continued to bubble sporadically but I didn't have a touch.

Darkness descended and I had yet to see a sign of a Carp on the surface. Interestingly it wasn't until well after dark, about eleven , that I started to get indications of fish moving across the line on both rods. I hooked and inexplicably lost a bream on the left hand rod just after midnight and apart from intermittent solitary bleeps, just spread out enough to keep me awake, this was my only contact.

I rose around seven a.m. feeling totally spaced out from lack of sleep and disappointed once again to have not caught. I don't take blanking lying down though and weighed up my options and decided to play to my strengths; if they won't come to me I'll go to them.

Stalking Carp is my favourite method of catching them and after years of practice I rate myself as competent. My motto is, "If I can see them I can catch them". I freely admit both the statement itself and the utterer would not stand up well under hard questioning but I like it.

Armed with my most complex stalking rig: a rod, reel and line with hook on the end I made off chasing an opportunity. Despite being back in my fishing comfort zone there wasn't a chance to be had on the main lake. Even the shallows on the right hand pool were looking quiet. It was early and the scum which yesterday was corralled into the shallows by the wind had spread out overnight. The air was just starting to move and I could see it being slowly pushed back into it's place at one end of the pool.

I cast a piece of floating crust as far out as I could. A swan saw it land and and was full steam ahead towards it. As a diversionary tactic I put some bread in at my feet. It worked and he came and fed at my feet all the time my bait was in the water.

I soon had a fish at my bait and the line was pulled through the scum, making tiny arrow-headed ripples as the fish sunk away. I struck, fought and landed a nice looking Carp, not big, perhaps 6lbs. One of the newer stock fish put into the pool about four years ago.
I did another patrol of likely looking spots after this fish but no other opportunities arose. I packed up my gear in the heat of the morning and retreated.


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