A tale of a short, and very wet, UK carp fishing session from Rob Inns….
Being a father of 2 youngsters I tend to hang my rods up for 2 weeks each year over the Christmas period. The down side of this is that when it comes to catching the first fish of the New Year it is not just a case of keeping on with what tactics have been working. By taking two weeks off fishing, especially at a time of year when the weather is so changeable, when the rods come out again I am essentially starting from scratch.
Last year over the Christmas period the weather had become extremely cold with even parts of some rivers freezing over. I ended up going right through to the end of February before I banked my first fish of the year. This year I was determined to make sure I didn’t remain fishless for quite so long.
My first attempt at catching the elusive first fish of the year came in the way of an uneventful, midweek, evening barbel session. The plan was to get back out on the river at the week end for a longer session but the amount of rainfall we had over the next few days left me thinking a still water maybe a better option.
So with the cobwebs dusted off of the carp rods the decision was made to head to a nearby carp complex in the hopes of bagging a carp as 2016’s first fish. We choose to fish a pit that contains a good head of fish including a decent number of 30’s for a 24hr session. As darkness drew in my pal Andy and myself were the only 2 people braving the night, I guess everyone else had seen a more recent weather forecast than I had as no sooner had we settled down to eat some bank side cooked cheese burgers then the rain began to fall. And when I say it began to fall I mean it really began to fall the only word to describe it is torrential, add to that the strong winds that picked up and the weather truly was horrendous. It did not stop there either, at some point during the night a thunder storm started too. Luckily it only lasted an hour or so and then the sky cleared completely. The problem with that at this time of the year is that the temperature plummeted drastically. We really had experienced it all that night, everything that is except any action on the rods.
By first light the lake was beginning to get quite busy so we decided our best option was to pack the stuff away and take a rod each and check out some of the other lakes on the complex. I managed to find a group of fish tucked deep in some snags on the lake next door, they weren’t doing a lot but they were there so this seemed an obvious spot to try. I flicked a couple of grains of hair rigged maize out tight to the snags, with just a pva foam to protect the hook point from any debris on the bottom and chucked just a few grains of maize around the bait then sat in a vantage point watching the fish in the snags. As the fish were not very active and the weather was now very cold I wanted to keep bait to a minimum.
After an hour or two I just got the feeling these fish were not going to play ball if anything they seemed to have become less active in the snags. With time ticking away we moved to a 3rd lake to give that a try. A couple of chod rigs with fluro pop ups were cast to likely looking margins spots as we sat back beginning to come to terms with the fact that we may have to wait till the next session to bag that first fish of the year.
We weren’t sat back for long however as maybe 10 minutes after casting out Andy had a bite and after a spirited fight a nice little mirror (almost a leather, it just had one scale on its right flank) graced the net. What a result, he had done it and now I needed to get one. I had to wait a little longer, maybe half an hour or so after that first fish for my opportunity. Just as we had begun to pack up my pop up was taken and I was in.
The fish put up a good account of itself scrapping the whole way in, at one point I was slightly worried it might just spit the hook but thankfully it didn’t and a lovely scaly low double mirror was engulfed in the mesh of the net. I’m sure it won’t be the biggest fish of the year but being 2016’s first fish certainly makes it one of the most welcome. Luckily this year it took me just 10 days to catch a fish and not 2 months like last year. As a wise man once said “at the end of the day fishing without fish is just ing and nobody likes ing”. Well perhaps he wasn’t that wise.
Here’s to a 2016 full of fish and wet nets and if you haven’t yet landed your first fish of the year I hope it doesn’t take you to long to catch one.
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