After prebaiting for 2 days prior to fishing, I set out on a bit of an experimental session on what I consider to be my “hard” water. It was Thursday, the wind was blowing like pure madness. Not exactly what I’d had in mind all week. Never the less, I had put in the effort to prebait and I was definitely going to fish.
Any confidence the prebaiting had produced had been blown away by the wind. It didn’t help that this particular location is difficult for me. It’s a place that really screws with my mind. It’s big, the catfish are real problem and there is limited access. It has a real appeal to me though, even though I’ve blanked there more than I’ve caught. The fish that I’ve caught and seen leaping out of the water, keep me coming back for more punishment.
I had a couple of strategies for avoiding the cats. The first was trying to avoid using much corn, opting instead for a mix of particles. The second was to fish at least one non-corn hookbait, a few tigernuts in this case, and a few pieces of rubber corn on a longer hair that had been dipped in some of the Nash Maize Syrup. This stuff is super sweet and I was hoping it would put the cats off a bit. The swim was tight and after developing doubts about the placement of the second rod, I reeled it in to find that it was indeed snagged up. After wading into the water to try and free the line, I had to pull for a break. Given the conditions and how tight the swim was, I didn’t bother re-rigging that rod. I repositioned the remaining rod and sat back. The wind continued.
About an hour and half in, I had a few “catty” type bites followed by a run that turned into nothing. I assumed it was a cat taking the long hair for a ride, but having been using a 2oz lead I wonder if it wasn’t an aborted take. Soon after it was time to pack up.
I arrived at my house feeling worn out and deflated. I had planned all week to fish Thursday and Friday and on that night I didn’t quite see myself finding the motivation to fish Friday evening, especially if I was going to have to sit through a session in the pouring rain that the forecast called for.
I woke up Friday morning, to some reasonable weather and more importantly, no rain. Immediately, I decided I would fish after all. The previous evening I had been debating on whether or not I should have set up in one of the only other swims I had fished at this venue. It had more space and it put me closer to the adjacent bank, giving me another feature to fish towards. Having blanked the night before, I had nothing to lose moving.
Friday is my “work from home day” and by the time 5 o’clock came around, I had prepared a fresh batch of particles and sorted out my gear from the night before. By 6:30 I had deposited the particle mix I had cooked up and was set up in the new swim. I had fished there once before and blanked (surprise!) but did have a chance to cast the a lead around the area. I knew there was a reasonably clear, hard bottom near the adjacent bank and only slightly weedy straight ahead. Two spots for two rigs. Again, I went with a single tigernut tipped with piece of fake corn on one rod and two pieces of fake corn on the other. I attached a small pva bag of the same particle mix I had baited up with, mixed with quite a lot of salt to keep it from melting the pva. The weather was pleasant and much to my delight the wind was blowing straight into where the bank I was on and the adjacent bank met. What a difference from the night before! It was now time to sit back and relax.
I’ve started using “bobbins” this season and it’s been interesting watching them go up and down during a session. I’m still learning how to use them “properly”, but one reason to use them is to be able to detect “drop back” bites. Basically all that means is that a fish has picked up your rig and is swimming towards you. You may notice your line loosen up if you are fishing tight lines, but your alarm may not go off. However, the weight a bobbin (which attaches to your line) will cause your line to travel towards you in the event of a drop back, triggering your alarm. A catfish attacking your bait will cause your bobbin to kinda bounce up and down quickly. A screaming take will force the bobbin to come off once the fish is peeling off line. It’s almost like watching the tip of your rod if you are fishing some sort of static bait on the bottom.
So that is what happened on Friday. As I was sitting there, looking at the water, thinking about what a terrible human I was for not eating right and exercising, I had a drop back. For a second I watched in disbelief. Once the bobbin hit the deck, I waited for the line to start peeling off but nothing came of it. I tightened the line back up and sat back down. This didn’t seem “catty”, in fact it seemed carpy. I decided to give it another 30 minutes as I hadn’t seen much cat activity. Lo and behold not long after, the bobbin shot off in the opposite direction and I was in. I slowly tightened the drag up till I could feel the fish. It fought enough to make my arms tired, but when it would take a break it didn’t feel too heavy. Turned out to be a fish just over 10 pounds never the less, it made my night. After returning the fish, I sat back and enjoyed the next hour with a grin on my face.
It’s funny how things happen. A fellow carp angler told me earlier that day, “If a place starts to become not as fun and you’re not enjoying it anymore, move on.” It was a lot more fun to take a chance and move than not fish or go back to the original swim with absolutely no confidence.
The weather is on the fritz again this week. I haven’t quite made any plans, though I have some ideas that may or may not involve maggots. I’ve actually been in the mood to do some float fishing but those carp will not let me be. Hello, April.