Another session in the weedy lake and I’m happy to report that I have broken my PB for the second time this year.
I realize that I take a lot of pictures of fish on the ground and it may be hard to gauge the size of the fish. I’m usually so franticly trying to get the fish unhooked and back into the water that taking a self-portrait is not something I really want to attempt to do. That being said, the pole you see in the picture is the 3ft section of my landing net handle. This fish was nearly three feet long, which is simply huge by my standards.
Having only one morning to fish this past week, I decided to try a spot on the weedy lake that a friend suggested. The evening prior was spent depositing what was probably the most delicious party mix I have ever concocted and I was pleased to see fizzing fish in the swim when I arrived that morning.
If you are wondering what is in that mix, it is simply an amalgamation of things I had laying around. A jar of old tigernuts, a bag of chickpeas, a few tins of dollar store sweet corn, homemade boilies and a smattering of other seeds. The more variety, the better. Fishing with a mix like this allows you to dial back how much corn you use if say, for example, you are on a water were turtles are a big problem. I’m not saying that it wont attract turtles but the less corn I can use, the less I worry about them messing with me. Also, you could simply remove the corn from this mix and use it where corn is banned. You could then use a chickpea or tigernut or plastic corn as a hookbait.
After about 45 minutes of fish fizzing a few feet to the right of my rigs, I began to wonder if my hook wasn’t obscured by weeds. I debated recasting and I’m glad I didn’t because the bubbles gradually moved over to where my rig was. It’s times like these when my head is flooded with thoughts like… “Maybe the hair is too long? Maybe the hair is too short? Maybe I shouldn’t have used shrink tube…” etc. A few bleeps on the alarm derailed the doubt filled train of thought; I had a fish on. The fish swam away slowly, going wherever it wanted and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. Eventually it kited right and got it self stuck in some weeds. I maintained pressure on it hoping I could convince it to come out but it had a different idea. What I wouldn’t give for some braided line in those situations. I decided to put the rod back down in the alarm and loosened up the drag incase it decided to come out. I then took a moment to empty my pockets incase I had to go in for it.
A few more minutes passed with no further developments. At the risk of loosing the fish, I picked the rod back up and prepared to give it some stick. After tightening up the drag, I gave the fish a few firm tugs. Yes! The fish was still there. A few more got it moving again, this time into a clear channel to my left and eventually into the landing net.
It wasn’t clear just how big this fish was until I lifted it out of the water. “Oh my!” I said out loud as I peeled back the landing net. Tangentially, the fish was hooked in the top lip, which is not ideal. Where hooks end up in a carp’s mouth is something I’ve been thinking about lately, I’ve had some bizarre ones this year. This fish was probably grazing on the freebies and the hook must have just casually caught in the top of its mouth. This incidental hookup is what the hair rig does and there are some people who question its ethics. Beside the fact that the bait isn’t actually impaled on the hook, some considered the rig to be “foul hooking” fish and therefore unethical. Unethical or clever, the rig makes it possible to fish one or more rods without continuous intervention. Any additional rig components such as line aligners and rig rings or alternative hook patterns (ex: curve shanks) are meant to make this hooking mechanism more efficient and predictable. The ideal hook hold being a few inches into the mouth on the bottom lip.
As I prepared to weigh the fish a passer by stopped in for a look. “That is a big fish! What is it?” “It’s a carp!” I said. “I’ve never seen one out of the water… it’s beautiful…” I appreciated his comment, as it’s not what I would expect to hear from your everyday person. “25, 13” I said to him as I hoisted up the weight sling with the scale. With a grin on my face, I slid the fish back into the weedy abyss. A new PB. Twenty-five pounds, thirteen ounces.