FREE LINE 03 - Page 105

Small Carp from Small Rivers
catch a Thames carp. I even ended up
cat sitting for him for a while, and so I
hoped that would be my ticket to success, but sadly I failed to catch one.
He however, had several including
some to over thirty pounds and a couple of big cats, but all I managed from
that stretch was bream. So although
my Thames carping was spectacularly unsuccessful, it was fun, and to
be fair the whole of it was very unorganised and slapdash.
Despite my continuing to search for
them it was many years after my first
sighting before I saw my next Gipping carp. A few years ago the river
enjoyed a bit of an unusually productive season, albeit once more with
some large fish that had found their
way in there, rather than grown-on
specimens. After a spell of intensely
heavy rain that saw extensive flooding throughout the Gipping Valley, the
river was to receive numerous carp
from the pits and ponds beside it.
Being unused to living with the current, it seemed as if many of those
lake fish couldn’t stand the pace and
so ended up washed right down to
the brackish water, where the freshwater Gipping becomes the salty
Orwell. These fish were pretty obvious in the clear, shallow water and so
were soon being hounded by people
with varying intentions. I was a bit
late to go and check it out, but when
I did I was able to see what the fuss
was about. There was clearly a good
head of carp including some well over
twenty pounds, cruising with the
mullet and sea trout. I set about a bit
of prebaiting, but my desire to be at
the Snake Pit outweighed that of the
river, and so I ended up spending far
less time on the river than I should…
In short, I missed a trick. I managed to
lose a small fully scaled then finally
bagged a little common, my first Gipping carp, which has featured in Big
Carp before. Sadly, though not at all
surprisingly, those fish were not destined to be there for long. People
removed many, otters some, and even
a seal made an appearance and
impression on the stretch. Then
another big flood seemed to flush the
remaining ones out into the Orwell,
and the Gipping returned to usual. I
believe that during that period there
were a few twenties and even a thirty
caught from the Gipping, but they
were almost (if not) all recognised fish
from still waters.
Stour commons.
Having missed the boat on the Gipping once more, thankfully it paid off
a s I f i n i s h e d u p a t S n a k e, a n d I
decided I was long overdue for
another look at the Stour. The first
couple of walks suggested that perhaps it was as I’d feared. When I’d
fished it years previously it had
seemed as if the otters were just getting established, so I assumed that
they had been busy. No doubt they
had, as I’d seen them on every stretch
I’d fished, but one sunny day I spied
some disturbances, and closer
inspection revealed a few carp. Most
displayed the telltale nipped fin signs
of near death experiences, but there
were at least some left, and one, a
common, looked to be 20lb-plus too.
Again I managed to get amongst
some small commons without too
much fuss, but the bigger (or any) mirrors eluded me. I did however lose
several fish (including at least one
small mirror) due to hook pulls and
the snaggy nature of the stretch.
Frustratingly much of the stretch
had become RSPB nature reserve,
which left me only the least carpy
area to fish. Beyond that the nature of


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