FREE LINE 03 - Page 106



Small Carp from Small Rivers
the only appealing looking area made
it difficult to land fish, and I was getting a bit fed up with the boats. One
guy in a bright red canoe stopped
directly over my baited area one day
and loudly shouted to ask what I was
fishing for. Unfriendly, I replied
“Fish… carry on,” and he did. Then
another day I was quietly fishing
away and another guy in a canoe
turned up. Nothing abnormal there,
but he did have what looked like
stalking gear with him. Hoping to dissuade him from harming my chances,
I whistled over to him, and by the way
he turned his head every direction
except mine I was convinced he
knew I was there. Rather than moving
away though, he continued to extensively search throughout my swim
before eventually heading around the
bend.
Hoping he’d gone, I was then irritated to see him ploughing through
the reed bed making as much noise
as possible, then stopping and watching the reeds. No doubt he was trying
to see signs of carp, which is of
course not a bad trick, but it was
bloody annoying considering I was
fishing only twenty or so yards away.
Having had another angler trespass
upon my peace I packed up. I made
the decision that I would no longer be
prebaiting the area. It was feeling like
a lot of effort for just small commons,
and the almost daily sightings of
otters was nowhere near as pleasant
to me as it would have been to a nonangler, and so my interest drifted back
to still water. In the future I hope to
spend more time fishing the rivers,
but at the moment there are still a
couple of big mirrors I want to get my
hands on first, before I make another
foray into the unknown and attempt a
river whacker.
So, what have I learnt of river carping from such farcical shenanigans?
Firstly do not believe that you will
necessarily find peace. It can happen
on some stretches, but others would
make even the busiest day ticket
seem peaceful. Boats, dog walkers,
kids, sheep, cows etc. can all combine
in the chaos of it, but there are of
course places that one can find both
carp and solitude. Beware the bugs;
the quantities of them are unreal.
Considering most of the lakes we
carpers fish are generally significantly
less than a century old the rivers are
aged beyond comparison, and so (I
found) are the numbers of midges and
mozzies. Also beware the tidal
stretches, for they will creep upon you
whilst you sleep and cause chaos.
Tactically, I find river carping is not
particularly difficult, with little need
for finesse. Practically however the
difficulty lies in the effort required to
find and feed them, with prebaiting
affording a massively higher chance
of success. In years gone by it
seemed that searching for carp on
sunny days was a good way of
assessing the potential stock on a
small river, however now I feel it to be
somewhat different. Those big old
river carp of yesteryear were the top
dogs. Nothing messed with them and
so they had no need to hide. Now
though, they are hunted as food
almost all day every day, and those
that survive have learnt it’s best to
keep out of sight. So, we fall back onto
prebaiting to maximise our chances
of getting the location right.
Unlike on a pressured lake, it is not
the intention really to establish a bait;
more an area, and as there will likely
be little competition from other
carpers, mass quantities of expensive
baits are not required. Of course prebaiting with a few quality boilies will
make life easier in terms of leaving
bigger items for bigger fish and for
using as more selective hookbaits,
but the main priority is just to have a
quantity of bait in the same place reg(Top) Stour common.
(Left) Weed raking river style!
106 FREE LINE

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