freeline-23 - Page 171

Off The Beaten Track –A Perfect Linear Set
One happy angler.
next to my bed on the floor checking
the time every 30 minutes or so trying
not to disturb the missus for fear of
her waking up and giving me an earache about my obsession as she calls
it! But when you want to go carp fishing nothing stands in your way, as the
prizes this lake holds are just too precious to leave alone. After loading the
car up, hitting the road and arriving at
the lake 45 minutes later, as soon as
the key unlocks the padlock the
clocks starts ticking. I’m sure lots of
anglers out there can relate to this.
Prior knowledge of carp sightings the
evening before is often vital to a good
start too.
Although only a small water, location can still be tricky with its steep
margins and depths anywhere
between 11ft and 16ft. Combine that
with snags all around the lake and an
out-of-bounds area, deciding where
to start at such an early time is never
an easy task, as the fish don’t always
show at first light, but an hour or so
later instead depending on angling
pressure and conditions.
Whilst some anglers may disagree
with this next statement (and I would
also if I were on another water), baits
and rigs don’t seem to play a massive
part in the jigsaw to nailing these
carp. Don’t get me wrong; the association of danger is easily reached
when everybody is using the same
presentation, bait etc, although making those subtle changes can help, as
would a good quality bait and a super
sharp hook will always get those
extra bites in the season ahead. I
don’t want to turn this into a rig/presentation article; I will perhaps save
that for another time, but I will say
never forget old methods, as these
should never be dismissed; the hard
part is to know when to apply them.
Whilst some anglers are heavily
baiting and chasing the fish every day
it just isn’t high on my priority list,
whereas the time factor is. I can think
of numerous occasions when the fish
have just switched on without any
obvious warnings and they have fed
and fed hard. It’s all about being there
when they’re having it. This is when
the most hardcore of anglers come
into their own by putting blinkers on,
week in week out, and waiting for
such times, which is usually midsummer, when the lake takes on a different feel/atmosphere. It’s hard to
explain, but you just know when it’s
right as the fish tend to tell you so in
more ways than one.
I always find small water carp fishing so intense at times; there can be
such eyeball to eyeball moments,
which just adds to the excitement,
but as soon as you cast out it tends to
be game over. Even scaling down
your lead size to a mere 1/2oz, or
using the old Partridge cork sinkers,
which I have done numerous times,
still leaves me sat there in my swim
thinking, “What the hell have I got to
do to catch these Egginton carp?” as
they slowly drift off to the other end of
the lake.
Setting traps in the edge and trying
to predict when/if they will turn up is
possible, but they tend to change the
rules on a regular basis, which makes
it frustrating to say the least. Fishing
in the deep margins close to some of
the main snag areas is and always
will be productive to a degree, but the
losses are high and it just isn’t fair on
the carp, so I tend to stay clear of this
method in recent times, much preferring to fish the open water in order to
get my bites… I learnt the hard way
in the early years.
Watching that linear whilst I’m
perched in a tree overlooking its
favourite area is breathtaking, hoping
that the small primed areas prepared
over days and sometimes weeks are
not easily noticed by other anglers,
making all your hard work a total
waste of time. Unfortunately, that’s
how it is on small, pressured waters
when the stakes are high and the fish
are big.
When I arrived at the lake on my
second evening session of the week
the weather wasn’t at its best for a
bite. Light winds and sunny conditions are not normally bite days on
the lagoon, as the fish tend to pop up
and just cruise about looking for an
area to settle in for the day. On this
day 75% of the carp were down by the
island in open water. Floater anglers
out there reading this will certainly be
thinking, “Carp on top– happy days,”
But let me just say that yes you can
get them taking floaters on most days
when the conditions suit, but getting
that bite can only be achieved by
scaling down to a breaking strain that
would have you in tears as it snags
you up in the nearest tree. There has
been just one carp of the A-Team that
has been caught on a couple of occasions off the top called the Leopard at
28lb-plus. What a stunning carp this
was – scattered golden scales ran
across its flank, kind of similar to the
awesome Client swimming in Fen
Drayton in Cambridgeshire. I sadly
found the Leopard dead a couple of
years back on Badger Bank, slightly
bloated. It weighed 36lb-plus – RIP,
old fella.
Leaving those carp sunbathing and
socialising at range in front of the
island, I went in search of the remaining carp that may be feeding or just
chilling out in potential bite areas. As
I quietly approached an area where
the previous evening I had landed a
huge tench of over 10lb, I saw a
glimpse of the linear. It looked mas-


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