Thursday, April 25, 2013

Man with the mirror.

The weather of late has been very infuriating. Wet and miserable most of the time and when it has brightened up the wind has been very strong. This combined with starting a new job has made getting out fishing very tough. Yesterday the weather was forecast to be dry and the wind to drop off but alas I had some things to do that required the use of a van. My mate Jake came to the rescue with his and we set off late morning to get the task done and were back in Edinburgh just before 15:00. Whilst Jake had to head off to another job I was free until 19:00 and couldn't resist heading to Eliburn Reservoir for a short three hour session. Lillian wasn't as keen but reluctantly took up her usual job of ghillie when I pointed out it was too nice an evening to sit in the house. A short drive later we arrived and walked down to the reservoir to find only two other anglers already fishing for carp with two rods out each and I decided to fish a peg towards the bottom of the venue that has recently had an overhaul.

A nice newly refurbished double peg to fish. Good to see the venue being maintained to a high standard in this way.

I normally start by fishing on the bottom and yesterday was to be no different so after plumbing the depth I was soon fishing a single red maggot on the deck. I missed a couple of bites before hooking my first fish of the day, an exceedingly plump little perch.

Small but still my biggest perch from the venue.
Fattest too without a doubt!

This was followed by a few roach. At this point I heard quite a splash to my left under some overhanging trees that I thought must have been a carp and also spotted a few fish cruising around near the surface out in front of me that I suspected were ide. Ide like to take on the drop so I changed my tactics, started fishing at a depth of about three feet and also bulked all of my shot below my float except one No.10 above my hook so my maggot would fall through the water column nice and slowly. Fishing each cast for a minute or two and feeding maggots with each cast I soon had a few more roach and also a couple of roach/bream hybrids, but none of the larger fish that I thought were ide.

Skimmer or hybrid? A hybrid I think. It has some features of a bream and some of a roach. I've still to catch my first proper bream.
100% roach and the biggest of the nine I caught during the session.

For a while now I've been planning on leaving the float rod at home and trying other approaches to target the resident carp. It's proved too hard to resist the temptation of the waggler though as I've been enjoying fishing it so much. Also I've not seen that many carp caught from Eliburn and I guess this is another reason why the waggler is so hard to resist. Shortly after the angler opposite me packed up and left the bailiff came around and I paid for my permit. Just after this my float shot under and I lifted my rod. Immediately I knew I had hooked a good fish as it started making its way towards the bottom end of the reservoir taking line against my lightly set drag. It must be a carp I told Lillian. I was very excited but with just a #18 barbless hook and 2lb hooklength at the business end I was slightly concerned about bending out the hook, being snapped off or the fish getting into the submerged tree branches to my left so I loosened the drag a little further and took my time playing it. It made a couple of runs towards the bottom end of the venue and came to the top a couple of times too thrashing around on the surface but somehow the hook held. When I finally gained enough line to get it close to me for the third time it started to head to my left towards the submerged tree branches but I managed to turn it by applying some side strain whilst very gently thumbing the spool. After this it cruised around in front of me heading to the bottom a couple of times before it finally tired enough for me to manage to get it up to the surface and over the net expertly handled by Lillian. Taking over ten very nervous minutes to land it the sense of relief was immense and I was over the moon.

My first ever mirror carp.
I inspect its lovely dark green and golden yellow colours before slipping it back.
The light hooklength that I caught it on.

Now that I've caught my first mirror carp I'd really like to catch some more and I can appreciate why some anglers become obsessed by carp although I don't think I'll become one of them because I'm still enjoying trying my hand at different styles of fishing and targeting a variety of different species. I'm still keen to explore other methods for targeting carp though but that being said I also fancy trying to catch more on the waggler. I'd use a stronger hooklength in future though if deliberately targeting them! I've seen an interesting hair rigged "maggot ball" method that involves a sewing needle and dental floss that I'd like to try and I'd also like to try catching them on surface baits as well in warmer weather. Whilst the call of the sea is getting stronger and will soon be too strong to ignore I'm certainly looking forward to enjoying more coarse fishing and hopefully catching more carp and I'm keen to go for a carp session with my mate Jake too if I can drag him away from his lures for one!

Tight lines, Scott.

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