With the tide times not fitting my schedule and tired of trout fishing I decided to mix things up, again!
One of the young staff at work was keen to do some fishing, so I suggested meeting at a local lake to stalk some carp. We set off for an evening on one of my local fisheries. I’ve been fishing this lake for over a decade, it’s a small fishery with an old stock of carp, running into the mid-doubles. They can be quite wary, with some of the fish being over 20yrs old, there’s plenty of young fish from successful spawning too. We arrived, to one of the first warm afternoons in a while, and to my surprise the fish were showing up in numbers. I could hear the sounds of fish picking naturals off the surface along the wind-facing bank. I snuck around with my fly rod and watched for the next fish. The carp were feeding along the undercuts of the bank, so I rigged up a foam beetle and placed a short cast. A patrolling fish moved to check out the fly but decided to leave it. I covered a few more fish with similar results. Perhaps they had suspected something was off with my presentation.
I crept a little further along the bank to a couple of overhanging bushes, and spotted a decent fish feeding in the branches. This one looked like a nice double-figure fish, so I watched and waited until it left the sanctuary of the overhangs. The opportunity arose as the fish cruised into open water. I quickly placed a cast in its estimated direction. The fish spotted the fly and carefully approached it before slurping it down. I paused for a moment, waited for the carp to turn away, and set the hook. There was a large eruption at the surface as the fish bolted back to cover. I held on, maxing the curve of the rod in an effort to slow the fish down. I could feel the line bouncing off the snags as the fish ran, taking line from the reel. It was close-quarters combat! I’d gain a few feet then lose a few, the fish stayed down deep. Suddenly, the fish would run, taking metres of line. There was little I could do. Eventually, the fish tired and I began to make progress, catching glimpses as it came close to the surface. After a few more attempts to snag me, the fish tired and I slipped the net under her.
Tackling carp on fly gear can be a ton of fun. Stalking them with natural imitations can be really challenging. Equally, getting them feeding, then using bread/mixer imitations can provide great sport. The delicate and accurate presentation can trick wary fish. Ideally a rod around #7 will give you all the power you need for carp well into double figures. A reel with a drag makes fighting them far more enjoyable. Floating lines will cover most situations.
THE BASS HAVE ARRIVED!
I decided to take a trip to the coast to see if the bass were ready for action. Catch reports of quality fish to bait tactics boosted my confidence. However, after more high winds, rain and even hail, the sea was in a sorry state. I arrived at the beach to coffee-coloured water and few signs of life. It didn’t deter me, I was a man on a mission and I’ve waited long enough for the bass. I rigged up with the new V2 Sandeel and added a bit of extra flash. I knew I would have quite a brief window of opportunity on the ebb of the tide, and wasted no time covering ground. Fishing felt hopeless, I relentlessly cast my lures into the gloomy water.
I spotted a bit of break water and quickly cast to it, moments later I was in. Wow! It felt good, the head shakes and aggressive pulls of a schoolie bass. It gave a great account of itself, slipping it back, I was happy to get of the mark on open coastline. This spring the action-packed estuaries have been difficult, now it’s starting to happen. A sign of better things to come? Absolutely. The water is slowly clearing, weather fronts stabilising, the bass are here. Come rain or shine, I’m determined to find a big one. I’ll be out this week on the hunt for a bigger specimen, armed with plenty of new lures to try. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great season ahead. With the rivers now only a month from opening for coarse fishing, there’s certainly lots of angling targets on the horizon.
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