44lb common from Villefond
I’d set aside a weekend to finally get my lines wet. A group of fishermen had just left the lake a week ago with a bumper haul, including three 40lb’ers, so my enthusiasm had been re-ignited. I had picked my swim furthest from the entrance; the woodchip swim next to the sluice gate which has some lovely over hanging trees along the right hand bank.
I had designs on two of the three rods; firstly I had a catfish rod in the margins to the left armed with 3x24mm pellet. On my right hand rod was sweet corn/maize over a bed of particle and pellet. The middle rod was my wild card, I was going to see where the fish where showing and cast to them or experiment with tactics should the weekend start to turn sour.
All was set & I cast out; the weather was slightly cloudy with the threat of rain. Carp where topping one after another straight opposite just past the limit of my not too impressive casting abilities. I targeted them with single hook bait and then made dinner – a bacon sandwich cooked on the bank with a small beer in my hand, bliss!
While the fishing remained quite into the night the fish continued to taunt me from the other side of the lake as a storm rolled in over head. I settled down in my bivy and awoke at 5am at first light to calm weather and the realisation that all night had past with no joy and I decided to head back into my bivy for anougher hour or so before reeling in and re assessing the situation. However as I settled back down the glorious sound of a bite alarm pierced the fresh morning air and I stumbled out of the bivvy and grabbed the nearest rod to me, the sweet corn in the right hand margin had done the business! I played the fish to the edge, slid the net under it and gladly took my prize of a 32lb mirror.
The day unfolded in a frustrating fashion with all the fish movement over the other side. Right into the evening the fish mocked me; in plain view they cruised the surface in numbers and topped over and over. I now was considering a move. Watching the fish was too tempting and despite all the bait I had thrown out not moving seemed lazy. I began to look for a new option. As it turned out that option appeared closer to home. On a stalk through the over hanging trees on my right where my right hand rod had been sitting I noticed a very large dark shape. On investigation and a little patience that dark shape rose close to the surface to reveal a huge common. The width alone was enough to tell me I was looking at a monster. Soon the monster was joined by others. I watched these rising and sinking out of view calmly enjoying the now sunny weather. My mind was made up and I went about excitedly preparing my new tactics.
My left hand rod was again on catfish duty. My middle rod was boated out to the far side of the lake where the fish taunted me and my right hand rod was primed on the edge of the bush as I waited for the monsters to come out and feed as the sun dropped below the trees line. Well that was the plan. After watching these monster carp move around amongst the trees in the evening and with all 3 rods in place I again retired to the bivy. I was awoke during the night on 3 occasions all of which were down to my catfish bait being moved causing my swinger to drop back. That was the extent of the excitement.
On awaking I noticed my middle rod, my far bait on those showing fish, had a tight line and the swinger was touching the rod! Immediately I knew what I had done, a school boy error I have never done before, I didn’t turn the bite alarm on! I picked up the rod with little hope of the fish still being on and of coarse it wasn’t and I was well snagged on the island. Deflated and frustrated at myself I reeled in all rods and went home for a shower and meal.
Frustrated at the outcome I decided one more night was called for and I returned to the lake enthusiastic and refreshed. After what I believed to be a catfish playing with my bait, based on my experience with them I lost one pellet so I hoped two on a smaller hair would make them less easy to pick up then eject. The middle rod was moved on top the baited area of pellet. I had my catfish bait on with a smaller carp pellet on in case any carp would move onto the bed of bait during the night. The monster carp were back in the bush and my third rod was the one to target them. I moved the bait around 6 foot back nearer the bank to where the majority of the carp where resting so I hoped as they moved out they’d have to pass my bait. I even threw some sweet corn on them to try to induce them to feed. I convinced myself tonight would produce because if they didn’t come out feeding last night they surely would tonight. The trap was set… now I was going to have to wait.
The wait wasn’t long. I was sat on my unhooking mat looking over the water when my third rod by the trees beeped once, as I said to myself “don’t take the mick” it beeped again, then again… I moved and struck… & I was in!
The fight was all under the over hanging trees but luckily the branches extend not far below the water so I was able with no hassle to fight the carp amongst them. As the carp tired and came near the surface I saw the scales of a common. I couldn’t believe my luck I’d lured out the big common and shortly after he was in the net!
She went a personal best of 44lb… I just couldn’t believe my luck!
One fish changed my weekend from being a flop to a screaming success and I fished on during the night without incident but not in the least bothered. I’d achieved what I came for.
Mark Lambert, June 2010