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This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by freelance reporter James Bohrsmann.
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Time wasted or time well spent?
I READ Colin Davidson’s latest Angler’s Mail article with great interest this week, as he discussed the big carp myths that pass quietly through the fishing world from time to time.
Most anglers would have come across rumours of an uncaught whacker at some point – I know I’ve certainly heard a few in my time in the fishing world.
I have to say stories like this tend to get my mind working, and my imagination tends to start conjuring up ideas of tracking down the monster and being the first to catch it.
Usually I think better of it and stick to what I know, but for me it’s also this unknown, mysterious aspect of fishing that draws me in and maintains my passion for the sport.
I have, on occasion, spent time chasing rumours around lakes, as I did one winter on a small local pond. It was around five years ago and I was fishing one my local lakes that I usually buy a season ticket for. It was a fairly quiet water, as the other lake on the ticket tended to get all the pressure due to holding bigger carp.
I’d fished it a handful of times through the summer and caught a few carp to low-20s. On this particular session a lad was passing by and stopped for a chat. He mentioned the small pond which sat around 100 yards from the lake I was fishing, and asked if I’d fished it much.
I admitted that I knew very little about it, apart from that it had a fairly low stock of small carp to 20 lb or so. His reply grabbed my attention: ‘Plus the mid-30 common that’s in there,’ he said.
I packed up half an hour early that day after a blank and had a walk around the small pond, which was around an acre in size. Thin at one end and then opening up into a wider bowl of water at the dam end, it had reeds around much of the margins.
Suffice to say I didn’t spot a giant common carp swimming around, but I decided to continue my research online later that evening and came across a few discussions regarding the pond.
There was no hard evidence to confirm the existence of the big common, but the possibility was enough for me and I began to get a plan in motion.
It was October at this point and the weather was getting colder at a rapid rate. I decided to make the pond my winter campaign as it was close to home and though its stocks were fairly low, it was a small water and so I felt I had a chance to catch a few.
My first session was at the end of October and after a few circuits of the pond and around an hour of watching the water, I hadn’t seen a thing.
I decided to set up on the wider end of the lake, with a cold wind pushing away from me. Just as my hopes began to dissolve, a mid-double common jumped right over my left-hand rod.
I was relieved, there were fish in here at least and I was in the right spot. After seeing a couple more shows, it took longer than I expected to get a bite but I eventually banked a small common of around 8 lb.
I think I caught the fish just before they shut off for the winter on that session, and after the temperatures dropped in November I only managed one other small common in two or three visits.
I should mention that the water was days only, which gave me a good excuse to not fish through the freezing nights, but restricted my sessions to short ones in the daylight hours.
I stuck with it and after a one more small ghosty in December, I blanked through January and February with the lake freezing over for much of it.
I decided to give it one last go in the first two weeks of March before the close season came into play and on my penultimate session I hooked what felt like a much heavier fish.
Unfortunately the hook pulled after around 20 seconds so it was hard to tell, and maybe it was another 10-pounder, but maybe it was a 35 lb common.
It was a disappointing end to a tough winter’s fishing, but I wouldn’t have changed it given the chance. I enjoyed the adventure along the way, and the small possibility that the fish was in fact swimming around in the lake was all the motivation I needed to keep going.
Colin’s article got me thinking about that big common again. Maybe I’ll pay that pond another visit this winter, just in case. Chances are you will come up empty handed, but once in while you may just sign off with the fish of a lifetime. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
It’s the idea of chasing an unknown beast that gets my mind working, and brings excitement to my fishing. So does the failure to catch the beast really matter, if you enjoyed the excitement along the way?
GIANT PIKE. The 42 lb monster reported this week could well challenge the British record if caught again through the winter months.
WET WEATHER. Time to get the winter gear out and get ready for the cold, wet days and nights on the bank!
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Our unique annual poetry competition is officially launched in this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine.
It’s easier to enter – with the normal category plus a new one for short entries (up to seven words on why you like fishing).
Our judge Paul Brett has secured two Vintage Viator guitars – plus we have rod ‘n’ reel combos from Korum. See the magazine, also find out more HERE – and watch Paul’s promo video for the competition below.
THE AM HQ BLOG WILL APPEAR AGAIN NEXT WEDNESDAY.
Don’t forget we have a new fishing blog here every day!
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