Not always be the book.
On a one hand a horrific weather: showers, extremely low outside temperature; on the other everything that comes along with a term “passion”. One word that bears power to erase all doubts connected to that particular style of spare time activity, even in the most unwelcoming conditions. It is obviously a November carp trip that I am talking about.
Due to a 100th anniversary of Polish independence we decided to celebrate that very special day in our own manner. The assumption was that the hunt will last for 100 hours and that the total weight of the fish caught will exceed 100kg. At the same time we wanted to summarize the 2018 season with a photo report and express our gratitude towards Mikado for a first year of our cooperation with the brand.
Day one. Weather seemed to be in our favor. Cloudless sky and windless calm air allowed us to quickly relocate the entire equipment to the other bank of the lake. Setup of the camp in such marvelous conditions went flawlessly; the only thing that needed to be done afterwards was to spot the best locations for angling. Two rods of Adam were placed in the reeds on our left while my pair landed on the right also nearby the reeds. Two more sets were placed straight in front of us at the depth of around 5m more into the lake. We used self-made, squid-flavored, tigernuts stuffed balls of different sizes. Afternoon and evening passed completely worry-free as were blessed with a warm and sunny for that part of a year, weather. Finally the night has come. At 11:00 pm we were suddenly awaken by a loud noise of a signaler. Sadly the noise went off very shortly and the hanger remained motionless. The conclusion was simple – carps were very cautious and approached our bait-balls in a very delicate manner.
Day two welcomed us with a typical British weather. It was very cloudy and a rain was pouring. Nothing changed until late evening. At the same time I would like to mention that on the other side of the lake, our newly met colleagues were finishing their third day of a carp hunt and only this morning they managed to catch first two fish. It was a clear message to us that a great weather does not always come along with a prosperous hunt. Filled with a fresh hope we started checking our rigs and changing the lures for fresh ones. Our general approach remained unchanged though – sets were placed in the pre-planned locations. Sadly the result was similar to the one achieved last day – one short tease and then nothing. As it came out later-on our colleagues that night managed to catch two more carps and with that result decided to finish the event.
Day three –change of the approach. We decided to drop the deep-water spot and move all the sets to shallow waters just by the reeds. On top of that I decided to put only the tiger nuts on the hair of mine. Using the fact that the rain stopped for a bit we decided to go out to the open water and check the spots with the camera to find out if the bait is still present there. Even though we were not using lots of bait (about 10 balls and a handful of tigernuts per set), not even all of that got consumed. We decided to stick to the PVA bagged bait and sprinkled the spot with some tigernuts. At around 9:00pm the first strike happened. Soft and careful at the beginning changed into the typical scroll later on. Adam grabbed his rod whereas I caught the landing net and we were in a boat in a matter of seconds. Immediately we were struck by high wave and strong wind. Not without any issues we reached the reeds and it came out that the carp penetrated them deeply. Tips of the reeds at time of the year are rather dry and easy to break, yet attempt to conquer 30 meters of such a terrain seemed a bit troublesome. Finally we reached our prey. It was waiting for us stuck around a bunch of reeds with a rig. Luckily we had our irreplaceable landing net with a rigid ring. Only that type of a landing net allows you to quickly, safely and efficiently haul the carp that at any given moment, with a one rapid movement can break free. It is not suspended by a flexibility of the rod, nor by the expandability of the fishing line. Loss in such a moment cannot be classified as the most pleasant experience ever. What is more the fish can get seriously injured, tearing its mouth severely with a hook. Immediately after getting back to the shore we weighted the fish (16.4kg) and placed it in the bag made for safe fish storage. Main aim of that was to keep in a good shape for the morning photo session, but at the same time that allows fish to recover after the fight and – whenever the visibility is good, to disinfect the wounds. It is a frequent occurrence that the hook is not the only cause of the fish injury. Frequently there are multiple spots requiring medical attention, left by the other predators such as fish, birds and otters. One of the other advantages of a bag-storage is ability to check the ultimate diet of the fish. According to undigested remains of the food we can assess whether the individual used our canteen and hang out in our fishery.
Getting back to our November hunt; the night was really cold. Strong, gusty wind mixed with showers did not help at all. At around 4:00am another strike happened. Situation was very similar to the last one. Strong wind, high waves, reeds ride and landing net retrieval of the carp waiting there for us. Again the honorable role of a landing net operator was with me. Truthfully Adam throughout most of the season was helping and supporting me, so the time has come to pay the deeds. We had two fish in two bags and we thought that that it is pretty much it. Very particular feature of that fishery is that carp only strikes by night yet at 6:20am we seemed to have another strike from the same spot. Sadly after getting through the reeds we found out that the fish escaped.
Day four was mostly dedicated to the photoshoot and… another tactics change. One of my sets was placed in by the reed on the left-hand side, where the most strikes occurred. On each hair effective baits were placed that have proved their effectiveness – the squid with a tigernut. Last day of our fight finally arrived. Physically exhausted after the last night we remained optimistic. Sadly it turned out that the fish decided to allow us to rest and we slept through the night with no obstacles. No sound came out of any signaler.
The time has come to summarize the November hunt. Initial assumptions were not exactly satisfied. We were 70 kgs short to the desired 100 yet we managed to last through the entire 100 hours, camping in the extreme November weather. Speaking of the “not by the book” behavior of the carps, there were few factors to consider: first thing – the air pressure. On a very day our colleagues got luck and caught four fish, pressure was roughly between 1029 and 1030 hPa. It was really high – Adam caught two fish during a delicate dip to around 1027 hPa. Conclusion – I think that high pressure cannot be a main factor deciding that there were no strikes. Other thing are strikes in the shallow waters with high wave, low water temperature (below 10 Celcuis degrees). Both cases can be exemptions confirming the general rule; however such observations make it harder to apply and use a proper carp angling strategy.
Summing up our cooperation with Mikado I happened to notice that their products are really thought through and all have practical application. It probably comes out of the fact that people standing behind them are active anglers and know their trade well. A fish storing and weighing bag Territory IS14-R704 and a landing net M-NET S16-8070 are some great examples of that. I am really pleased that I had a chance to meet so many of those people in person. Kudos to all of them. Herby I announce 2018 as finished.
Mikado Fishing Team