Getting ready to an angling expedition means much more than just getting your rigs ready and bait prepared. It is also about discovering true potential of the fishery you planned to use and doing so by verifying how far it is from your home, finding the best way to get there and by closely examining the reservoir surface itself. Lately I had a chance to angle at the fishery that I was not familiar with at all. Using this article, I would like to sketch my preparations for an unknown location like that, step by step, and emphasise aspects that I find crucial in that process.
Plotting a track
First stage is all about finding a reservoir located close to where I live. I usually open Google Maps and I start by verifying potential fisheries. I try to pick small to medium sized lakes – these are my favourite carp angling spots. My basic assumptions are: the commute to the fishery should not take more than an hour, so that I can easily plan it during the week – a quick night out in example. The road does not have to be flawless – it can be a bit bumpy. I am fitted with a 4x4 car; it may not be a typical off-roader, yet it won’t get stuck in a muddy meadow either.
After finding a right lake, I get there for a quick reconnaissance - just for a brief check and to spot key locations. I try to find all the lake access roads in order to locate the most suitable one. Such an exploration usually takes me entire day, as after locating all the entrances to my fishery I spend around 2 to 3 hours closely observing the water surface. I am doing my best to spot all the signs of fish and their behaviour patterns in the lake and to note down whether there are any local anglers visiting the lake too. Probably not all of them, but at least some of them should be able to provide me with some crucial information, including the most important one – whether and how many fish one can catch there.
Recently I had a chance to go through all those steps at the fishery that was completely new to me, yet very fascinating and picturesque. It also ticked all my basic assumptions’ boxes. Initial reconnaissance assured me that there are plenty of fish there; it could be large tench or maybe even some carp. You could spot lots of air bubbles getting to the surface of the water and lots of movement around plants – both could indicate lots of potential fish. I did not manage to spot any anglers visiting the lake, yet all the info I gathered the first day made come back the next day with my inflatable dinghy and check the lake using the fishfinder and a prodding stick.
For an initial fish scan I always use the Garmin Striker Plus fishfinder. It is a great tool for quick depth scan, to find out what is the shape of a bottom and to locate any potential underwater obstacles. After quick tour around the lake and once all the most interesting spots are marked with and “H”, I am getting back to those locations and I verify texture of the bottom, using the prodding stick. Besides the stick, I also like to use a tool that I make by myself – a prodding weight on a string. A really simple device, that – despite all the technology available these days, is nearly the most important piece of equipment for bottom exploration that I have, as it provides me with the most accurate picture of what is the shape of that underwater world.
For my August trip I decided to go for the shallower part of the reservoir. I decided to place the first rig in a water 1.4 m deep and the second one in 2.0 meters.
The lake is not one of the deepest I have ever been to; its deepest point, that I was able to find, is a 3 meters deep gully. It is actually quite long. I hoped for that reservoir to be a bit deeper, yet I will use it anyways.
A lone angler.
Two days prior to the proper angling expedition I baited my picked spots with a tiny amount of corn and a few handfuls of boilies. I am not sure if there are any carps there at all, or how many fish are there in general, so I decided to go easy on the amount of bait used. I will rather take a long, precise angling approach and spot baiting technique.
At the day of the trip I depart towards my selected area at 12:00. After an hour-long ride that took me to my destination it is time to set up the tent and all my gear.
This time I manage to talk to a local angler, that confirms my theories about large quantity of tench and rudd in the water. He also admits that there was a small carp that got caught there last year. That last news makes me really happy, as it indicates that the species I came here for may actually live here.
It takes me nearly two hours to set everything up. After placing boilies on my rigs, I am placing them in their assigned positions. Nothing happens until the evening, so I decide to check the rigs.
There are no signs of baiting or nibbling on any of my rigs, that I could notice after removing them from the water. In that case I simply exchange the boilies and place the rigs back where they were.
In the evening I set one more float rod up, in order to have a bit of fun and I manage catch a few nice tench and a couple of rudd. It confirms my theories and previous talks with the local angler once again.
Until the evening, regretfully, nothing happens – the night passes peacefully and quietly. Bait alarms remain silent. After a morning coffee and a quick meal, time comes to pack up and to get back home with lots of food for thoughts.
It was my first, full day at a completely new water, so there is nothing to worry about and I surely won’t give up after a single night of trying. Everything seems to be telling me that carps are hidden somewhere there. I am more than certain that I will find out about that soon enough.
The scenery, dawn and dusk that I experienced in this marvellous place simply took my breath away. They were truly amazing. Tiny reservoir squeezed between meadows, dense bushes and old trees looks amazing when sun rays fall on it. I will surely catch some good shots with my camera if I won’t get lucky with my angling attempts.
Carp angling is not only about the angling itself – it’s a lifestyle; it’s that proximity to a nature, camping, greeting new day with a cup of coffee being accompanied by sounds of birds whistling. Carp angler is that specific person that wants to angle for carps, but also admires every second spent by the water and in the nature.
I am planning to take my next trip at the beginning of September, so stay tuned and follow the Mikado page closely. I will surely prepare another detailed description of my adventure right after getting back.
See you by the water…. :-)
Mikado Fishing Team