Bit of a late start, didn't arrive till 9.30 but knew I'd be fishing till last knockings so wasn't too fussed. When the weather gets colder, I've a feeling the end of the day produces more fish? Quiet day, not many people there and the wind was blowing straight along the lake. Took the gamble that the fish would be pushed in the direction of the wind so I set up on the far bank to the car park, almost fishing into the wind.
I decided to fish a light ledger in front on the reeds with luncheon meat on the hair and freebies on a stringer. A light scattering of ground bait and that rod was set. The other rod was set up with a Korum feeder and pellets, the aim being to build up a bit of bait in the swim and then float fish over the top once the fish started feeding.
After 20 mins, the ledger rod tore off, connected with the fish and then... nothing... Got the rig in to find the fluorocarbon hook link was snapped. Chewed through? Snagged? Not sure...
Five minutes after that, the feeder tore off. This time I managed to get the fish almost to the net before the hook slipped. I *think* it was a chub (managed to catch one last time) as it was a sizeable silver.
Unfortunately, my luck didn't improve... The morning wore on, the fish weren't taking the bait, the wind got stronger and stronger and I missed the only run I got before lunch time.
So, a bit of a rethink. I decided the reason I was missing fish was the hook size: I'd dropped from a size 8 to a 12 as the fish in the lake are very fussy about presentation. But the hook holds were obviously slipping, possibly due to the being unbalanced with the bait so I upped to a size 8 again. My hook lengths were short too so these were lengthened and swapped from fluorocarbon to a really supple braid.
The trick to not getting any runs is it gives you plenty of time to watch the water. Everyone was fishing down the wind end of the lake and no one was catching. In the top end however was a big patch of calm water that somehow was just out of the wind...
So in came the rods and I had a bit of a wander round the other side only to find 2 carp playing in the reeds. One was actually tail slapping in the margins...
I shot round the other side, baited the feeder rod with some ground bait and a couple of small cubes of luncheon meat and crept back to the swim. The fish were still there so I gently lowered the bait in, literally 10cm from the bank side...
...and off it tore! Real hook and hold fishing. But, as with my luck earlier in the day, it wasn't to be. Deep into the reeds and the line snapped.
But the good news was I'd located the fish. The gear was moved as quietly as possible, I got into a good swim with plenty of cover from the wind and cast out.
The left rod was still on the ledger with luncheon meat stringers but I changed the right rod to a open ended feeder which was filled with liquidized bread mixed with ground bait. Fill the base of the feeder with the bread and compact it down, tip in some pellets and luncheon meat and plug the top with more bread, chuck it in, leave for 5 mins and give the reel a couple of turns to drag the hook bait back into the pile of food. I hadn't tried this method before but it sounded good.
Within 10 minutes the ledger rod tore off 3 times and each time the fish pulled the hook! Incredibly frustrating.
On the next cast, I fished a slacker line and didn't put the bait runner on. My thinking was as I was sitting on the rod, there was no danger of it disappearing off and the bolt action would be more pronounced meaning a better hook hold.
And it worked! The rod tore off, a nice fight and a 10lb common carp came in. I've a feeling it was the same fish that'd done me 3 times previously...
Then things really picked up. The feeder rod came to life, the fish came up to the surface despite the cold conditions and I spend a good hour stalking carp with bread crust. Only one small fish came out, but on light tackle and so close in it's loads of fun.
The pace kept up and by last knockings, I'd got a good 15 or so fish ranging from 3 to 10lb.
The moral of the story? If you're not catching and you should be, change your tactics, change your tackle, watch the water and move - the fish are in there, you've just got to find them!