|A scamp common from Marshside Fishery - a wonderful little day-ticket venue just like Longshaw Farm (July 2013)|
And so onward to the 6th July 2015 - a monumental day in my angling adventure and, as is so often the case, a complete accident due to events way beyond my control. I'd planned to go barbel fishing on The Stour in Canterbury, but EA weed cutting had made it impossible. A quick change of venue, although not bait or tackle, was to see me relocate to a small East Kent drain where I thought I might have a chance of a decent tench? With just a bucketful of mixed particles for attraction and some 14 mm halibut pellets as hook baits, I sallied forth and set out my stall. My efforts were not in vain, although it was not tench which responded to my tactics but a magnificent wild carp of 18 lbs 2 oz. (plus a 3 lbs 6 oz eel!)
|The fish which kicked it all off - a complete accident! How much more of a part can fate play in my angling adventure?|
My early efforts were undertaken using my particle approach. Swims, once chosen, (these initial sessions saw me fishing to features, not locating fish before hand) were given a liberal dosing with my barbel "munga" mix. Which wouldn't have been too much different if I'd made it deliberately for the carp but, because all the ingredients were already present in my bait cupboard, it made no sense to go out and purchase more until I'd used all that I had. My local pet shop, where I buy the seed for my aviary and garden bird feeders, sells a pigeon tonic mix for 90p/kilo and this is the main ingredient. All I do, for added attraction, is put in hemp seed and away I go. Soak it for twelve hours prior to a six hour spell in the slow-cooker at medium setting (Cookery lesson over!). The resultant bait is further enhanced by the addition of liquidized sweetcorn, really cheap stuff that Tesco sell for 35p/tin. I've also played around with added sugar, rock salt and tuna in brine; there's no doubt that it changes the bait yet I can't honestly say that I've any noticeable improvement in results directly attributable to these tweaks? Conversely, it hasn't made the bait any less attractive so I suppose it's all down to personal opinion as to what does and doesn't make a decent "munga".
|My back-up maize rig - that pop-up grain of Korda IB plastic is key to the whole presentation.|
|"The Football" - no need for an explanation?|
Of course there is always the chance that I've missed a trick and the (un-named) carp, I so desire, actually swims in the waters of The East Kent drains? With this at the back of my mind I have no plans to ignore them, but they are covered by the "close season" as decreed by the EA, so, all I have until 16th June, is the canal. These fish are a completely different proposition, as they are subjected to the attentions of a small group of very talented carp anglers. If I am to have any chance of achieving my target then I'll have to be at the top of my game. I'm finding myself rather enjoying the challenge. Am I good enough? Tough question, even tougher to take should the answer be "no" and I fail to realize my dream. So with these factors spinning around in my thinking it was inevitable that I would have to confront reality and attempt to utilize modern baits in my angling effort. It doesn't mean that I've lost sight of my original goal, or even that I have sold out. The best bait in the world won't catch fish if it's in the wrong place! Fish location, bait presentation and watercraft still have a major part to play in my challenge.
Casting a boily on a sixty year old split cane isn't something I ever thought about, during my original planning, it was going to be particles all the way. Strange things happen when you realize that time is no longer an ally. I am now fully committed to using whatever terminal tackle is required, be that rigs or bait, to ensure the best chance of delivering my promise to Dad. However, I have not yet completely abandoned the original project which required the fish to be of wild origins. I'm not about to go rocking up at some trendy day-ticket complex to catch "Wendy" at thirty-six - "she went thirty-four, seven last time out" - just to get a result. All the time I'm fit enough to get up for work, then I'm well enough to go fishing and long may it continue! Bait and wait ain't likely to happen, any time soon, either. The last time I did an over-nighter was 15/16th June 2016, the last time I used a bivvy was Scotland in April of the same year. If I am to achieve this ambition it will on my terms and under my rules. I hope that ability will allow me to by-pass the methodology of the time bandits and deliver a result due to an angling apprenticeship, learned, when all fish were equal?