Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Sunday 9 June 2019

Keep it simple

I'm not too sure where this'll end up but, it's, hopefully, an insight into the thinking behind the recent surface caught carp distraction. It was way back in early March, whilst I was still involved with my Scroggins perch caper, that I was made aware that Derek, a fellow Wantsum AA member, had already caught a couple of carp at Homersham. Nothing too unusual until I learned that they had been taken using surface baits. So come March 15th, the start of the traditional close season, I'm on it. Can I catch one hundred carp, off the surface, before June 16th?
Well, as you are now aware, I pissed it. Homersham must be the easiest carp fishery in the UK, or they're bloody starving? The second hypothesis is quickly discounted as these fish are in wonderful condition and fight with great tenacity when hooked. It's certainly not a big fish venue and those boily chucking, brain dead, clones will testify it's also not a runs water using this approach. So, I find myself questioning, why do they continue to stick with these tactics? Yet I already know the answer without needing to get involved in dialogue. Dumb schmucks don't know any different. They've watched Youtube and have fallen for this slick, marketing genius's, sales patter and the associated, over priced, products that they see their heroes endorse/promote! (Danny Fairbrass, Alan Blair, et al, are superb carp anglers, but even better businessmen. Carp tax is what they peddle - logos mean so much more than functionality in today's screwed up angling scene!)
Oh yeah, where was I? Simplicity and how to get the best out of time spent on the banks of Homersham. It was 21st March when I first pitched up at the fishery with the intention of tempting the carp to sample my floating hook baits. It doesn't get any more simple than free-lined bread. A rod, centrepin reel, line and a hook all that is required. A handful, no more, of freebies adjacent to the marginal reeds and away I went. Four fish on that first outing was to set the tone for this silly dalliance with these carp. All that I needed to do was to find them, actually temping them to take a bait was the easy bit.

One of the carp taken on that first outing
With the days lengthening and starting to warm, it became obvious that the carp preferred to spend their time away from the margins and I changed over to a Mitchell 300 reel and controller float in order to cast my baits the required distances. I started with the ESP floats and enjoyed some memorable sessions, none less than the sixteen fish, in little over two hours, on 1st April. However, it was when I swapped over to the Nash Bolt Machine that I really saw how much more efficient this float design was over my previous choice. The ESP products are very good and cast with more finesse, but the Bolt Machine knocks them into a cocked hat where hooking is concerned. I've lost count of the times I've actually missed seeing a fish take my bait. The first thing I knew about a bite was the line tightening at the rod tip - bloody savage!

Self explanatory?
Rod choice is a very personal thing, knowing that I wasn't fishing for carp that were particularly big, my first choice was to use the 1956 Hardy Palakona "Perfection Roach". Sadly, this was a step too far and the repaired tip section gave up the ghost (requiring an expensive replacement tip being manufactured by a professional split cane rod maker) and I spent the majority of the project using my Mk IV Avon. Line is Guru "Pulse Line" in 6 lbs b.s. and hooks, all barbless, being a mix of Nash, Korda and Gardner patterns in sizes 6 to 10. I'll admit that thus far I've quite blatantly named those products that I've used, to such good effect, and would appear to be a victim of the "tackle tart" syndrome that so affects carp anglers. Possibly true, but I want what is actually in the water to be the best that I can afford, so long as it does what I require, brand labels mean jack shit!

The Hardy Palakona - in a sorry state after the abuse I gave it. Great fun whilst it lasted
Now let's get on to bait. I will make no attempt to claim anything other than the modern commercial bait companies manufacture some exceptional products. With this undoubted quality comes a cost and it's for the individual to decide what they spend their hard earned cash on. Knowing that I was fishing for the easiest carp in the UK, why would I need to spend exorbitant sums on bait when a Co-op Wholemeal loaf and Happy Shopper "Mixers" would do the same job as the more expensive options? I'm all about catching fish, not impressing the anglers in adjacent swims with my logo covered accessories.

Not too sure what dogs think - carp love them!
By using a pair of scissors, I am able to fashion a small cube of wholemeal from the crust of a sliced loaf. I insert the hook through the crust then twist it through 180 degrees and pull it back into the soft bread. My choice of wholemeal is because the vast majority of other anglers will only use white loaves, thus I'm offering something different, but also because the colour of the bait is very similar to that of the mixers I use as freebies. So there you have it - my slant on catching the carp of Homersham Lake. Only two other essentials are a landing net, of whatever brand/design you choose and an unhooking mat. That I also have a barrow, packed with umpteen other bits and bobs is about being able to ring the changes, should an opportunity arise, and to assist my arthritic limbs - not looking good for my audience. The barrow ensures that I can carry all my camera kit as well as retention slings, scales and spare clothing, without having to struggle.

What happens next is the complete opposite to this enjoyable nonsense, a return to the split cane (wild) thirty challenge. I have every intention of keeping tactics as basic as I can make them, location being the undeniable, single, most important aspect in this project. Bait choice, rig mechanics and presentation come a long way down the list of priorities under these circumstances. At present I am sorting out the kit in readiness for the start of the new season. Come the sixteenth of June; the pursuit of a dream starts again and, if I'm to realise my ambition, I've got to be in it to live it!

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