As you may have gathered by now carp are not really fish that get my pulse racing, but the leisurely way you can conduct a carp fishing expedition has a certain appeal, and my pal Ken’s fishery in Staffordshire is so breathtakingly beautiful that it`s always a sheer delight just to be there!
Furthermore, apart from the luxury of log cabin accommodation, there is the added thrill when my ‘tame’ pike turns up to be fed – which, so far, she invariably has. It was no great surprise therefore when, 20 minutes after my arrival last Thursday, I looked and there she was – fully recovered from spawning, fins bristling and staring expectantly up at me with that ice-cold expression (see pic)! I had taken the precaution of bringing a few roach with me (just in case). I needn`t have worried: the ‘Folly Pool’ had really woken up and was literally alive with eager rudd, some of which were in the 6 to 8 oz bracket, and I caught 20 or so in 10 minutes. I fed ‘Pikey’ with 3 or 4 fish, which she snaffled in a split second, then called a halt as I was planning to be there for a couple of days and didn’t want to overdo it!
I was prepared for some serious mowing with the Kubota tractor, but the job had been done the previous day and the whole place looked absolutely gorgeous. The carp were obviously in the full throws of spawning, thrashing around in the shallows, and I felt no desire whatsoever to interfere with their efforts. Indeed I believe from past experiences that it would have been a total waste of time anyway!
With this in mind I put all my efforts into feeding Ken and his two young boys when they arrived at tea-time. We started with fillets of rainbow trout cooked to Rodney`s recipe, followed by rib-eye steak and sauté potatoes, and then strawberries, fresh pineapple with Vienetta ice-cream, all washed down with a bottle of ‘bubbles’… Hard life, isn`t it?!
It was no surprise that I slept like the proverbial log that night, accompanied only by Max, my black Lab, as Ken had plans to go stalking in Dorset the following day. On waking to a lovely sun-drenched morning, I had a walk around the estate with Max, then treated myself to a breakfast fry-up.
I decided to move over to the Middle Pool (or ‘Enigma Pool’, as we call it, as it constantly throws up strange results!). It has not fished at all well for a couple of years, considering that previously it was known as a ‘runs water’, and so it was somewhat of a shock when, 5 minutes after casting out, one of my rods screamed off. Unfortunately it resulted in a dropped run but it was a promising start!
The next fish fought like a tiger and wrapped me around two willow trees in short order, necessitating a trip out in the half-waterlogged boat before I was able to net a pristine 15lb fully-scaled mirror.
To cut a long story short, during that day I landed six carp, every one in mint condition, the smallest at 14lbs (another f/s mirror) and the largest a 22lb ‘starburst’ mirror . The catch also included the first 20lb common carp to be taken from that pool, so all-in-all it turned out to be a very enjoyable and successful day. I consider myself an extremely lucky chap to have exclusive access to this wonderful venue, thanks to the never-ending efforts made by my best friend Ken.
I hope he got his buck!