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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


18/07/2017 - Return to the Secret Pool

Common Carp

 My secret pool can best be described as an old estate type water where I suppose over a hundred years of silt has accumulated, in fact it could be a lot more as on one wall of the stone built house with its stone floors, oak beams and leaded mullion windows, where in several of the rooms are swords and sabre's with several book cases, there is a date of 1798 carved into one of the walls. When I stop in the house my thoughts often go back to Dawn of Day, the first chapter in Sheringham's Anglers Hours, it's that type of residence. Should you read the first chapter in the book, as you read it you will end up at your favourite swim, I'm sure you will agree. It's not just rhododendrons you will see in the grounds, there are oak, beech, sycamore, maple, horse chestnut and big pines, the water contains both Yellow and very vivid deep rose Pink water lilies, Potamogeton a broad leafed pondweed, scattered about are Fringed water lily and Spiked water-milfoil, I suppose it could be best described as the ideal carp water very secretive, sometimes a feeling mystery especially in the dark hours, when you will often have a badger, fox also owls as company.

I don't spend all my time behind the rod, rather it's often catch a fish then take a break for two three or four hours, much of my time is observing the fish, the wildlife including various insects and water based flies. This the month of July I associate with carp fishing, it's often a month of warm sunshine blue skies and clear water conditions giving one a chance of stalking carp around the margins, not for me being bivvied up at the waterside, I find no enjoyment in this type of fishing these days. As I get older I want to go back in time to the 1940's 50' the world of cane rods, centre pin reels, a loaf of bread, box of lobworms, potatoes perhaps even some wasp grubs as bait. I wouldn't be breaking any records when fishing the 'Pool', a twenty pounder would indeed be a record, the average weight of carp is around 12 to 14lb, the size of fish that my friends and myself dreamed of catching in the early 1950's, in fact a ten pound carp was rated as a specimen.

Simple Tackle Set Up On my first day I didn't start fishing until around 1500hrs, though I'd spent a couple of hours slowly walking the banks often sitting for some time watching carp gliding in and out of the weeds, occasionally taking a piece of flake or crust off the surface making a slurping sound as they did so like the last of the water going down the bath hole. Having found a double figure fish slowly cruising along the western bank, where it occasionally slurped a bit of crust down or stuck its head in the silt creating a smokescreen, I thought that fish is for catching. Tackle was a Constable 'Forty fore' de lux 10 feet of split bamboo, matched with a centre pin reel with 12lb Gamma line, this line is now in its 6th season showing no sign of weakness or wear, to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook with a Palomar knot. Sitting quietly in position behind some rushes I baited with a piece of flake the size of a fifty pence piece, by just folding it over the shank of the hook. A light under hand cast soon had the piece of flake a few inches from some weed where a light breeze slowly pushed it next to the potamagetan leaves, in my opinion it was in a good spot. I sat quietly hoping for some action. An hour had gone bye before I noticed a slight disturbance in the weed, a fish had come up close to the bait through the weeds rather than the open water, for several agonizing moments it slowly moved forward edging ever closer to the flake, within seconds it nudged the bait causing it to move several inches, the carp then slowly submerged, I thought "What's wrong", why didn't it slurp it down, had it spotted the line or being spooked off by something else?

I sat there puzzled at the carps behaviour. First Hook Up Some minutes later there was a swirl followed by a slurp, the flake disappeared as it did so the bow in the line tightened, lifting the rod I set the hook, one angry carp shot off down the pool, the reel went into over drive as the ratchet screamed in protest the rod took on its battle curve, I had a fight on my hands. Twenty yards of line was ripped off the reel in what seemed a blink of the eye, then everything went solid, the fish had weeded me, after pulling from other directions, I then tried hand lining with a sawing motion, for a couple of minutes nothing, then I felt some movement I gave the fish some slack line, if it got off so be it, better than pulling for a break, leaving a hook and line with the fish. This worked the fish shot from the weed into open water, at last I felt I could win this tussle, a few minutes later after a bit of give and take struggle I got the fish to the net, the prize was mine a nice common carp, after a quick picture it was released. I fished on for about three hours roaming the banks looking for other fish accounting for two nice mirror carp.



Mirror Carp

Another nice carp

Returning a nice carp

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Martin James Fishing
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