A day out at a show drooling over the latest and best carp products. I was like a kid in a camo-coloured sweet shop and with a few pence burning a hole in my pocket I even treated myself to a new bait bucket, a beautiful new spod reel and numerous other little bits and bobs.
Hoping to resolve my current fish drought, I managed to squeeze in a couple of trips to Kirton. My last session of 2016 (in zero-degrees misty fog with half the lake frozen) and my first of 2017 (torrential rain with occasional breaks revealing an absolute mill-pond-calm stillness).
During two full day sessions, all I had was one tentative drop-back bite which amounted to nothing. Even a desperate attempt to bag a consolation bream resulted in failure!
I suppose the only positive is I can say is that I’ve managed to fish every single day of 2017.
Happy New Year everyone and good luck in your quests for the forthcoming year.
The plan for today was to go to Kirton and restore some normality and more importantly sanity to proceedings. Unfortunately, the fishing gods had other plans for me, and a last minute check of the website revealed that there was yet another silvers match, putting pay to my plan (which clearly involved no forward planning whatsoever).
With everything then up in the air, my current obsession with blanking at Suffolk Waterpark suddenly sprang to the forefront of the other options available to me. Honestly, I just can’t let it go. If Kirton gives me a 95% chance of putting a carp on the bank, then the Big Lake at Suffolk Waterpark is easily 5%. All day long.
So I set out for SWP, but as I approached the junction that could divert me to Hintlesham (and a 50% chance of avoiding disappointment), a split-second internal battle took place, and seeing sense, I turned towards Hintlesham. Battle two commenced before I reached the next roundabout, during which I managed to convince myself that I shouldn’t ignore my first instinct as, ‘how would I feel if today was the day at SWP and I’d changed my mind and gone elsewhere?’ Naturally I used the roundabout to its fullest.
I have many vivid memories of fishing on the banks of the Great river Ouse as a boy back in the eighties, including many trips underlined by the startling image of my Dad striding scarlet-faced up the tow path towards me, which usually meant, once again, that I’d lost all track of time and was “bloody late for tea!”.
I have since come to realise that the years I spent ‘in the doghouse’ were through no fault of my own, and that in actual fact, I’d simply fallen foul of the time-bending phenomenon which I believe all anglers experience.
Here’s the science bit –
If we take a ‘normal’ 1 hour period of time, we can see what happens to it when we expose it to the fishing converter:
1 hr x (standard fishing) = feels like 20 mins
1 hr x (the last hour of a fishing session) = feels like 5 mins
Using the above converter we can see that a ‘normal’ 12 hours fishing actually only feels like 3 hours 45 mins
In stark contrast we can also see below, the effect on time away from the bank:
1 hr x (waiting for next fishing trip) = feels like 3 hrs
I can see this going the same way as my relationship with Melton’s specimen lake. The scores at Melton are currently 10-1 in the favour of the lake and yet I still keep going back for more. The Waterpark may just be my new obsession and could easily find itself at the top of my ‘favourite places to blank’ chart.
Under advisement from the friendly owner in the shop, I chose the car park swim today. It is in fact so close to the car park that you could easily fish from the car, or at the very least, sleep in the car on an overnighter (probably frowned upon) as long as you’re prepared to vault the fence should the alarms start to scream.
I switched to the swim next door ‘Caspers Rest’ for the last four hours of the session, just to spread the blank around a bit. Turns out Casper is a bloody big rat and he doesn’t rest much.
Today was never going to be about catching fish, just like it says on the tin.
Instead It was going to be another day of firsts.
A first visit to SWP’s main attraction, the Big Lake. Something I’ve been itching to do for a while. I was up and at’em before it was light (which makes a change for me) , in anticipation of the need for a thorough recce before deciding on a swim. It’s a vast 26 acre horseshoe affair, but reportedly home to a mere 150 Wiley old carp. Probably why it’s considered the toughest local water and why I set out knowing I had this blank ‘in the bag’.
Today was also a first outing for my recently acquired Leaf Catcher, so when I finally decided on my swim, I wasted no time getting it set up immediately, thus enabling me to then relax and get on with the days fishing while taking in the wonderfully picturesque scenery. I’ve fished SWP’s slightly barren traditional lake a few times now but this setting feels like a whole different world. As the day went on I gradually explored as much of my swim as possible with nothing but the odd nibble from inquisitive bream presumably. I resisted the temptation to move the Leaf Catcher though, happy that I’d set it up in the perfect spot.
Another first was a lunch consisting of Pot Noodle made with tea. A slight oversight on the forward thinking and flask-making prep, but it made not a jot of difference to the famous chicken and mushroom flavour and subsequent noodle-based-snack enjoyment.
The other highlight of the day was a last ditch attempt to elicit a bite by accessing the inaccessible pocket of lily pads to the right of my swim by literally catapulting my whole rig, with an open bail arm, out under the overhanging branches to just inches from the edge of the pads. If only the fish had been as impressed as I was.
So the only thing left to do before packing up was to check how the Leaf Catcher had performed. I counted 9 in all, varying in type but mostly small in size. Not too bad for a first outing me thinks, but I’m certainly no expert. You may know different.