Targets, campaigns, strategies and aims

I’m really not the most serious of fisherman. Although I enjoy capturing big fish – who doesn’t – and setting new personal bests, I’m not hell bent on it. I lose interest in fishing for any one species, venue or style after a short while.

Travelling back from a brilliant session on the Wye last week, my mind started to wander. A short evening trip had produced nine, battling barbel and four chub. Special fishing on a special river. And yet as I drove home all I could think about was trying to catch a big, feral carp.

A lovely Wye barbel
A lovely Wye barbel

barbel 2 web

Carp: I have a funny relationship with them. My best ever carp fishing experience was on a mature, overgrown lake nestled at the top of a golf course. Previously a syndicate water, it had drifted into a state of limbo and was not really being managed by anyone. The golf course would half-heartedly charge you five or six quid to fish, but hardly anyone did. And yet there were still some good carp in there. Nothing big enough to attract the specialists, but some lovely old fish up to around 25 pounds or so.

Over one year I fished it regularly. By positioning a Nash Whiskey pop-up with a pva bag of pellets on a bolt rig (pretty cutting edge at the time!) tight to one of the overhanging trees at the shallow end of the lake, a chance or two over the course of an evening session was possible. And it was great fun. Waiting for that explosive take, sending the buzzer into meltdown and having to sit over the rods to ensure they weren’t dragged in. I only ever had commons from the place, to just shy of 20 pounds and boy did those fish fight.

A long, lean golf course lake common carp from around 15 years ago.
A long, lean golf course lake common carp from around 15 years ago.
This one went 18lbs 15ozs - my second best from the golf course
This one went 18lbs 15ozs – my second best from the golf course
My brother having a cast on the golf course one Christmas eve many years ago. We actually got a tench that day!
My brother having a cast on the golf course one Christmas eve many years ago. We actually got a tench that day!

But since then I’ve not really fished for carp specifically. The odd trip to Lake John after perch would usually involve a carp rod fished ‘sleeper’ style. And they inevitably make an appearance during the winter, while after perch on commercials.

I had a go on a proper, muddy puddle after them in the spring and it was as a depressing fishing experience as I’ve had in a while. After one hour and three carp I packed up and went home.

And yet just a few days earlier I landed a gorgeous, dark 13 pound common from the gin clear quarry I’ve been fishing for tench – it was a memorable fish and one I was really pleased with.

A perfect common carp of 13lbs 8ozs from the tench lake
A perfect common carp of 13lbs 8ozs from the tench lake

But a carp’s a carp, right? Wrong. My aim, now, is to get a proper, wild, feral carp from a local canal. I guess it’ll be a campaign of sorts, something a bit more serious perhaps…

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Author: tescovalue79

Age: 37. Work: Marketing & communications. Like: fishing, art, ITFC, good music, bad pubs.

9 thoughts on “Targets, campaigns, strategies and aims”

  1. Ben,

    Your brother must be “rock ‘ard” fishing with no coat on Christmas Eve.;-0. I totally agree, single species myopia and fishing one way is a chore. I done it for a number of years, glad I do not now.

    1. Ha, it was mild as I remember – we had a tench out that day. Yeah, I just fancy something different, you know. Loved your bit on the old Vorest O Dean mate… it’s a special place!

  2. A feral carp from a canal, eh? I had one of those once (on purpose!) and it was the most terrifying fight I think I ever had with any fish, ever. Do you know what, the experience was so fabulous I never wanted another, Ben. One was just enough.

    1. Jeff, I remember your mini-series about it. It was a great tale culminating in that lovely canal common. I recall a great photo of your rig after the battle! That’s just the type of adventure I’m hoping for and I think I feel the same way – Just the one will do…

      1. The vast majority have no idea what being hooked is, Ben. So they go bonkers when they are! Danny did warn me that I’d lose two or three before banking one and to tell the truth I was lucky to bank my first. Yeah that rig was one unholy mess, wasn’t it? Never seen anything like in all my days.

  3. Exactly what is meant by “feral”? Escaped carp from elsewhere, left to roam about, squatters in their new home? Not true wild carp though I guess. Why should they appear to fight so much harder than “domesticated” strains seem to do? Are they really different?

  4. JayZS, I believe they are carp on their way back to their roots. Three or four wild breedings and the bred in domesticated traits fall away leaving a lean, mean fighting machine. Not quite wild, but almost. Long in the body. Muscle without flab. I have a lake that holds them too. I hooked one there that left the water! Fabulous fish. Real carp.

  5. I think Jeff, that is what they call, or used to call “reversion to type”. In theory they should also get smaller too, I would guess. Probably take a long time, needing several generations. The nearer that carp get to wildie status the better. I have NEVER liked the fat carp, the mirrors and leather carp at all. Commons, king commons were tolerable, at least they looked like proper fish, but I would have preferred true wildies. Not all all keen on Koi, golden tench, goldfish, orfe/ide of any kind etc. etc. either. Only ever seen one true wild carp, an estate lake fish that a friend hooked many years ago. What a Starship Enterprise that was. Warp 7 at least. I am surprised that there is not a great calling amongst anglers for stocking of wild carp.

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