Iíve done time on pasty bashing waters, lakes with an abundance of doubles, twenties waters, and the occasional Ďcircuití water. Apart from Linford Lakes that I fished for most of last year, the rest have all offered no chance of a thirty. The year before last was spent on a small syndicate lake in a neighbouring village. That particular water was a magical place with more twenty pound carp than you could shake a rod at, I attempted to re-join this year, but alas the place has been sold, and is now only fished by a small but very fortunate few until the new owner takes over. If it hadnít been for this lake being sold I would not now be having a fishless (carpless) season.

A group of friends and I had always intended to put some time in on the harder water, but needed a Ďback upí type water to instil confidence in methods bait etc. Unfortunately the fishing was so good we spent the whole year fishing the easier of the two waters! After all, what is fishing all about? For me personally, up until that season it was about catching fish, make hay while the sun shines, and it certainly did that year!

This year as mentioned earlier, Iíve spent nearly all my angling time on the headbanger lake. I have fished a quarter of all the nights available since April, one and a half months out of four, three nights per week, religiously. All Iíve got to show for this dedication and obsession is a few bream (large bream though) and a nice tenchOh and one carp, a ten pound mirror. If you are like me, there will probably come a time like this, when things start getting you down. This is the time to take stock, think about what youíre doing and why.

Iím no headbanger, although Iíve been trying, donít get me wrong, Iíve no intention of giving up yet, but there comes a time when a change is called for. It may be a change of water for a day, to get that confidence back, it may mean fishing another venue for a bit longer, just time enough to get a bend, hear some buzzers, even just see some fish and restore faith in your bait.

Iím familiar with allot of stillwaters in East Anglia, certainly around the Cambridge area and the fens. This gives me the flexibility to fish the occasional night on different waters as a one off. On this particular occasion I chose Earith coarse and carp lakes. This is a venue on the edge of the Camridgeshire Fens, which has been taken over recently by one of the most gentlemanly fishery owners it has been my pleasure to meet, Mr Ian Jones. This complex has been largely ignored in recent years apart from a couple of popular syndicate waters on the same site. Ian Jones is now making a go of it. The two syndicate waters are pretty well stocked lakes, one is a runs water with fish mostly ranging from eight to twelve pounds, with an abundance of bream, tench roach and rudd, the other is well stocked with carp in the fifteen to twenty five plus group. Other lakes on the site have recently produced carp to thirty-five pound plus with more surprises around the corner, Iím sure. It was here, on the easiest water on the complex that offered me the best bet of the odd Ďpullíor two.

It was a spur of the moment decision to call Ian, I was intending to do a night on my usual venue, but Iíd bumped into one of the syndicate members whoíd informed me that heíd been on fish for two days and all he had to show for his efforts was four bream. This encounter reminded me how unforgiving the lake was so I changed my plans for that night.

I opted to fish the easier of the two syndicate lakes at Earith, I wasnít taking any chances, If I was going to get a pull then I was definitely going to get a pull. I chose a swim on the far end of the lake. The reasons were twofold. It was away from the regular members and you could park your car behind the swims, as I had to get away early, this was ideal.

To cut a long story short, I had ten runs during the night; one tench, one bream, five carp, three hook pulls, hurrah, the bait does work! To be honest Iíd forgotten what getting a run was like, for four months now Iíve been getting into bed at ten-thirty, going to sleep, getting up at six thirty, and going to work. There has been no action! To be honest unless youíre catching smaller fish whilst waiting for the denizens, taking some time out can be really beneficial to restore confidence. Itís surprising how much you forget if youíve been stagnating, the first couple of runs at Earith resulted in absolute carnage in the bivvy and lines getting tangled - this is the sort of situation you do not want to find yourself in whilst attached to the fish of a lifetime.

During this time out, I had a meeting to attend at Great Linford Lakes, so instead of driving all the way there for a couple of hours, then driving straight back, I decided to do a two day session on Linford One. A friend of mine, Nellie, was keen to come along also as he was on a months holiday. The session was very uneventful, I had no action, and Nellie lost a fish and that was it, during the two days he reminded me of a small water near his home town that contained a few carp which were seldom fished for. Gaining permission to fish wouldnít be any bother, as heíd been doing some odd jobs around the place for the owner.

The lake is a small one hundred and fifty-year-old brick pit of about an acre and a half, nestling nicely down a hole in the Cambridgeshire Fens. One side is bordered by houses and gardens, which run down to the water. It is split in two by a reed bed, one half is thirty feet deep, whilst the other, smaller side has an average depth of six to seven. We decide to do a night, mid-week. We arrived at about five in the afternoon, and by eight Iíd landed a nineteen and a twenty-one! What a result, they were absolutely stunning fish as well, seldom fished for, un-stressed carp. The odd thing was, no action came at night, and you could set your watch by the timing of the runs in the evening. Iíve now fished the water a further eight times, but only for short morning or afternoon stints as the lake doesnít really lend itself to session fishing, the carp soon get wise to your presence. A couple of mates of mine were taking the mickey about me fishing the Ďgarden pondí as they called it, only cause they couldnít!! Itís easy to think that a water like this could be easy because of its size, but that also works against youThe fish soon get wise because you're always fishing in fairly close contact with them. Catch a couple and itíll go dead, thereís no point hanging around as they spook easily, this is why we ended up doing short sessions, and memorable sessions they were, just what the doctor ordered!

It is now the middle of October, and Iím back on the big pit, October, the time of year when they start feeding up for the winter? Is that right? I donít think the carp here have read the rule book!!

Iím giving it until Christmas then probably having a couple of months off, maybe do a bit of piking, then Iíll get back into it from March/April 2001, but Iíll always have these respite waters at hand for the job of restoring faith.

After all fishing should sometimes be about catching fishshouldnít it?