The weather was still a bit up and down, one minute mild and rainy, the next clear and frosty. This afternoon was a wet and windy one so darkness was early, almost before 4pm. I had no time to wade round to see if any other carp were showing signs of distress as I had found the week before. The EA had informed us that after the sewage pollution, although the carp showed so ill signs, it could be a month before any showed up ill or dead. It had been a month and sure enough things did not look good for some of the residents. Apparently the sewage could have made them ill and then cold rain water would have lowered their resistance even more - fingers crossed, I got on with getting the baits out.

By wading out a few feet onto the back of the swim where the water was a couple of feet deep and crouching down, I could get an overhead cast, so I could clear the overhanging trees. First of all I just cast out with no bait, trying to find the clear areas out amongst the weed. A few casts later with each rod I had found the spots that had produced so well for me the winter before. Next, it was on with the PVA bags full of trout pellets and crushed boilies. I had changed to trout pellets with only 18% oil in them as opposed to my usual 26% oil that I had used last winter and during the summer. The boilies were the usual Premier Aminos, fishmeal ones, but again with no oil. On one rod I was so confident of the bottom being clear I used a bottom bait, the other I used a pop-up bait.

All set with rods pointing skywards on the front rod rests only so the line cleared the wood and scaffold poles at the front of the flooded swim, as well as a small bush that was sticking out of the water, I fired out half a dozen catapult pouches of trout pellets around the whole area. With all this done the rain that was falling became far more persistent, so with the oval shelter up, I climbed under it and gazed out across the rippled surface of the lake looking for signs of life.

Around 9pm the rain stopped and the sky cleared completely, the stars shining bright. The strong southwesterly wind was still blowing hard and the trees above were still dropping droplets of water onto the shelter. A little while later a friend came down to put in some bait. Seeing where I was fishing he decided against it, a noble gesture, and we had a chat. He planned to start putting some hours into the lake as he had a couple of fish last winter without much effort and knew all about my results. He had targeted a different part of the lake than where I was concentrating on so between us we could have 50% of the lake covered. An hour later he left and I was alone once more.

The wind continued to blow so any sign of carp was hard to see but somewhere out in the blackness, a couple of times something moved, whether it was fish or bird it was hard to tell. Around 2am the wind really got its act together. The trees above me groaned and hissed as the wind rushed through their leafless branches. I was just glad I was not fishing opposite, where the wind was really pushing into. I smiled to myself when I realised this was the area my friend was setting his campaign out on, I wondered how often over the winter he may be blown off the lake.

The wind eventually abated but the sky stayed clear so it was a pleasant mild night. Just as the world was waking up and I was thinking of making tracks the pop-up rod tore off. No single bleep warning just a loud one tone run. Blankets flew everywhere and I ran across the path and hit the rod hard. The carp, as it surely was, had gone right across the lake and under heavy pressure it rolled near the far flooded bank. I held it there for a while about 60 yards away before I eventually gained some line. The weed, although still out there, was very weak now and despite me feeling the carp go through a couple of patches of it I had no problem.

The carp now was only 20 yards out. Taking the net with me I gingerly stepped further out into the lake, carefully feeling the ground under my waders, ensuring I did not venture too far and step into the lake proper. The carp obliged and stayed on top so the netting process was made simple.
I hauled the net up the flooded bank and left the carp in a foot of water. The mat was made ready and the sling and scales wetted and zeroed appropriately before I gazed at my capture. The carp was a long common looking quite thick but not gutty. My thought was near to 20lb but not quite, the scales read 17lb 12oz. In the torch light I could see it was a fish I recognised and, bizarrely, the last time I caught it was almost exactly a year previous from roughly the same spot, perhaps it just wanted to say hi? I examined it well and found no sign of any ill health, in fact it looked lovely in its winter dark browns and golds.

I waded out with the carp in the sling and slowly it swam away. There was a distinct red glow in the east telling me it was time to go. Not to worry, I would be back in only a few hours.

Have fun!