Geoff is off another worldwide adventure after huge exotic species so Iím afraid there is another break in the Carp Diary. What a place to leave it, with the loss of the biggest carp I have hooked this season. In the two weeks Geoff is away I plan to put that right so stay with me.

What a year it has been in carp fishing circles. A lot of famous fish have died, and a lot of non-famous ones as well. On my own waters we lost several big carp in last winters floods when a sewer overflowed and of course, a lot of fish were lost in fisheries that bordered rivers, when they flooded into the lakes the carp swam out to who knows where.

The wet cold spring meant a lot of carp were under pressure and a couple of big fish died in more famous waters, amongst those were the Leather in RMC's Crayfish Pool. Then of course Mary died and just this week I heard that the famous Raspberry died from Redmire Pool. Obviously Raspberry was the oldest carp in the country getting on for 80 years old but Mary had not even made 30 years old. There has been lots of speculation about why these fish have been dieing and a lot of it was put down to the amount of times they are caught. This is nonsense as hundreds and thousands of carp that will never make any headlines are caught many many times and are fine.

It is in my mind, without doubt, the result of an unfortunate set of weather patterns. Last summer was cool and wet, the autumn, winter and spring were ridiculously wet and cold before finally we got some decent summer weather; well, a little anyway. The carp were confused and their bodies just could not adapt. I fished all through those conditions and did not know from session to session what the temperature was going to be and the water temperature changed all the time. Some fish were bound to suffer. Also of course the weed and invertebrate life suffered as well. Fishing in general has not been good this season. Obviously there has been the odd good fish coming out but most of the harder carp fisheries have fished very poorly. Yately, Horton and Wraysbury have produced very few fish indeed. Other species have been affected as well, very few good tench were caught and despite the bream record going a couple of times it has been hard going for them as well.

September and October of course are traditionally the best time of the year as the fish are meant to be putting on weight for the oncoming winter but I donít think this year, like last, we will notice much difference; the carp are still trying to make sense of the weather and water temperature patterns. All this about "we'd better get used to it as weather patterns are changing" are rubbish to me as well. I have been fishing virtually every week for 25 years and I have evidence of periods of poor fishing because the weather went a bit haywire for a year or two but it always comes back to normal, it is around a 7 year cycle and we are just coming out of 5 poor years weather-wise, so we are due to change back again. Autumn í94 was the last superb autumn; I hope this year is another.

Early signs though seem to suggest it could be a colder one rather than a wet one with traditional misty dawns. I have also noticed that pike fishing has been poor the last couple of years. Pike do not care about the weather, they just depend on prey fish, and of course the weather has been poor for them, so hopefully pike fishing will improve again soon.

Lastly, how will this cooler weather effect catfish? Do they need warmer weather to thrive, it does not seem so as all the catfish waters I know are fishing well with the cats packing on weight big time. RMC seem to really have sussed it with the fish on the Match Lake and the Split at Yately getting near to 50lb, and Boat Pool of course will have several 40s and 50s in there very soon.

Things are looking good again. I think we can look forward to some superb fishing this autumn and spring and hopefully next summer we will get a hot one again, perfect for stalking. Who knows there might even be a recovery in winter carp fishing prospects, but perhaps that is asking too much!

Have fun!