Fox-backed Mike Jarvis returns with the second instalment of his web blog series and he has some stunning carp to share with you all!
At the beginning of April temperatures went well into the 20s and everything appearing to be waking up and turning green. I, like most other carp anglers no doubt believed Spring was finally here, however as I write this a few weeks later it has turned Baltic again! I woke up by the lake this morning with a hard frost on the ground and -1 temperatures!
April saw the end of the show season for me with most weekends taken up by the Northern Angling Show, tackle shop open days and an open day at Taverham Mill fishery with the CC Moore guys, not to mention private work in my job as a landscape gardener. It therefore meant my fishing was limited to quick nights between days at work.
To be fair in early April despite the warm weather there hadn’t been lots happening at Bundys, just a few Zig captures, which are the norm for that time of year. With the warm weather we were having I opted to do my overnighters in an area of the lake where there was a good area of flat and a 'shallow' depth of 12 to 16 feet (remember this lake is 55ft+) in the hope I could snare one of the lakes jewels early on – but this plan didn’t work! I did 5 nights over a 3 week period and it was obvious the carp were still staying out in the middle and didn't yet fancy mooching in close for a feed. After working at the Sheltons of Peterborough open day on Good Friday I headed down to Bundys for a night on the bank with the other half whilst our daughter Francesca was at her nans. We enjoyed some wine, a couple of beers and a BBQ. Sadly no fish were forthcoming, just the standard shows out in the middle over the abyss – I knew it was time for a change of plan!
And so on Bank Holiday Monday I decided to get back down for a day of suspending small, bright pop ups 40-50ft of the deck on Zig Rigs in the hope of snaring a carp or two. A good hour of looking for where the bulk of the fish were pointed me to an area I had done well using Zigs a few seasons ago so that's where I pitched up. It was over and on the north-westerly end of the lake and this was sheltered from the bitterly northerly winds by tall trees and looked mega with the sun beating down. I opted to fish my usual spot with one rod on the bottom and the other two went out on adjustable Zigs in the area I had seen shows. The setting up process took a lot longer than it usually does as I was nursing a hangover from the Sunday before but I finally got there in the end! Once setup and fishing I set about getting the kettle on and having an afternoon tidying my tackle box up and tying some fresh rigs as I knew it wouldn't be long until they started getting on the bait. A couple of hours went by and I hadn't long re-chucked the Zigs to some showing fish when one of them was away. Getting a bite On a Zig in these depths is usually just a single beep, line comes out of the clip and the rod tip just gives a few gentle taps but can also be a churner if the carp thinks otherwise.
Before this bite I was on a pretty long blank period so as you can imagine I was shaking like a leaf being connected to my first Bundys carp of 2017. The fight wasn't too savage to be honest, the carp stayed deep all the way in with a few head shakes trying to get rid of the size 8 Edges Zig & Floater hook (not a chance, these hooks are mega sharp and super strong). It wasn't long and what looked to be a right chunk was on its side, beaten and ready for the net. At first glance I knew she was a special one with the sheer size and shape of her I had a good idea which one it was until I turned her over in the net to notice a tiny, perfectly formed hole in its dorsal! Now if you have read my first blog you'd know that I have my heart set on catching a common in Bundys that goes by the name of 'Hole In The Dorsal' which has done 47lb+ in the past. So seeing that distinctive mark had me questioning what I had actually caught because this fish looked nothing like a 45+ tank but after a good chunk of time blanking my mind was playing tricks on me! Finally back down from dream world it sunk in that it wasn't that fish but was actually one of the rarer creatures to swim in the lake, a fish known as ‘Wart'. One capture a year for the last 3-4 she certainly was a special one to me. At 37lb 4oz, it was its biggest weight and my biggest Zig-caught carp to date! My good mates Lee and Dan were on hand to help with the weighing and photos and it’s always great to share moments like that with such good pals.
Above: Blown away by this 37lb 4oz stunner on a Zig Rig.
It wasn't until the week after that I could get back down as I had to attend the Taverham Mill event that weekend. On the Friday morning my WhatsApp went mad with my mate Ian having banked one of the really rare ones called the beast at over 42lb - well done that man!
Above: BBQ in full flow at the CC Moore open weekend at Taverham Mill.
I was planning on doing Wednesday night the following week and hoping to get into the swim I had the 37 from the week previously but with a change of tactics. That change being to fish all rods on the deck. I don't think I could bring myself to have all three out overnight on Zigs, I know it works for some people but with limited time I feel more confident with a bit of bait around my hookbait. I started with two rods on an area fishing Hinged Stiff Rigs that I had tweaked to my usual setup. This involved shortening the hooklink section to only half an inch between the eye of the hook and the swivel and then upping the size of hook to a size 4. The third rod was put down the left hand side in front of an inlet pipe and was an area that had done me proud in previous sessions.
The evening was forecast -1 and clear skies yet with three carp shows near the areas I was fishing I really didn't know which way the session was going to go. Then just as I was sorting out the brew kit the right hand bobbin hit the deck. With not expecting a bite so early I had a quick glance over to the spot and it was obvious there were a few ducks diving, enjoying a free meal so my first thought was they had picked me up and dropped my lead off the shelf then I saw the line twitch. Casually, expecting to be winding a lead back, I didn't connect with anything for a good 30 yards and then the rod hooped over! Lucky or what? A short spirited fight ensued and a 26lb common was soon resting in the net. Result! The rod was cast back out to the spot and I got settled in for the night.
Above: An unexpected quick bite.
During the night the fish really switched on. They are well known at Bundys for putting on some incredible displays during the night time hours and this didn't disappoint. They were so close, some even boshing two rod lengths out and I could see them launching themselves out. Liners all through the night meant a broken night sleep but I was buzzing knowing it was a matter of time. Low and behold, the left rod was away just on dawn and in waddled a belting common. It was as black as you like and turned the scales round to 30lb 8oz. I was absolutely buzzing and went off to work that morning grinning from ear to ear.
Above: First light and a chunk in the net!
Above: I went to work grinning from ear to ear!
That brings me up to date with what I've been up to and can't wait for later in May as I have a fishing trip to Holland booked with my mate Dan as we go in pursuit of a 70lb chunk! Hopefully my next blog will tell you all about how I caught her!