This last July something happened to me that although was not significantly life altering has made a change to my angling for the next year, but I will come back to that a little later.
First I must tell you about a discovery on a stretch of river where a group of carp (about twenty or more) live below a weir exploiting the rich oxygen. In this fast moving area of water lie a concrete platform of around 20×20 feet where I have managed to create a dinner table for these resident carp, the size of which are heart stopping, the smaller fish are probably high teens while some easily reach into their twenties possible more. The access to this place can only be achieved when the water level drops below the overflow, this is when you can climb down a high wall and jump onto the base of the overflow structure, this is the style of carp fishing I like, solving problems and accessing carp that only the adventurous will attempt. When the water level is low the oxygen is also low and this drives the carp high up against the weir where they spend the days searching for food and breathing the oxygen rich water, this is a place that I am planning to cast a line.
During the closed season I had been observing these carp, many of which were clearly very big commons, possibly weighing thrirty pounds or more. Throughout the last few months I have been building their confidence, to be honest they were pretty keen from the start, getting their heads down on sweetcorn, maggots or bread. In preparation for the season I had a small Hardy trout bag packed and ready to go on any opportune moment with a bait box, bits of tackle, a tin of sweetcorn, and a folding net suitable for my new found task of bouldering down this wall and jumping onto the concrete overflow with my trusty old carp rod and reel in hand. Soon the sixteenth came and went, but I was just too busy to get down there.
Then in early July a pleasant distraction came in the form of an invite to fish the Blackwater in Co Cork for salmon. Salmon are the polar opposite from carp, they hit a bait in anger, and if hooked run off with haste in their ever transient cycle of life. If the salmon is reactionary then the carp is the cautious cousin, a ponderer, a creature to sum up all the possibilities before they act, exploring the same familiar territory for food, then once found carefully nose the bait sometimes leaving it for days before returning and finally taking the plunge and taking the bait.
Since the beginning of my angling life back in 1980, water has been a place of mystery, wonder, a place where I felt comfortable either with or without a rod. I could not pass any water without sparing a few minutes and consider its possibilities, whether it was a tiny brook or the sea. Now, and for the next few months I have to consider water to be a place of potential danger and take caution as I suffered an epileptic seizure. Thankfully this happened while in the relative safety of a hotel room in Co Cork and with a friend who managed to look over me, this was not a pleasant experience and I came out of it battered, bruised and with a shoulder that even a month on is in dire need of surgery. It could have been worse but I will have to be patient, my angling is now restricted to doing it with friends and using public transport as my driving license has been suspended, the carp of the weir will have to wait until next season.
Lovely image building words and such a sad twist as life throws one of its deep blows. Hope things mend quicker than you could hope. Success will be so much sweeter when one of those weir pool carp grace your net.
Moley Ruggles said:
Dear Nick, so sorry to hear about your illness and the loss of you driving licence…..I’ve been there! Amazing how the loss of driving can debilitate the fisherman so much, especially as public transport is next to useless. Hopefully friends will make up the shortfall.
Barry Kneller said:
Sorry to hear of your illness, I hope you get back (as close as you can..) to active status very quickly.
Best of luck with those carp, and so sorry you may have to wait for them. Oxygen levels are an interesting subject. The bubbling effect of a weir does increase the amount of surface area available for the diffusion of the oxygen into the water, but the difference of Dissolved Oxygen (D.O.) measured above and below the weir is invariably quite small, as the time involved is not great: the bubbles do not last long.. Below the weir, the water does not suddenly lose (or gain) a significant proportion of its dissolved oxygen either, and the downstream stretch will therefore not read a very different D.O. than a spot immediately below the weir. What can be significant though, and far more important, is water speed, specifically how fast it moves past the gills of a fish. A fish can more easily take in oxygen if it has the current to help it. This comes at a price for many fish though, in that they may have to work to maintain their position in a higher flow, and thus they will have a greater demand for oxygen. Catch 22. Bottom hugging fish like barbel and bullhead however, gain significant advantage, in that they can usually remain in such a position with very little work, their fins effectively pressuring them to the river bed.
Enjoying your blogging.
The tuesday swim said:
Interesting what you have to say, the area around the weir is certainly the only stretch where there is considerable water movement, above the weir is almost still, and the river downstream does slackens off considerably. Barbel have also been found along this weir area although few and far between, glad you are still reading TTS.
Dave Rome said:
Get well soon and enjoy your fishing, you will soon be in a fishing spot after the river Carp, another good article.
Tight lines Dave
The tuesday swim said:
Thanks for your kind words, gents.
Hi Nick, I read with interest as I do with all of your writing about the Carp in oxygenated water as I have found a spot near Sunbury where good sized Thames Carp hold up, the larger ones close in by the rush of bubbles in the turbulent water. Having further read of your recent change of health I wish you well as I know you have recently been appointed to work on Fallon’s Angler so imagine the restriction from driving will have some impact, if I can help at anytime transport you and your two bags, rod holder and tripod to a suitable location in order to photograph and fish I would gladly assist. I wish you well. kind regards Gary (talesbytheriverbank).
The tuesday swim said:
Hi Gary, Most kind and thank you for the offer, as it stands I’m ontop of Fallon’s Angler at present, it does put a spanner in the works but due to my generally lightweight approach to angling (not so much the photography, a long lens weighs 1.1 kilos) I can get about via bus and train, but as the winter sets in frustration could also be my nemesis and your kind offer could well be taken up, although we do live on apposite sides of London? all the best Nick. PS Will probably see you in Arcadia one day?