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.