Tuesday, 6 April 2021

60 Second Blog Roll - Storm Dennis

15th February 2020.     With a couple of hours free in the evening and the rivers too high to fish on the back of Storm Dennis, I headed to Astwood Fishery in pursuit of it's resident ghost carp. There are also a number of french-strain mirror carp in the fishery with deep shoulders that give them an almost dinner-plate body shape. It's the ghosties though that for me, set this fishery apart from other commercials in Worcestershire.

I'd never fished it in the winter, and was fully expecting to blank. Nonetheless the freezer was overflowing with ageing particles which needed getting through and a little me-time sounded like a reasonable end to the afternoon.

Without a huge amount of time I kept things simple - Harrison torrix 11ft rod and a 'pin attached to a delicate float and 6lb hooklength. The bait would be mixed particles boosted with Severn Valley Barbel Products Tardip in Ambush flavour. I originally planned to fish a number of marginal swims in rotation. However, with the weather at the fishery a little worse than it was at home I settled for hunkering down beneath my waterproof in just a single spot. 

I spent a little time looking for the deepest marginal swim I could find on the back-end of the wind, settling on one with an overhanging bush and 2ft of depth tight to the bank. The idea was to pick up the odd carp which may have been moving in and out of the bay on routine evening cruises hunting for discarded bait. 

The first hour passed uneventfully. But as dusk started to arrive the float gave the tiniest lift from it's wind-tilted position before settling again. It was just enough to catch my attention and moments later the float sailed away. Striking into the fish I instantly felt the connection with the slow heavy plod of a winter carp. With the water temperature in low single figures, there was none of the usual crazed tearing about usually associated with margin-hooked carp. Rather, the fish stayed deep and steady resisting any attempt on my part to intervene. 

Moody Skies
The first glimpse of the fish confirmed it was my target quarry, a deep-bodied ghost carp. My existing pb was a touch over 13lb, and the fish looked there or thereabouts. With just that one glimpse the fish pulled back hard and dived back to the depths. A few more nervous minutes passed before the fish re-surfaced and rolled over and into the waiting net.  

The fish was thick-set and had a pronounced belly, tipping the scales at 14 lb 6 oz. One bite, one fish, and a personal best. Not the first time I've written about venturing out into poor weather conditions and breaking a pb! Looking out of the window at the unseasonable snow as I write this... does make me wonder whether I should have picked up a rod rather than my laptop this evening! 

14lb 6 oz - and a personal best

Cream-set grey scales give these fish their 'ghostly' appearance beneath the surface. 

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