It didn't matter where he was now. It's where he was going to be.
For Sam, the excitement of a fishing trip had been building all week. This wasn't going be a long weekend of fishing. With so many commitments, a weekend of fishing isn't something time will allow for. This was a chance to escape for a few hours on a Friday evening after work. A short session, but a welcome opportunity to fish into sunset.
|Fishing is a chance to appreciate nature at its finest|
"I usually let the weather dictate how and what I'm going to fish for" Sam explains, "and this was certainly a day when carp are likely to be making their way to the surface layers of the water".
Sam had prepared the night before and packed a couple of setups for different scenarios in his car. "I like to be prepared for all situations, just in case!" It was very likely that the warm sun and stillness of the wind would encourage the carp to venture to the surface.
Driving to any fishing destination is exciting, and even more so when everything seems to be going your way. "There wasn't even any traffic to slow me down" Sam recalls. "It's as if the fishing gods were clearing me a pathway to the lake without any delays!"
After a hard week at work, there isn't anything better than arriving at your beloved carp lake to find an empty car park! "It was too good to be true, and I hadn't even started fishing yet".
Sam quickly got dressed into something more fitting for an angler, set up a simple surface fishing rig on his favourite "stalking" carp rod and made his way to the lake; armed with trusty dog biscuits and some pop up boilies.
|Take your time to explore before making your first cast|
It was now time to explore some likely swims. There was a gentle breeze that made the newly revived reeds gently sway. It's as if the plants were dancing to nature's own rhythm. The trees were also alive with the natter of birds, probably getting ready to roost.
"For me, this is what completes the fishing experience" explains Sam. "Being out surrounded by nature and its mystery. Nature is constantly talking to us, we just need to tune in to our surroundings and learn to listen."
It wasn't long before there was a sign from the carp. Sam crept to a narrow point which stuck out in the middle. This gave him access to cast in almost any direction of the lake. He quickly noted the wind direction and noticed where nature's own banquet was being blown for the fish to eat. There was movement on the surface and that all familiar site of carp shadows gliding like ghosts in the surface layer.
|Fishing is an emotional roller coaster|
"I began to throw in some loose offerings into the area, not directly at the fish but just past them. I tend to fire upwards with a steep angle, to make sure the dog biscuits land with maximum impact and a lout 'plop' in the water. To me, this mimics the noise of natural food that falls from trees, bird droppings, and for any carp reared in a commercial fishery, the sound of dinner bells."
After some time, Sam still hadn't cast a line. "I like to build up their confidence" he explains. "Give them a false sense of security and just enough free bait to keep them competitive. This tactic seems to work for me, specially when time is short".
Sam decided to make his first cast. Three or four fish were confidently taking food with that all familiar slurp. Some were even racing each other in battles to see who could take the bait. This is the time when everything around you seems to disappear. It's just you and the fish. A battle of wit and patience. You have to make it happen. Somehow.
|Fishing into darkness certainly awakens the senses|
Surface fishing is about as exciting as carp fishing gets, and is by far Sam's favourite way to fish for the species. After several missed takes and a tangle round a bush, it was beginning to feel like an emotional roller-coaster ride. Maximum excitement brought on by the anticipation followed by maximum frustration.
Time was running out, as was the visibility. "This is the time when doubt starts to creep in, and you start to question your ability, and when its that bad, you even question why you are here!"
Sam let frustration get the better of him, and misjudged cast. Badly tangled in a nearby tree, he had to set up all over again. He decided to keep things even simpler than they already were. "My only option with such limited time and visibility was to freeline the bait."
He hooked on the biscuit and with a gentle underarm cast, it was back out amongst a handful of free offerings, barely visible in the gloomy distance. It's as if the water was playing tricks in the way the fading light was shining off the surface and creating illusions of monster carp. He now had to rely on sound as well as the limited vision to make sense of what was happening.
The fish were still in the area, and some were still feeding. Out of the silent stillness, came an all familiar loud slurp that broke the silence. This was quickly followed by an almighty crash on the lake's surface.
|Finally, a fish in the net|
Sam's reaction was to strike, and it was more of a reflex reaction than a tactical one. It was also more luck than judgement when he felt something pull back on the line. "Finally!" he thought. "Don't lose it now!"
The fish seemed to be just as surprised at being caught as the angler who caught it, and fought hard to resist the net. The sound of the reel drag, the tension on the line and the mighty head shakes all added to the adrenaline filled excitement of catching carp on the surface.
After a worthy fight, the fish came gently into the net having spent it's energy doing all it could to resist.
|Proof that persistence and a bit of luck does pay off|
The mission was accomplished. The excitement had reached its dramatic end, and Sam was once again a happy angler. For now.
"I encourage anyone who hasn't tried surface fishing for carp to do so. Ask a friend who has done it, speak to your local tackle shop for advice. You won't regret it, and you'll certainly be back for more."
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