Monday, April 23, 2012

carp fishing

Since I've forgotten how to catch fish on lures or flies, I wondered if I could still remember how to catch carp on bait. 

Dug out the old centerpin reels and spooled on some new 6lb line, over the ratty decades-old monofilament that was quietly aging on them. Scraped out old fossilized grease and applied new lithium bike grease, guaranteed not to harden: there's another job I won't have to do again in this life. Mixed up a batch of bread and sweetcorn for baiting, and proceeded to get the skunk again.. oh well. I remembered quite clearly what to do, but forgot all the blank days enjoyed while doing those same things. 'Blank' here of course is in the sense of palimpsest, rather than merely empty. 

This is an old gravel pit now pond, deep and clear. There are no shallows to speak of, everywhere drops off quickly into ten feet or more of water. Had there been shallows, the pond would by now be plagued with dude-brahs exercising the new fashion of flyfishing for carp, but that can't be done blind without seeing the fish; well, it can be done, if you don't mind a catch rate that registers only in glacial time; even global warming won't speed it up enough to matter. Arthur Ransome in 'Rod and Line' describes some carp flies he found illustrated in 18th century fishing pamphlets, unfortunately not in enough detail for tying. 

Black-striped suckers with sex on their tiny squamous little brains roamed just offshore, circling and writhing in promiscuous shoals. There was a little excitement when I hooked one of the smaller carp, fifteen pounds or so. The cast was about 60yds, his first run went from there clear across the pond and stopped only when the fish ran out of water. For a moment I wondered if he was going to clamber out, over the bike path, and take off into the next pond. There was only a few yards of the 150 yards of new 6lb line left on the spool. After twenty minutes or so it was about ten yards off, got a good look in the clear water, then the hook pulled out. That hardly ever happens with a carp.

The rodrest in the pic was manufactured in 10 min with an old tent peg and a bamboo garden stake, not quite state of the art. The bamboo is old and dry, beginning to split in several places; so I can honestly lay claim to owning a split-cane rod rest.

The park ranger yelled at me for jumping over the barbed wire fence early in the morning. Luckily he was unwilling to chase for some reason so I simply faded into the astronomical twilight, carp rods at the ready.