Well try as I might, looking and walking for feeding fish and trying new spots over the next 48 hours in my swim. I was ‘Clover camping’ with the best of them. I did my usual routine in boring times such as these – empty the rucksack, shake spiders and insects out, clear and tidy the tackle box out of unused bits and pieces. After my third night of static bobbins, the usual mind games crept in...Where was this new warmer wind, should be due any time now, surely that would stir things up?
Well I was enjoying a cup of tea and soaking up the morning sun, watching the odd rabbit up the path, and kestrels overheard looking for careless mice and voles. Today was my last day; I was going home this afternoon. It looked like my luck would run out. However mid morning the breeze slowly began to swing round in my favour, before settling in my direction, and increasing in strength. This is looking much better, but then that always happens doesn’t it at the end of a session and you’re about to pack up – sod’s law!
I had another tea, before safely and comfortably climbing back up one of my regular trees looking out into the empty water in front of me, I spotted a shadow several feet down then another carp several minutes later. Within the hour there was about 10 – 15 carp mooching about sub surface and occasionally dropping down onto the marginal shelf feeding on naturals such as snails and zebra mussel no doubt. I wound my rods in, out of the carp’s way to think about my chances of a bite. I waiting for the small group to drift out and carefully threw a couple of handfuls of boilie bits and pellet only onto the freshly feed on spots and waiting for a response. It didn’t take too long for the odd fish to dip down and enjoy the offerings, but they were not going mental, just the odd mouthful – two at the most before moving off. Repeating the cycle ever 20 minutes or so. I decided to try something and put my pop up stiff hinged rigs out on the shelf amongst them, one on the most blatant clear spot I could see, and the other rod was positioned on a nice bed of silkweed, far from ideal spot choice, shallower water and all that. But curiosity got the better of me – I wanted to observe their reactions to them. Rods were put on the floor, clutches set, both lines as slack as I needed them to be to hug the bottom.
Traps set, let the entertainment begin, the odd fish began dipping down a feeding on the freebies, not feeding close to the rigs though, but they all swam over both rods, within inches of the bottom, the fluorocarbon not spooking them at all, that was my main worry, but was lucky as the shelf decline was very smooth and gradual. Well eventually a group of 5 stockies crept in on the bait, all high backed little pearlers about 6-8lb in weight. The fish were picking at the boilie and pellet and the lead fish was moving up the shelf to the blatant spot, well I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof, up the tree expecting a take now within the minute... it fed until about a foot or so from the pop up, levelled itself ever so slightly then slowly veered off into the slightly deeper water. Same thing happened about 10 minutes later on the silkweed rod, again another stockie. By now I swear I could feel the laughing from the carp below working through the ground and up the tree. New kids on the block they may be... but stupid they most certainly are not, their older inhabitants teaching them well!
Change of tactics, I bit the rigs off and replaced them with short braided Cortland micron 20lb white hook link knotless knotted with a 14mm boilie bottom bait this time, with a tiny pva bag of pellets on each and dropped them back on the spots at first chance. The fish continued to drift In and out over the spots, feeding occasionally, but as the sun got a bit higher it seemed to cool off the feeding in front of me. Now I only had lone fish visiting, higher in the water as well rather than small groups of fish skimming the bottom a couple of hours earlier.
Around this time Bailiff Steve Francis turned up for a walk about, I told him about what had been going on in front of me, and off he went for a walk. A little while later Steve returned pointing out a small group of fish were really having it, and I should have a go there instead. I wound both rods in, and I took a single rod and my net, mat and a few bits and made my way round there. I got into position looking and started observing, these were slightly bigger fish with a few twenties amongst them. Every so often a big puff of silt would come out of their mouths and they were feeding harder and more confident here, than where I was minutes earlier. Moving along in two’s and three’s feeding without a care in the world. One rod, one chance – don’t blow it by a sloppy underarm sling. I saw my chance and quietly lowered my rod into position in about 4-5 feet of water. A Single 14mm bait out there, no freebies at all. Slacked off, rod on the floor clutch set. We both carried on watching the group, some nice fish present commons and mirrors all mid doubles upwards, no stockies at all in this group. The body language was so much different to what I had spent watching over the last few hours. This was proper feeding, every so often bubbles hitting the surface as well, but no rolling on the surface to clean their gills. After about 20 minutes one fish broke away from feeding under our feet and moved further out towards my single. It dropped down and started feeding again, kicking up the silt as it went, tilted at 45 degrees and moving away from us I’d thought I’d missed my chance, we both thought it was right on it. Suddenly the cardinal 57 clutch begin to click and ripped off, rod tip bending to the right amongst the grass. After a short and spirited scrap Steve netted it for me.
A pleasing 15lb 10oz common, I thanked Steve for his help, as I wouldn’t have caught it without him calling me over. It was a lovely end to my session saving a possible blank 3 day stint at last knockings. But again I had learned a hell of a lot, from this lovely little water that is Clover.