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Gravity
by Naas Le Roux
10 August 2010
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As they say everything that goes up will come down. So after the flying start at the new venue I was very confident in alot of ways. However as I explained from the beginning a puzzle doesn’t have one piece....and this is what I’m trying to do here, to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. So about a month passed since our last visit but there were a kilo or two of our boilies going into the river on a weekly basis. We took some time to feed some extra in the week preceding our session. So about 5 kilos boilies and 10 kilos pellets were fed up to the Wednesday before our session. We got to the river earlier than usual on the Friday afternoon and this gave us some time to put up camp in our own time and to watch the water for a bit to see if we could see some feeding action or other carp signals. The water was DEAD. There were no wind and also absolutely no sign of a carp. On our arrival there were a suprise left on the bank we were fishing. It was something that were bugging me and at the end of our session this almost made me desert this promising place. Right where I pitched up my banksticks there were a pile of empty shotgun cartridges. So could this explain the complete silence we were experiencing since our arrival. If they were shot at clay pigeons it might have an effect but we should still get some action but if they were fired into the river for no apparent reason then we could pack up and leave for home. We sat through the first night without a sound of any nature. Not even a little bleep. The next morning all our fears were confirmed by the neighbour that was instructed to keep a eye on the place since the proprietor was on holiday. He spread about 40 shotgun rounds into the river for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
Now what do you do? Pack up and leave.....This would have been the logical option but we decided that we had a good bait and that if we only got one fish in these circumstances we would take it. So we sat out the Saturday without anything until Sunday morning when a character of a male river carp slipped up and couldn’t resist the untouched F1’s. Like all male carp they definitely give one a fight for your money and this was no exception. A scrap and a half later he was in the net and man what a character. He was still very feisty after a long scrap but we got the photos and he got the name....FATBOY... Although he is only barely a 10 pounder I’m sure you will all agree he is definitely a prize.

This was all that we had time for and we didn’t hang around too long after sunrise. Now at this stage if anything like this would happen again I would never go back there again because you spent all the time effort and money to prepare as well as you can and then some foolish bloke comes along and ruins all your hard work for no apparent reason. But such is life we can’t all own nice carp fishing venues. The problem was very diplomatically resolved and we were assured that it would not happen again...ever.
Although the most apparent answer to our lack of success on this session was the shotgun handler, I couldn’t help but to momentarily wonder if our first session wasn’t just a fluke (or perhaps this fluke idea was an opportunity to have another go as soon as the gunpowder settles). A lot of thoughts did go through my head in the next week like what more could we do and was the fish now so afraid that when something hits the water they would stay out of the area. These are all a normal part of the human’s cognitive abilities and my answer was that we need to put in feed in smaller amounts but on a more frequent basis. At least once a day and it must be at time intervals when fish are most likely to be in the swim. From what we knew up till now they liked early mornings and late afternoons /evenings. The idea is to get the carp use to the noise of bait hitting the water and although it might spook them off at first we were not trying to catch them but to get them back into our area. If the theory is correct then they should return after a while and start feeding cautiously at first and then more aggressive as soon as they realise that the noise brings food without any danger. This was our strategy for the next few weeks and after giving very clear and simple instructions to the “Madala” that works in the garden and our occasional visit, our plan was put into action and six weeks later we were back on the banks of the river.
This was going to be a test but we were quite confident that our plan would work and we wouldn’t have too many problems if we just stuck to our gu....RODS. I stuck to my old trusted rig setup with a metre length of osprey green tubing on my braided mainline. This helps a lot to prevent damage to fish especially when fishing with braid since braid has a rough texture and it cuts the fish if there is no tubing. This is then connected to a normal lead clip setup with a quick change swivel to which I just clip in my hooklink. Frans decided to not fish with the tubing but to try his newly acquired ESP leadcore in a green finish. I know there is a lot of opinions pro and anti leadcore and I believe there is safe ways to use leadcore as part of a carp rig. I believe that on hard bottoms leadcore can create big presentation problems because it is not supple enough to lie flat on an uneven bottom. When fishing at very short range this problem can become even bigger if there is tension in the mainline in other words if you don’t fish slack lines. I think that this point was proven (to me anyways) over the course of this session. My baits were placed in the spots with which I felt confident and the same with Frans. The fish were very active to the left of our swim and we could actually hear them coming closer to where we were. After midnight I got a run on my left hand rod and after a proper scrap I had a familiar face on the unhooking mat. It was the first carp I caught at the river and a little lighter than he was first time round but I was very glad to see him that is for sure. No more issues with drawing a blank and the rod was back out in no time. We had two more runs that evening one of them being our and Frans’s first sharptooth catfish, of which there is some good specimens, but this was not one of them. He wasn’t even worth weighing and we decided to keep him for “Madala” for his hard work. I had another decent fish just under the 20 lb mark.

We decided that we would take out our rods at about 10 o’clock the next morning to rest our swims after some top up bait and secondly to chase some of the nice predators this river holds in the form of spotted black bass. We had the inflatable with a electric trolling motor there and we set off first to the overflow and then all the way up the river to where it gets a little shallow with deep pockets here and there and back. It was a scorcher of a day but we both managed some nice spotties and we were ready for some serious carp fishing. At about three the lines were back out and the wait was on. Just before dark I had a run and this was the smallest carp we have caught since we were on the river weighing around three kilos. We decided that this one was also going to “Madala” and he was well chuffed with his pay. As part of managing a carp water it is sometimes necessary to remove some of the smaller fish to optimize the growth of the bigger fish, but I will never remove fish no matter what the size is if I don’t have someone who will benefit from it. There are fortunately a lot of people willing to take fish to eat. Frans had one run during the course of the evening and I had two more fish of 17 and 19 lbs. This was Frans’s first carp of the weekend but it was a Cornish just over 10 lbs.
So we were off the next morning and I was comfortable that we had no fluke first time round, we had a good bait, our feeding strategy assured that the fish were around and feeding, leadcore was not working when fishing in these uneven margins and at the distance we were fishing and we were not onto the real big fish. So although a few puzzle pieces fell into place there is still a lot of work to be done. The secret is to keep on working at it. In the next issue we continue the quest for the submarine.

A nice little Fatty
A nice little Fatty
A nice round fish

Some nice Bass
Some nice Bass
Some very nice bass we had to play with during our session.



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