Late Season River Carp – Mitch Godfrey

After the ‘Beast from the East’ and a flooded river for most of the winter I was desperate to get in a last session on the river before the season ended.

Luckily I got finished early on Friday ,so just had time to throw my tackle in the boat and get myself to the a spot I thought would produce before the rain and darkness descended. The water temperature was just creeping above 4c, which is colder than I’ve ever caught carp before on the river, but at least it was going in the right direction…upwards! So, there was a chance, all be it slim. As it happens I did just about have time, and just as I was finishing the last touches to my second rod the heavens did indeed open. With the brolly up in a flash, and everything crammed underneath and only a little damp, I tried my best to arrange everything to my liking, which wasn’t easy as I’d come for a 3 dayer and had everything including the kitchen sink.

The spot I’d chosen was very tight, and with not a lot of space to move around, the area around the bivvy soon got very muddy, and it was with relief when I eventually settled down and zipped up the front. My dog pip was looking very sorry for herself, bedraggled and covered in mud, but the show must go on. So she was dried off as best I could ,and given a sort of dry bed to settle in. Time for a cuppa, and some snap…

As soon as the kettle was on, typically the delkim burst into life, and after a decent scrap the carp was lost to a hook pull! Gutted, as this could very easily be my only chance. By this time it was 10 pm, and I was knackered and very wet, as was the dog, so I just bagged up and dropped it out again and got my head down. It was one of those sessions when you really do wonder if your right in the head, the kettle had boiled while playing the carp and the condensation was really bad and dripping off the inside right in my face. Along with a wet muddy dog and a rainy night ahead I couldn’t see things improving! I woke to a breamy run ,and slipping and sliding my way through the quagmire which was only 4 steps I eventually picked up the rod to find it was heavier than I expected and a nice common eventually surfaced to grace my net, things were looking up!

As I was resting the fish in the margins while I got myself sorted my other rod was away and I was into a scrappy mirror, never have I had a double hook up in winter, I was gobsmacked I’m normally lucky to get one fish, and more often than not it’s a blank. The day was pretty uneventful after that, apart from me getting some much needed food and a cuppa. The rain had stopped just after catching the fish, and the place had dried out a little, but it had been very heavy all night and now the river was beginning to swell slowly but surely.

I had to go and pick up a mate about 10.30 who was going to join me in the quagmire, and I could tell the river was getting stronger with the speed I was traveling downriver. It was a bit of a slog coming back up with the small outboard, but we eventually made it and got the photos done, which as it turns out are not the best as the camera was on the wrong setting! What else could go wrong! I dropped my rods back out, and we were both sorted for around midday. The day had dried out, and things were improving no end especially when my delk burst into life again, this time a little mirror coming to the net.

I caught each fish on a different baits, the last fish coming on a Juice Dumbell Wafter fished over Superseed Hemp, the second fish caught on a Triple-N Wafter with a handful of halved and crushed Triple-N in PVA mesh and the first fish came to a Poloni Wafter fished the same way. Trickster 15lb hooklink with a size 6 JPrecision hook to a wafter on the hair. The rest of the day was quiet and we spent it cleaning the place up as there was rubbish everywhere, not ours I hasten to add. As the day ended the river was still rising, and was now the colour of mud, alright for barbel but cr*p for carp. We debated about leaving but decided to stick it out as 3 fish had come out that day…What a mistake, as we had to make a run for it in the middle of the night with no way out of the area, the only option being the rising river in an inflatable, it was a hairy experience getting out and we had a few close calls, only experience of being in and out of boats all my life helped us through, but it’s not something I would like to go through again, and it just goes to show even the most experienced anglers can get themselves in a pickle now and then!

Be careful out there!

Tight Lines

Mitch Godfrey

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