In one of the oldest historical narratives in the Bible, Moses sends a dozen spies to do a recce and report back on the, as yet un-entered, Promised Land. Two (Joshua and Caleb) return with a positive assessment, but ten tell a gloomier story. "The people in the land are like giants" they recounted to Moses, before emphasising their misgivings by claiming that, in comparison, "we felt like grasshoppers."
Today Louie and I went on a reconnaissance mission of our own, and although the fish weren't exactly "giants" they were a nice size, and we can report to the Thurnby Church Anglers that the prospects for next month's final club trip of the year are good.
We arrived at the lake, a small, circular, "commercial style" venue, and the first surprise was finding Mick, another member of our church club also there on a reconnaissance mission of his own. We dropped in on either side of him, and set up. Louie and I were fishing to a plan, with Louie fishing The Method with either plastic sweetcorn on a hair or banded pellet, while I was to see how float fishing fared, alternating between maggot and sweetcorn.
It wasn't long after lobbing in his feeder that Louie's rod started dancing in the rod rest, and his first carp, a pretty, fully scaled mirror was drawn over the net. He then had to undergo a long wait for his next bite, which didn't come until he changed from fake corn to banded pellet, but in the meantime Mick was building up a head of steam, with his method rod seeing regular action from the enthusiastic carp. Meanwhile the float was producing only small perch and roach for me, but I resolutely persevered.
The fish tended to come in clusters, and while Mick managed a couple of carp on floatfished corn in the margins, it became apparent that what the fish really wanted was pellets banged out towards the central island and hidden in the middle of a big ball of groundbait or dampened 2mm pellets. After a long wait, Louie's swim came into life again, and with just 2 hours left I decided that my floatfishing experiment had "run its course" and it was time to join the fray with a quivertip rod and Method feeder. I far prefer to catch on the float, but you don't get fish on the bank by obdurately refusing to acknowledge what's becoming increasingly obvious!
Almost immediately I was into my first carp, which gave a dogged account of itself, and I added another two before packing up. The bites were ferocious and unmissable, and anyone fishing here without either a baitrunner or their clutch loosened would need to be on a constant state of high alert and always ready to dive for a fast disappearing rod. There's little subtlety about either these carp or this style of fishing.
Mick and I even managed a "double hook-up", and at the end of 6 hours Mick had recorded 10 carp, Louie had landed 6, while I managed 3 after making my delayed switch to Method tactics. Our final assessment is that things look hopeful for November, although the weather could be very different in a fortnight's time, with the potential for the benign beauty of a balmy Autumn day having been replaced by attritional winter frosts. We're also sharing the lake wish some anglers fishing a match, which will also change the scenario somewhat, with more anglers competing for the fish, more disturbance, and (one assumes) some highly competent, robot-like matchmen bringing their own efficient approach to contrast with our rather more haphazard and casual approach to a day in the countyside!
Roll on November, and here's hoping that winter delays its arrival for another couple of weeks.