Somewhere down a Fenland river

Fri 28 June 13


Hi to you all. Ray has asked me to cover my season as it unfolds this year, the good, the bad and the ugly (yes I will be fishing with the owner at some point!

So there’s only one place to start and that’s at the start of the river season. I don’t attach any snobbery to it, but I honestly prefer moving water to pits. Both have their challenges, but because of a rivers propensity to change at the drop of a hat, to me they are the ultimate challenge.

My choice of river to start on this year was the River Cam from which the town of Cambridge takes its name. My targets were to be river carp and rudd. I have been fishing the Cam for the last three years and already have a string of decent specimens of both species, but my targets for the year were a 25 pounds plus fish from the river, and if I get the chance a 3lbs rudd.

A serious pre-baiting campaign was launched over the close season and already I had done 50 kilos of wheat and eco pigeon mix, not to mention a few kilos of boilies, hemp and whatever else I had laying around the garage that the carp would be likely to eat. This was deposited every night for the first week of the season into the swim I fancied and then eased back the second week to every other night to get the fish really searching for food. There are actually two reasons for doing this, the obvious one being to get fish into the area to catch them, but also by using very small particles the bream, tench and carp present will eat off the bottom weed and create a natural “clear patch”. Of course you could just rake out a clear area but I have reservations about doing this as I often feel that this can put the fish on edge.

Anyway with all the hard work done so it was that I pitched up for the first session on the 15th evening. The sense of anticipation was immense and I was so hoping that one of the big carp that we had seen over the pre-baiting campaign would put in an appearance. Sadly it was not to be and the dreams and anticipation quickly turned into a nightmare on bream street, as small bream after small bream managed to somehow hang itself on my air dried 20mm dynamite choc malt boilies.
I packed up the morning of the glorious sixteenth with eyes like piss holes in the snow, sweating like a rapist and thoroughly dejected, things could only get better surely?
My next trip was three days later and again my enthusiasm was high as my mate George (AKA tea bitch) who had also been baiting the stretch had had a session of a lifetime when in quick order he had his first ever river carp of 21lbs followed quickly by a huge rudd of 3lbs 8ozs.

This time I was down for a couple of days and the first target was to get the carp rods into the increasingly larger clear patch and with that done my attention turned to the rudd. Fishing for these is simplicity itself, just trotting through a piece of flake at three feet deep to just trip over the streamer weed. First trot through my float buried and a large flash of gold was seen in the clear water. a couple of minutes later it hit the net and weighed in at 2.04, a cracking start. The rest of the evening was spent catching some gorgeous quality rudd ranging in size from 10oz to the first fish of 2.04. Two fish were caught over the 2lbs barrier and a very happy camper settled in for the night.

Considering the previous session I expected a lot of bream trouble, but nothing at all happened all night. No bream or carp. I re-baited the carp rods pretty early in the day which was very fortunate as the rest of the day was spent sheltering from the decidedly un-June like weather as the heavens opened and the wind picked up. The rudd fishing was forgone that night as it was just too wet and windy, but I did see a good carp head and shoulder close to my bait mid-afternoon.

I nodded off that night to the sounds of Biffy Clyro on my ipod, but at 2am it was a different type of tune that roused me from my slumbers, that one tone tune from a tortured RX. The carp had gone through a bit of weed on its initial run and this had fouled the back lead making my contact with the fish a bit indirect, but eventually all came free and after one last mad run all the way across the river and on the surface I managed to slip the net under my first river carp of the season, a gorgeous black looking fish that tipped the scales to 21lbs 10ozs when I weighed it when the sun had risen.
As I slipped the fish back and put the last few items of gear into the back of my truck I thought as to how lucky I was. Not only was it a glorious June morning, but also there wasn’t another angler in sight, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Keep an eye out for my next instalment when I hope to have landed a few more carp and rudd along the way