Not any more – as Rik Johnson and son finally get out for a session

My work has been manic at the moment, with shows and open days all over the world. I really haven’t had the opportunity for much bank time, so after saying goodbye to my fellow UK consultants, Adam and Tony, after the Water’s Edge open day, I headed home for some well-earned rest and a catch-up with the family.
I awoke the following day to a beautiful spring morning and my son, Tyler, asked if we were going fishing. Well he didn’t have to ask twice I can tell you!
Now, even though I haven’t spent much time on the bank this year, I’m always mindful of what is going on. Staying in touch with fellow anglers and friends though social media is really a great way of finding out where to start looking for signs of fish and what’s happening on my local waters. Also, with up-to-date weather reports when the chance does arise, there’s less time wasted, because you’re in much better shape for knowing roughly were to start.

When I arrived at the lake I already knew the south-easterly wind which had been present for the past 24 hours was a new one. The fish in this lake love a new wind which would be pushing straight into the shallows and with the forecast of highs of 15 to17 degrees during the day, I hedged my bets of getting a few bites in the daylight hours while the fish would be making the most of the warmth of the sun.
There had been three other anglers on the lake and just two fish caught in the past 48 hours, but more importantly the shallows/island peg was empty! The plan was for Tyler and I to fish each side of the island and intercept any fish seeking sanctuary as they headed into the back channels.

The rods went out with a scattering of Trusty Baits Krusty Crab on the spots. At the sharp end, my faithful MKII multi rig, constructed using the coated Gladio hook link material attached to the Pro Chod mono via the Albright knot and the size 6 XC8 hooks, presented a matching bright white pop-up.

It wasn’t long before the right buzzer screeched into life, as a powerful, angry, 20lb common carp had dropped its guard for a moment and made a bid to get over the rocky gravel bar of the island. This rod I fished locked up, and within seconds the new Mimicry Flat lead clips had shed the lead and the fish was battling me on the surface, safely out the way of those sharp rocks and any other danger.

The rod went back in place accompanied by a 3-bait, meshed stringer. A few hours passed and once more the R2L buzzer leapt into life, signalling success was imminent, provided I didn’t mess things up, of course. I picked up the straining rod and it was obvious that I was attached to something a lot heavier and more powerful than before!
With the lead detached I could see a huge swirl on the surface as this fish slowly plodded though several weed beds toward my inside margin. Steady pressure was applied and after some time, the fish was in front of me before it powered out into open water. Once there, it found another gear and shifted into light speed as my clutch went into meltdown! I lowered my rod tip to the right and slowly began to regain control. With thumping head shakes, the carp floundered on the surface for a second before I was allowed to turn it toward me, maintaining steady pressure as the end seemed to be in sight. Then, as I reached for the net, the fish made a last-ditch effort for freedom. Finally, I applied more pressure and it turned once more before it glided over the waiting net. Phew!

Once in the net, I gazed with relief as this beautiful, long mirror carp as it rested, motionless. I was joined in celebration by Tyler, and we said simultaneously, “Look at the shoulders on that!” What this fish lacked in girth it made up for with bucket loads of width and length. It was a proper old warrior, built for the fight, indeed. I composed myself and readied the mat, sling, scales and camera.
Once the fish was properly rested up, the magical wheel of fortune spun round and stopped at an impressive 31lb 10oz. The carp behaved impeccably while being photographed, almost as though it was showing respect to its captor. Like a gracious warrior after battle it then composed itself in the margins before gracefully disappearing back into the depths from which it came. Let me tell you, it felt great to be to back on the bank and we still had the another day under our belts……To be continue….