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Wesley Lagaert's Carp Diary - April/May2014

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Last Updated: 15th May 2014

Well, it’s been a while since you have heard anything from me, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve been sitting still. A pretty warm winter has passed and now Spring is into it’s ‘final straight’. It is the perfect time for catching one of the big females on your favourite lake, isn’t it? 

My 3 licences/tickets for this year were already sorted, although I’ll be mostly only be using 2 off them. The third license is for a lake near my home which I’d like to fish in the future and so I keep the ticket as a wild card.  Over the last 2 years I’ve been building a new hairdressing salon for my wife and the end is finally in sight. We’ve planned the opening on the first of July and it seems that we’ll be able to meet that deadline. Luckily I have a lake in my backyard too, so I was still able to fish over the last two years, more than perhaps others may have been able to under the same circumstances. Although it really is time for a change of scenery! 

Sadly I lost my dog Balou on the 21st of March due an acute cancer. Between setting the diagnose and putting him to sleep there were only 5 days, so I was well out off this world for a few days. I still miss him to this day, but these things just happen. At least he made my family and a lot of other fellow anglers very happy, rest in peace my friend.

On a brighter note, due the ‘soft’ winter I suspected the fish to wake up a bit sooner, so I started baiting a swim every other day with a small amount of Solar Club Mix boilies. At the beginning of April I saw the first signs of moving carp and only then did I get my rods out off the shed. Rigs consisting out of 15lb Contour Unleaded combined with Stronghold 101 hooks, size 4, which were already tied on a previous holiday in Spain… I even got my little daughter involved in the rig tying to save a little time!

I like to use snowman set-ups early in the year, largely because I believe that the carp like to feed using their eyesight primarily to locate food. Therefore a large bait with a bight pop-up included in it will be easy for the carp to find. Top Banana, Bun Spice, Dairy Cream and Jacko pop-ups are my favourites, to name a few.

I’d only fish short sessions from Friday evening until Saturday morning, about 6:30am, and if I had time (read nothing to do) I’d do an extra night on the Sunday. To be fair, it’s not the best time to restrict your fishing to nights only, but it was still better then nothing!

The first night past uneventfully, but while reeling in the rods a carp jumped out over the baited area, which gave me a big confidence boost. Every other day I baited with some Club Mix boilies in the hope that they would get eaten and the carp would frequent the baited area. Spring is always the most difficult time for me catching-wise on this lake because I have no really shallow spots in my vicinity, as I have to fish at the end of my garden. I have a plateau and some bars in front off me, but nothing like a holding area where they stay for some time, especially as they group up before spawning.

My best time to fish is when there is a break in the weather and they move out of the shallow zones and into the deeper water. On the second week off April we had nice temperatures and a warm wind blowing into my face on the Friday evening while sorting the rods out. As the fishing around the lake was really slow I wasn’t expecting too much, but then again just before dark I saw a small carp jump clear of the water.  Just after midnight I received my first take of the year and played the fish pretty carefully.

The first take of a new year is always a bit special so you definitely don’t want to lose it. Finally the tired carp slid in the net and it looked a proper one too. The mirror weighed 33lb and was a nice welcome after more then 4 months of not fishing.

Later that night I landed another 2 mirrors, another thirty and a stocky mirror. Sadly I had to reel in the rods at 6:30am, take some shots of the carp I’d sacked up and head off to work. I was well happy with the result, but left in the knowledge that if I could have stayed and fished for longer then there would have definitely been more carp paying me a visit. 

Saturday evening, late, I cast 2 rods back out and caught a 25lb mirror in the early hours of the morning. Some quick shots were taken and the rods went back into the shed again as work was calling.

The weekend after I again was able to fish 2 short sessions and on the first night an old friend in the shape of a carp called Orange, together with another 25lb mirror visited me on the bank. 

Orange is a lovely, really old, original carp that weighed 37lb and is a target for many.  As I caught it last year, 3 times, she has certainly developed a liking for the Club Mix. I quickly took a picture while putting her back, as I didn’t want to stress the old lady out too much. You can tell by the look of her she’s well old and also a bit down in weighed, but hopefully she can still make other anglers happy one day. 

Early on Sunday morning another 20lb mirror was landed and quickly released after some pictures. As we had a few stockings over the last 5 years we’re now trying to photograph the carp that weigh above 22lb as much as possible to document their growth rates.

A friend is gathering them and he’s trying to sort a new ‘population book’ about the lake. It will be a lot off work, but very interesting to see once it’s finished. The captures until now (halfway through May) are few and far between. It is only this weekend that 3 off the known 44lbs+ carp have been caught. Some other thirties and near forties have been landed too, but nothing like a consistent flow of fish is coming out.

I was so sure that this weekend some good fish would have been caught as the weather changed from warm to pretty cold, this combined with a Southwesterly wind, which is almost blowing at gale force!  I on the other hand, I’m biting my fingernails as the wind is so strong I can’t even bait up or get my rods in, and if I do then the algae bloom is catching up on my lines and moving all of them. 

Hopefully I still have some sort sessions ahead off me in search off a big female before they spawn.

Until next time, Wes.