Finally did it!

SeanB

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Waking up early on Sunday morning I decided to drag myself out to Westlands for a few hours.
As there were a number of matches going on, choice of ponds was limited so i settled onto a peg on Little Tench. Surprisingly for a weekend with decent weather, very few other anglers were present which made for a nice peaceful day.
I set up three rods, a 10 foot feeder with a pellet feeder/bomb. A Fox specialist float rod with 4.5lb line and an insert peacock waggler initially set to fish on the deck and finally an 11 foot pellet waggler rod. This was set up with a size 12 wide gape pellet hook and the smallest size Middy soft land stubby float.
Bait choices were 2,4,6 and 8 mm fishery pellets backed up with 6mm fishmeal Pro expanders, 8mm Sonu 8mm oozing bloodworm boilies, corn and dendros.
Fishing was slow initially, and the fish, mostly F1s and skimmers, were on the small side.
The water was about 2 foot lower than normal, which meant I had about 2 foot of barely covered stones in front of my platform, a fact that was to become more relevant later on.
As I had another angler more or less opposite I kept my feed and casts to my side of the middle. Catapulting 6mils with a few 8 mils 20 meters or so was easy and allowed reasonably accurate grouping. This was to be my main catching line.
To my right I had a deeper area close in into which I kept a steady trickle of hard pellets going in between the overhanging branches.
I could see a good few fish milling about but although they were taking the loose feed, they seemed more interested in rubbing against each other - quite what they were doing I couldn't say but they seemed oblivious to me so I left them to it.
Alternating methods and baits kept the bites coming. Starting off with the pellet feeder loaded with dampened 4 mils and a hard 6 mil on a band brought bites from the first cast.
After a while I drilled one of the oozing boilies and pulled the pellet band into it. The feeder had barely hit the water when the rod slammed round, nearly ending up in the water. Grabbing the butt quickly and chuntering to myself about not paying attention, I held on as the rod bucked in my hands as whatever was attached at the end of my line made it clear it was far from happy at finding a sharp hook attached to its lunch. Each time I got it close to the net it stormed off across the pond with a splash of its tail and huge bow wave. Gradually I got it to a point where I thought I could net it, but due to the lack of water close in, I snagged the net on a rock and this moment of distraction led me to put too much pressure on the fish. Suddenly the feeder was flying through the air towards me as the hook pulled and my angry adversary disappeared back into the depths. I won't describe what I had to say about this but I'm sure you can all imagine 🤬
Swapping to the waggler saw bites continue, but shallowing up to 3 foot deep saw the bites come more quickly. The smaller fish, mostly skimmers, took corn on the deck, but whenever I fed any loose bait the water would boil. Taking this as a hint to fish shallow, I picked up the pellet waggler. Firing pellets out in 3s or 4s regularly, casting the float, refeeding, twitching, feeding again before repeating the process brought an increasingly good stamp of fish in the 3-4lb mark. Every so often I would have a few casts with the pellet feeder, or swap for a 20g inline bomb. This brought another batch of fish who I'd assumed had followed my loose feed down in the water. It was noticeable that bites came quicker and more aggressively on the oozing boilies, which I will definitely be giving more use in future.
By 5pm I had the water to myself. I had packed the waggler and feeder rods away and was planning to concentrate on the pellet waggler as it is a method I'd never really had any success with before.
Eventually I broke the band on the hook, and being to lazy to change hook length I stuck a ready prepared pro expander directly onto the hook. These are quite tough and withstood regular casting easily . On retrieving the float, prior to recasting, I was leaving the rig in the water whilst reaching for some more bait to load the catapult. Just as I was about to fire out my loose feed, the rod butt hammered round, banging into my leg. Unlike the previous fish, this one was obviously much more powerful, using sheer weight and mass to try and get away. The rod was bent into a smooth, if worrying curve and the taught line sang as the drag on the old Shimano grudgingly allowed it to be pulled from the spool. After a strong, dogged fight I felt the time was right to try and land this as yet unseen beast.
As I mentioned before, there nearside margin was almost dry rocky land with a drop off into deeper water just beyond. With a final bit of luck and good stretch with the net, a large, angry mirror found itself inside a net that suddenly seemed a lot smaller than it used to.
I now realised that I wouldn't be able to lift the fish vertically as pulling it up to the edge of the platform would mean dragging it over the rocky bottom - obviously not something I was willing to do. Leaning forward as far as I dare, and praying the 40 year old handle was strong enough, I lifted the net enveloped carp up, sliding the handle back as quickly as possible so as to be able to grab the net and take the strain off the joint. Luckily, despite some ominous creaking, everything held and the fish and net were now held securely between my knees. This was a big (to me at least) muscular mirror and most definitely over 10lbs,making it my first ever double. I already had the unhooking mat laid out, with water to keep everything wet. It was at this point the low water level again became a problem. I realised that if I rested the fish in the net whilst finding my scales and phone, it would either injury itself on the rocks or slip over the marginal shelf potentially taking the net with it. So, after a final look at my hard earned, lucky catch, I slipped it back and enjoyed a much needed coffee.
At one time I would have been desperate to know the exact weight, especially being such a significant achievement for myself, but seeing it laid in the net, remembering the hard fight it had put up was enough. I had finally caught a double figure fish, not the biggest and certainly not the prettiest and that just seemed to me to be enough.
Happy days!
 

Zerkalo

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Jul 4, 2019
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Well done mate and great write up. I realised the other day my dad has never caught a double figure fish either when he told me a Carp from the park about 8lb was probably his PB.
 

Dave Spence

MD virtual champion 2020. Golden Pie winner 2018.
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Feb 19, 2017
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12,638
Waking up early on Sunday morning I decided to drag myself out to Westlands for a few hours.
As there were a number of matches going on, choice of ponds was limited so i settled onto a peg on Little Tench. Surprisingly for a weekend with decent weather, very few other anglers were present which made for a nice peaceful day.
I set up three rods, a 10 foot feeder with a pellet feeder/bomb. A Fox specialist float rod with 4.5lb line and an insert peacock waggler initially set to fish on the deck and finally an 11 foot pellet waggler rod. This was set up with a size 12 wide gape pellet hook and the smallest size Middy soft land stubby float.
Bait choices were 2,4,6 and 8 mm fishery pellets backed up with 6mm fishmeal Pro expanders, 8mm Sonu 8mm oozing bloodworm boilies, corn and dendros.
Fishing was slow initially, and the fish, mostly F1s and skimmers, were on the small side.
The water was about 2 foot lower than normal, which meant I had about 2 foot of barely covered stones in front of my platform, a fact that was to become more relevant later on.
As I had another angler more or less opposite I kept my feed and casts to my side of the middle. Catapulting 6mils with a few 8 mils 20 meters or so was easy and allowed reasonably accurate grouping. This was to be my main catching line.
To my right I had a deeper area close in into which I kept a steady trickle of hard pellets going in between the overhanging branches.
I could see a good few fish milling about but although they were taking the loose feed, they seemed more interested in rubbing against each other - quite what they were doing I couldn't say but they seemed oblivious to me so I left them to it.
Alternating methods and baits kept the bites coming. Starting off with the pellet feeder loaded with dampened 4 mils and a hard 6 mil on a band brought bites from the first cast.
After a while I drilled one of the oozing boilies and pulled the pellet band into it. The feeder had barely hit the water when the rod slammed round, nearly ending up in the water. Grabbing the butt quickly and chuntering to myself about not paying attention, I held on as the rod bucked in my hands as whatever was attached at the end of my line made it clear it was far from happy at finding a sharp hook attached to its lunch. Each time I got it close to the net it stormed off across the pond with a splash of its tail and huge bow wave. Gradually I got it to a point where I thought I could net it, but due to the lack of water close in, I snagged the net on a rock and this moment of distraction led me to put too much pressure on the fish. Suddenly the feeder was flying through the air towards me as the hook pulled and my angry adversary disappeared back into the depths. I won't describe what I had to say about this but I'm sure you can all imagine 🤬
Swapping to the waggler saw bites continue, but shallowing up to 3 foot deep saw the bites come more quickly. The smaller fish, mostly skimmers, took corn on the deck, but whenever I fed any loose bait the water would boil. Taking this as a hint to fish shallow, I picked up the pellet waggler. Firing pellets out in 3s or 4s regularly, casting the float, refeeding, twitching, feeding again before repeating the process brought an increasingly good stamp of fish in the 3-4lb mark. Every so often I would have a few casts with the pellet feeder, or swap for a 20g inline bomb. This brought another batch of fish who I'd assumed had followed my loose feed down in the water. It was noticeable that bites came quicker and more aggressively on the oozing boilies, which I will definitely be giving more use in future.
By 5pm I had the water to myself. I had packed the waggler and feeder rods away and was planning to concentrate on the pellet waggler as it is a method I'd never really had any success with before.
Eventually I broke the band on the hook, and being to lazy to change hook length I stuck a ready prepared pro expander directly onto the hook. These are quite tough and withstood regular casting easily . On retrieving the float, prior to recasting, I was leaving the rig in the water whilst reaching for some more bait to load the catapult. Just as I was about to fire out my loose feed, the rod butt hammered round, banging into my leg. Unlike the previous fish, this one was obviously much more powerful, using sheer weight and mass to try and get away. The rod was bent into a smooth, if worrying curve and the taught line sang as the drag on the old Shimano grudgingly allowed it to be pulled from the spool. After a strong, dogged fight I felt the time was right to try and land this as yet unseen beast.
As I mentioned before, there nearside margin was almost dry rocky land with a drop off into deeper water just beyond. With a final bit of luck and good stretch with the net, a large, angry mirror found itself inside a net that suddenly seemed a lot smaller than it used to.
I now realised that I wouldn't be able to lift the fish vertically as pulling it up to the edge of the platform would mean dragging it over the rocky bottom - obviously not something I was willing to do. Leaning forward as far as I dare, and praying the 40 year old handle was strong enough, I lifted the net enveloped carp up, sliding the handle back as quickly as possible so as to be able to grab the net and take the strain off the joint. Luckily, despite some ominous creaking, everything held and the fish and net were now held securely between my knees. This was a big (to me at least) muscular mirror and most definitely over 10lbs,making it my first ever double. I already had the unhooking mat laid out, with water to keep everything wet. It was at this point the low water level again became a problem. I realised that if I rested the fish in the net whilst finding my scales and phone, it would either injury itself on the rocks or slip over the marginal shelf potentially taking the net with it. So, after a final look at my hard earned, lucky catch, I slipped it back and enjoyed a much needed coffee.
At one time I would have been desperate to know the exact weight, especially being such a significant achievement for myself, but seeing it laid in the net, remembering the hard fight it had put up was enough. I had finally caught a double figure fish, not the biggest and certainly not the prettiest and that just seemed to me to be enough.
Happy days!
Great write up mate, don't worry about the pics, you know what you caught and will never forget it
 

The Landlord

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Jul 26, 2018
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Great report Sean & sounds like a busy session. Hats off for your concern for fish welfare too.
 

Godber

.Nobice and inventor of W@nkles
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Nice write up mate, sounds like a cracking session, well done👍
 
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