The longer nights of Autumn
The Chertsey 27, from a spot that could have been easily dismissed.
One for the more pressured waters. Now that the nights are longer it’s around this time that I’ve often found carp feeding away from the pressure, sneaking into the more unusual, obscure areas after dark. You know the places I mean, the little bays within bays, the corners within corners, all the places that you wouldn’t really expect them to go, and because of this they’re largely ignored. I can think of plenty of unlikely looking spots that I’ve fished in the past, which to look at in the day would have seemed completely devoid of life, yet at night they’ve come alive.
I remember one such tight corner on Chertsey where it was just about possible to squeeze in one rod, close to a shallow, gravel bottomed channel which went under the M3. The channel itself was fenced off ensuring nothing could escape, and alongside this fence a narrow, rusty bridge crossed the water. I’d walked across it more times than I can remember during my time on the lake, always stopping for a look as I passed, but this one time I noticed that a small patch of gravel had been cleaned off overnight. The water was crystal clear so I could easily see that there were no fish in the area, but the paler coloured, dinner plate sized scraping in the gravel was enough of a sign to tell me that they’d most likely been creeping in after dark.
I dropped a few tigers onto the shallow gravel, making sure I could still see their exact position as darkness fell, and as I was only fishing from the next swim along the bank, I kept walking back and forth to watch the area. By crouching down beside the old rusty bridge I was able to use the reflections from the motorway lights to my advantage, and that night I was amazed by what I saw.
Despite it being a chilly night, the carp ventured in and fed in water barely deep enough to cover your knees, at times rocking and swelling the water within a rod length of where I was silently crouched. Due to the nature of the swim, getting a bait onto the spot would have been pretty much impossible after dark but a plan was already coming together in my head, I just had to wait until the next day to put it into action.
Looking into the fish-less, tap-clear water the following morning it was hard to believe what I’d witnessed during the night, but the missing tigers and the presence of a couple more scrapings amongst the otherwise algae covered gravel was enough to tell me it wasn’t imagined.
The following night I had a trap waiting for them, waded into position and lowered with perfect precision whilst all was quiet. Looking at my hookbait in just two feet of crystal clear water with no fish anywhere near it seemed a little mad, but sure enough, within a couple of hours of it getting dark they were back and that rod was soon whistling off with a dumpy shaped mirror of 27lb’s. I went on to catch a couple more from that spot over the following nights too, which went to show that no matter how unlikely an area it seems in the day, once darkness has fallen it can be a different picture altogether.