Great Expectations

Networks? Not works!

The first winters day is crisp and the lake is still, birds are busy and every fallen leaf has woven a flaming carpet underfoot. The dancing of winter leaves on the surface of the lake is a dream, a dream we see when we are awake, that is the beauty of carplife. And as the year ends this carp fishing session begins with great expectations.

It is an inset day for Jim, a day off school, what better way to spend it than fishing with the old man – “What larks, Jim” [apologies to Dickens].

It is December, winter is coming and the lake is quiet. We have a plan in mind, carp fishing at the deeper end and float fishing for that most carpy of fish, the perch, to keep Jim busy and the cold at bay.

The barrow is loaded (Barrow Boys) and armed with boilies, maggots and lobworms we walk the water looking for signs.

There are no signs of life bar a festive robin waiting for us to decide on a swim and nab a free lunch.

We settle on the north bank, the winter sun will warm us and the water plus with a light northerly blowing we and the water (plus hopefully carp) will be sheltered.

Jim quickly gets set up for float fishing, dots the water with maggots and settles down, waiting for the roach and then the striped hunters to arrive.

I lob a single pineapple pop-up into the far right margin close to an old willow. Sitting down Jim and I watch the float and water respectively – nothing. Not a bob, dip, ripple or boil. The lake was bereft of life.

Undecided on the second rod I cast around. The bottom seemed heavy, the lead plugging and pulling free with a pop from the silt so I went for a Ronnie presentation out towards the island with a very light peppering of boilies.

And here the novel became the Tale of Two Rods [Cities] rather than Great Expectations.

And then novel became a short story, a very short story, an essay in fact as neither rod produced a bite.

Nothing happened, we cast around our end of the lake to no avail. Wherever the carp were holed up they we not giving themselves away. Even the roach and perch had no interest and neither did Jim.

We watched the sunset on our session and only then did we see a boil in front of the island.

Out of habit and hope I cast at the receding ripples but then after another fifteen minutes our time was up.

Jim and I had read the book, knew the plot but only the fish knew how it ends. On this occasion, this chapter, it didn’t end well for the anglers. But a bad chapter does not make for a bad novel, so we will be back to continue the story of this winters carp fishing.

Perhaps it’ll be a classic like Dickens’s Christmas Carol and we will have a happy ending.


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