Day at the Leg of Mutton pond, Bushy Park.

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Jul 2, 2014
North West Somerset
Went over to fish in the Leg Of Mutton pond at Bushy Park yesterday, as my HRP fishing permit runs out at the start of the close season (Thurs). It is quite local to me, so I tried to ignore the continuous rain and nagging cold breeze while setting up. There were three other anglers there, I presume all carping blokes, two in one bivvy, and one in an overgrown umbrella. Hmmm, perhaps I was under prepared in my waterproof desert camo shell jacket (full British Army goretex unissued and new for £40 - bargain!) and sports umbrella in addition to my usual outdoor clothes.....Maybe I should have another look at the bigger brollies before this 'summer' :)

Fortunately the breeze dropped enough to make float fishing at a reasonable distance workable, so I set to. 12 foot match rod, 8lb mainline, 4lb hook to nylon with a size 14 hook. Fished with a 'franken-float': a crystal insert waggler with a large fluoro indicator from a drift beater float glued in when the original insert inevitably broke off... I used 4 mixed coloured maggots on the hook, and fished that over a limited amount of groundbait which I had prepared into balls at home.

So, setup, I cast out, sat back in my chair under the brolly, and began the watching and waiting. Not much was going on, so during recasts I went through the usual small changes of fishing depth, freshening the hookbait, and catapulting a little loose feed over the top. Barely even a line bite. At about 1300 I decided to have a cuppa coffee and my sarnies, and, as usually happens, as soon as I bit into my first sarnie, the float twitched in a way that couldn't have been a response to the now varying wind. By the time I had managed to put my sarnie down somewhere reasonably sanitary, there was nothing on the end of the line, but my maggots had been sucked dry. I re-baited and recast, and went back to my sarnie.

I just had my lunch stuff packed back into my roving bag when the float went again. This time I was a bit quicker, and managed to pull in a small roach of a few ounces. It was nice to break the drought of the previous two blank visits, even with a modest fish. This was to repeat 3 more times over the next hour or so, and then I went back to watching and waiting. The fish:

Eventually at around 1700, I peeked further out from under the brolly and found myself to be fishing alone. I hadn't seen or heard the other fellas pull anything in. The light was starting to fade so I went about doing some tidying myself, but I had read that some fish like to feed at sunrise/sunset, and since the park doesn't close until 1900, I decided to stick with it a bit longer. At least the float indicator was easier to see :)

While I was tidying, two young fellas walked up and started chatting about fishing. They too were anglers, but they hadn't been fishing in the park. At one point one them said that my float was moving, but of course I missed whatever it was. The other guy then said that he thought he had seen a good sized fish slowly meandering past while we were chatting. I hadn't seen that from my low viewpoint, but I redoubled my efforts close in to the bank. They wished me luck and moved off themselves.

After a few minutes I noted a new float movement, and picked up the rod from it's rests. In a wonderful moment the float tip disappeared and a golden flank flashed up in the shallow (c. 18 inches deep) water. Fish on! :) A short fight later, I was drawing a heavily bent match rod towards myself with one hand, and hastily re-assembling my landing net with the other. Thankfully the barbless size 14 held on, and I landed a superb common carp on the pad next to me. It was by far the prettiest fish I have ever caught, and seemed to me to be in excellent condition. I presume that the short fight was due to the low water temps, but I was glad that everything had gone so well. My heart rate must have at least doubled at the point of strike, and my hands were still shaking as I wet the weighing sling and zeroed the digital scales. I weighed the fish at 12lb 8oz, and took some photos, or the missus would never believe why I was out so late! Here we are:

I got the fish back in the water, and he sailed away. I had a celebratory cuppa, and then cast a new hookbait out. It really was time to clear up and pack away. I got everything packed apart form the rod, and as I reeled the line in, I got a bonus roach:

So a pretty good day all round - the poor weather was forgotten. I have learnt from this that I should stay later if I can. I may yet go again later on tomorrow (Weds), as a season closer....

Cheers, Bob
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
I don't remember if the philosophy has any particular name.
However is is claimed that humans have a finite and fixed life span.
Every day spent fishing is not counted in that life span.
Looks like your day was very well wasted. Nice catch!
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