What is the biggest feature on any lake, whether the lake's big or intimate? Some might argue it's an island or a number of other significant features; however, for me, it has to be the lake's perimeter, its margins. Here's why...
So bear with me and see what happened on a recent trip...
I have kept in touch with many of the local carp anglers, especially those who I have known since they were younger, one in particular springs to mind - not only is he a good thinking carper, he has undertaken the minimalistic tackle philosophy (which I completely condone) to the extreme. I would describe him as 'an angler', not just someone who goes fishing; the rare sort who's served a fruitful apprenticeship in the smaller species of fish and has a deep understanding of rural issues and the countryside.
So let me introduce Will, or otherwise known as the St Breward Assassin! Will lives high up on the moors and was at one time quite possibly one of the few young carpers in this area (a very rare thing at one time).
As I mentioned, we have always kept in touch and so we agreed to meet at one of the areas' 'history waters' - in this case, an old brick pit, reputedly stocked with carp in the 1960s. It's, for sure, not Cornwall's oldest carp water, but it's amongst them for certain.
After several frantic text messages back and forth, we agreed on a day session on the brick pit, aiming to meet at around 8am on the day. It must have been fate because as I pulled onto the main road, Will flashed past me in his 'Carp mobile' and it wasn`t long before I was chugging along behind him, so we turned up at the pool at exactly the same time.
I should mention that this trip for me was a trip back in time as the last time I fished it was at least 18 plus years ago, and I do believe Will had not angled it before.
Anyway, greetings and the traditional 'carpshake' were offered and then it was down to the serious business of fishing for the old pits carp...
Will decided to fish the inlet corner, whilst I elected to fish across the pool to the far marginal cover which, although in deeper water, the overhanging trees gave the carp some form of sanctuary.
Will mentioned to me that at some point his girlfriend was coming down to see him for the day and that she was bringing some nice Cornish pasties as well! So with this incentive in mind, the day was shaping up very nicely indeed.
I kept a beady eye on Will's tactics - I`d be a fool not to as he`s more than a competent angler. What he was doing was casting right across the small 'inlet bay' onto the dense foliage on the far bank. If you didn`t understand what he was doing you could be forgiven for (incorrectly) thinking he was overcasting... actually, he was planning on putting his rig and bait complete with various freebies tight in the edge of the margin, and when I say 'tight to the edge' I mean TIGHT! His edge was simple; a baiting spoon and I do believe a landing net pole were the tools used in question (not to mention the help of Amy, who`d by now turned up complete with a very nice pasty and was being utilised as a rod holder extraordinaire).
I was soaking up the surroundings and reminiscing about sessions of old when I noticed Will's 10ft rod hooped over; his tactic had worked and he was in! I popped round to do the honours with Will's DSLR. This was a sign of things to come and he repeated this several times... Pictures were swiftly taken to show what he was doing.
And so what about me? Well, the majority of the action was in the inlet area but I remembered that the carp always ran up and down this margin, and I was confident (as always) that I'd get at least a take or two...
Although it was later in the session, my left-hand rod - which was flicked under a rhododendron bush - roared off! The bait was a small 10ml pop up complete with a small PVA bag of Haith's finest pellets - in this case, a mixture of Robin Red supersoft pellets and a crumbed homemade Robin Red single boilie. The whole lot was neatly dunked in Liquid Robin Red, the garlic version, which I rate very highly (especially on short day sessions when a result is needed). The other two traps being identical but in different marginal spots... Anyway, after a short but hectic battle in the near margin a lovely brick pit low double mirror was landed and carefully photographed. Now one thing I can remember from years ago was that the fish in the pit seemed to be absent of mucus; I was sure my memory wasn`t going and indeed this fish like so many of years ago also was rough in texture. A former student friend of mine from Sparsholt college mentioned it might be the suspended solids in the pool, who knows!
And so after the excitement of my first fish of many years from the old historic brick pit, the middle rod also trundled off.... and a slow plodding fight in the deeper water revealed another low double fish for me to photograph.
Remember I mentioned earlier that the fish always used to run up and down this far margin? Well as I prophesied, Will's swim had quietened down and I was getting some late afternoon action, see, very little changes in the habits of carp.
I also had another small common at last knockings, but by this time I was satisfied, my carp fix was satiated once again.
It was soon time to pack down... Will and I shook hands on a great day fishing 'the pit' and we said our goodbyes. I turned to look at the murky old pits mysterious waters and wondered if I should come back in another eighteen years for another session...
The moral of the story? Never neglect the margins!
Enjoy the countryside and your fishing.