It has been a scorcher today and the temperatures have hit the thirties. It is pleasant but I am glad I have an oval brolly set up in front of my Armo which provides much-needed shade. The disgusting flies are the only down side, so Flash who hates them, spends most of the day inside the bivvy, and Charley sits calmly by my side on one of my Trakker bivvy mats.
Charley and I have just been for a swim which was very refreshing. I throw a stick out into the lake, she then swims out to fetch it, and I follow her out, as her very own canine life guard. Charley will be ten in October, and although you wouldn’t think it sometimes from looking at her, I do sometimes worry that she will suddenly sink from view. I think she enjoys the race to the stick anyway! Flash is still a ‘big girls blouse’ and won’t come in the water without being dragged in. I try coaxing him with the odd sneaky boilie, but even that won’t work, as he knows what I am trying to do – trick him. I did manage to get him in eventually, but he kicked and struggled so much, I had to hold him in my arms like a big baby till he relaxed. I then let him go and he did the most explosive and exaggerated doggy paddle, you have ever seen, back to the safety of dry land.
It is days like these when it is very hot, and you also know nothing is going to happen on the fishing front, that I find quite boring. They really drag and without the amusing company of my dogs, I don’t think I would manage to keep on doing it. Sadly it is only going to get hotter over the next few weeks and it will become increasingly unbearable for my dogs. It is for this reason that in a week or three, I will be heading back to my French base, and then back to the UK for a whole month. I have plenty of pressing stuff to sort out in the UK, and if I am completely honest, I couldn’t think of a better time to undertake such a break. Fishing at this time of year is not my favourite period by far, and from a fishing point of view I don’t think it is really the best period for big fish from these large public lakes.
While I am back in the UK I will be paying all of my generous sponsors a visit, and I will be making plans for the next year’s fishing. Spain is now humming at the back of my mind, plus the huge WCC event is taking place at Madine in September, and once that is out of the way, I will then be driving slowly south, to my intended winter destination. I am actually going to adopt a totally different approach to my fishing in Spain and this will mainly involve short morning sessions. I won’t be fishing long sessions as night fishing is still illegal. Plus my dogs won’t be able to withstand the severe temperatures in Spain. They will stay wherever I am living, whilst I go and fish. In the afternoon I intend on dedicating my time to writing. I will be starting my book and I intend to write and finish it in time for Christmas 2011. Finally, I will probably get an evening job somewhere, to mingle with the locals! I plan to live, work, and fish in Spain – things are going to be quite different, and how long I stay there is down to lots of factors.
Three carp fell to my rods this morning from 2.30am till 4.30am. The first one weighed 27lb and the other two were both low twenties, 23 and 21lb respectively. Interestingly I had a carp from each of my three spots, and the pink pop-ups are doing me proud. I do think it is the colour more than anything else, and tonight I will arm one rod with a single 20mm pop-up on its own, using the 360 rig. Certain colours do seem to work better than others at certain times of year and as the visibility of the water is very poor, I think the pink colour is showing up well on the lakebed. I have tried green, yellow and orange pop-ups but they got no takes.
27lb at 2.30am.
My remote control for my camera has unfortunately stopped working, so I am having to use my ten second timer to take my self-takes. I have now realised that manual focus is far better for these shots, and you need to set up the camera before darkness falls for best results. I did this yesterday evening, focussing on a bankstick positioned roughly where I would hold the fish, should I catch one during the night. I used a depth of field setting of 8.0, to give me a greater depth of field, which means along with the carp, I too will be in focus. The problem with cameras that have an auto focus button for shots when using a timer is this: when you press the shutter release button which starts the timer, the camera then focuses on something whilst you are not in the shot. You end up with a finished shot where the important subject matter is slightly out of focus. However if you have selected the manual focus button, and you have pre-focussed the shot; when you press the shutter release button to start the timer, it won’t alter the pre-set focus. You end up with a ‘shot’ in focus. If you compare yesterday’s shot with todays fish shot, you will see a difference!
The other big advantage of pre-setting your camera before darkness falls, is you can leave it set up on the tripod, with a plastic bag protecting it should it rain. When you catch a carp, you just need to turn it on, fire up the flash, press the shutter release, and then quickly grab and pose with the carp – job done!
Jake and the dogs.