Terry Hearn On Odd Carp Behaviour
Having watched thousands of carp at close quarters, Tel's got one or two strange experiences to share with us...
THEY ASKED: Have you guys spent time watching and feeding fish at close quarters? Any strange experiences you’d like to share?
One that springs to mind is from my time spent fishing the Big S in Oxfordshire. Basically I’d cut myself out a new swim: a very narrow gap in the willow lining the margin, and then I’d given it a good spread of boilies with the catapult. In doing so I spilt quite a few out the sides of the pouch, like you do, and in the crystal clear water I could see them all lying at my feet. The thing is, the water was already three quarters of the way up my chest waders and I soon discovered that I couldn’t bend down to pick them up, not without getting a soaking. Anyway, I don’t normally like leaving ‘evidence’, but I left them there with my footprints.
Three days later I dropped into the swim and flicked three Choddies out over the baited area. As I was pushing my buzzers into the water on long storm poles, I noticed the boilies that I’d spilt in the edge were all gone, but I just presumed they’d been eaten by birds. I got lucky enough to catch a lovely fully scaled mirror off the heavily baited area at dawn, which is another story in itself, but it was what happened in the afternoon that was the strange part.
To make the little narrow opening in the trees I’d removed one sapling, and I’d left eighteen-inches or so of the stump there to re-grow. It was handy, as I could step up onto it with one foot on the stump and one hand clinging onto an adjacent sapling, in order to see a bit further out into the tap clear water. At only three- or four-inches wide it really wasn’t much of a stump, in fact it was a bit of a balancing act and blooming uncomfortable, but for a minute or so at a time it was bearable. Anyway, in the heat of the afternoon, there I was balanced up on this stump on one leg when suddenly I caught sight of a wide mirror swimming straight at me from the direction of my baited area. It had a proper waddle to it and clearly knew where it was going. Just a rod length or so out from my tips it slowed up and then glided in the last few feet. At this point I recognised it as an old friend, one known as Red Bum and looking bigger than ever, probably close to forty-pounds. I also realised at this point that it had most likely eaten the boilies I’d spilt in the edge a few days before, and it’d clearly come back looking for more.
By now, balanced up on that stump, the sole of my right foot was killing me, but I daren’t move and could barely breathe as it was so close, literally beneath my three reels. If it’s possible for a carp to appear curious and unsure about something then that’s how it looked, you could almost see it thinking as it swam around and in and out from between my banksticks. I wasn’t particularly hidden, nothing in front of me at all, but I did have a backdrop of foliage. When it did finally clock me it was obvious, as it suddenly froze, looking straight at me. We were both completely motionless, no more than eight-feet apart, staring each other out for what seemed like ages, but was probably no longer than a minute, and all the while it felt like someone was trying to drive a three-inch stake through my right foot!
Eventually it decided that I looked too much like a person standing there, and it waddled back off exactly the same way it had come, just at twice the pace. I can still see its creamy belly and wagging backside as it disappeared into the distance.
Just to give it a bit of context, eighty-plus-acres, very low stock, and so clear that I could see the bottom for a good distance out all the way round. If I’d been sat on my bed for those few moments I’d have never imagined that happening in a million years.
Another, more recent sighting, was at the water I’m currently fishing. Again, a very low stock, and once again it involved an old friend… or maybe that should be enemy, as I’ve caught him three times now… three times instead of his far larger friend type thing!
Anyway, I had a rig out in open water and my single rod was in the reeds with the tip stuck out no more than six-inches, line hanging limp - ideal. In the morning I was up the tree watching when I caught sight of a carp slowly swimming in towards the bank from the direction of my rig. When I say slowly, I mean really slowly, like swimming without hardly moving a fin, like it was being pulled in on a line. It was directly over the top of my main line and heading in towards where my tip was poking out of the reeds, and eventually it got to the point where I was thinking, ‘If that keeps going then it’s going to see my line hanging from the tip’. Then it dawned on me… it could already see my line and it was following it! It literally swam right up to where my line met the water before turning round and waddling back out into open water at pace. Again, if I hadn’t seen it I’d have never believed it.