Anyway, with this information stored up, I popped over one Friday evening with a couple of kilos of Essential B5 boilies and put them in on a clear spot just off the branches of the biggest snag tree. I didn’t hang around long as I knew I was back in the morning, hopefully with the bait priming it up for me. I arrived the next morning in the pouring rain and it was unseasonably cold too. I had made holes for my bank sticks the previous evening and even marked them by placing sticks in so as to make no noise on arrival. I’d also tied on my pop up hook baits the night before. I cast two stiff-rigged pop ups out, the first rod onto the hard spot off the tree and the second one slightly to the right off the end of the branches. Both were fairly tricky casts, especially with little 1.5oz leads, but I was delighted they both went out first time, causing no disturbance. I didn’t put any bait in and hoped the baiting up the night before had done the trick.
I had scaled all my gear down and was able to carry it all in one trip across to my swim, but was grateful I had packed my brolly as the rain was really coming down. I was pleased ten minutes after casting out as my left-hand rod signalled a fast take with the bobbin pulling up tight to the top and holding there. I pulled into it and instantly sunk the tip and piled on the side strain to prevent it reaching the branches. I didn’t dare give an inch and I saw the fish boil close to the branches as it tried to get in there. It soon changed its plan and headed out to the open water, which meant I was able to play it out in relative safety. I soon had it under the rod tip and was able to see I was attached to a really dark coloured common. I soon had it in the net and it weighed just under 27 lbs, a fantastic start and with a few hours left I hoped I may yet get another chance. I tied on a new bait and it was back out within a few minutes of landing the fish.
The rain continued to come down and it was a really cold an miserable day. I was in again a couple of hours later, but sadly it got stuck around some unseen snag. All was not lost though as I have a boat that I keep on this lake, but have never really had cause to use it before. I quickly got my life jacket on and pulled the boat into the water and began to paddle out to where the line entered the water. As I was about half way there I realised I was sat facing the wrong way in the boat and that I was unable to get hold of the line as it was behind me. At this point I decided to swivel myself round, which wasn’t the best idea. Midway through performing this manoeuvre the boat began to tip and I was in wearing a full Downpour suit with boots! Luckily I could stand but it was flipping cold! Once I’d managed to get myself back to the bank and checked to see that no one had seen this, I drained the boat and paddled back out in my soaking clothes to get the fish out, shivering all the way. Unfortunately on getting out there I found the hook embedded in a branch and the fish was gone. Luckily I had a spare set of clothes in the car and I quickly changed and got the rods back out, adding a 22 lb mirror before I left for home a couple of hours later.
I was back the following week with the same game plan. I visited the night before and baited up and had my rods out by 7am the following morning. This time the conditions were much better and my confidence was up early when I saw a couple of fish show within the first hour. I was fishing locked up and was surprised when I had a couple of bleeps on the right hand rod and saw the tip pulling down as a fish tried to reach the trees. I was on it quickly and had it out in the open water in no time, as this one decided to swim towards me. I saw it was a nice dark mirror and after a couple of minutes I had it in the net. Again, it was nailed in the bottom lip and I initially thought it may break the 30lb barrier, but at 28lb 10oz I wasn’t disappointed as it was a stunning mahogany colour with a huge mouth. That was it for that trip, but I was delighted with the results from a couple of short sessions, despite the soaking I had and I think it has made me learn to fish harder than ever with such limited time.
Until next time,