I had been mainly doing short day sessions, including a couple of rudd fishing trips with my 8 year old son, so my gear was not set up for a 3 night session and I spent any spare time off making sure everything I needed for a longer trip was in place. About this time I received some new snug buzz bars and bank sticks from Cygnet which really looked the business, and I couldn’t wait to use them. After years as a stainless user these were much more lightweight, a real bonus to cutting the weight down.
I left home at 5 am and arrived some 45 minutes later to find that I had the lake to myself, a real bonus. It was a warm overcast morning, with the sky threatening rain. Perfect big carp conditions! I began a lap of the lake as I really had no idea as to where to start. In many ways that isn’t a bad thing as it made me find some fish first and I vowed not to set up until I had got something to go on. As I got to the bottom bank into which the south westerly wind was blowing I immediately saw several big patches of bubbling and then 2 fish rolled in quick succession. Admittedly, these didn’t look big ones but this still made my mind up, and I hurriedly made my way back to the car to fetch my gear.
I’d been thinking about how to approach the fishing on here, and what methods could bring the best results. I knew the lake held a number of small stockies, and post spawning I fancied giving the big bait tactic a go, as if this method is not over used it can really produce the results. Therefore, once I had 2 firm silty spots at about 50 yards range sorted, I went to work with the spod.
Out went 8 kilos of Essential B5 in 16 ml size, a bucket full of bloodworm and betaine pellets, and a bucketful of hemp. I had to have a sit down after the marathon spod fest, but I reasoned that with 3 nights in front of me I wouldn’t need to top up as much, thus causing less disturbance overall. I used the stiff hinge rigs on both rods, with a size 5 chod hook matching a critically balanced 16 ml pop up. This looked really good, and due to the abundant silt weed, all I looked for were firm drops on both rods using light 1.5oz leads.
What I especially like with this rig is how the stiff boom section kicks the bait away from the lead; giving you great presentation coupled with what I believe is an out and out big fish rig. With the amount of small fish present I hoped this rig would give me a good chance with one of the bigger originals. Just as I got the rods out the rain started and carried on all day as is the norm this summer.
Some 45 minutes after the bait up I was in on the right hand rod. It immediately came up to the surface and rolled before going hard to my right when suddenly the line went slack and the hook came out. It was rare for that to happen on this particular rig, so I wondered if it was only a small one that had not managed to pick up the rig effectively. I re-cast the rod which I had clipped up, slightly disappointed but relived that at least the spot was productive.
In the afternoon I had a 28lb common that fought as hard as anything I’ve hooked before, giving me a good 10 minute battle before I could pull it over the net. This was really nailed in the bottom lip, and with no one about I took a quick picture on the mat before releasing it. I added a small one just before dark and received a number of savage liners. An interrupted night appeared to be on the cards.
At 4 am I was woken by a steady run on my left hand rod which up until then had been quiet, bar the attention of some serious bird activity. The coots seemed to love this spot and I was surprised I hadn’t been picked up by them. This one came in fairly easily and allowed me to almost wind it in from 50 yards, until it went berserk in the edge, going on a number of long runs causing me to give yards of line from the clutch. It fought a typical big fish fight, with a number of big boils coming up before I finally managed to get a look at it. One roll showed me a quick golden flash, and knowing the big ones were commons I desperately wanted to get this one in. After another arm aching minute I had it in the net, and one look by the light of the head torch showed me it was obviously one of the best ones. As I went to lift it out I knew it was big, and I recognised it as the biggest in the lake, from a photo I had, but clearly empty after spawning. It weighed 39.2 lbs and was usually mid 40. I was still delighted to get it so early on, and with 2 nights to go I felt I had every chance of another, as they certainly seemed to like the bait.
I added a 24 common the following morning and then it all slowed up as constant heavy rain seemed to kill it. With one night to go I spodded out the last of my bait, leaving me with nothing bar my pot of pop up hook baits. The last morning dawned clear and sunny, a welcome relief from almost 24 hours of relentless rain that had turned my swim into a mud bath. I had mud everywhere, all over the inside of my bivvy and clinging to everything, including inside my tea cup! The fish were back though, and in the first few hours of day light I had seen a fair few show, some being right on my spots. At just after 8 am I was into a really hard fighting fish that was flat rodding me way out in the pond. They all seem to really scrap in this lake, and this one was the most powerful, as it felt like ages before I could get it anywhere near my bank. This really tested out the end tackle, and when I eventually netted it, once again the forceps were needed to remove the hook. It was my sixth fish and at 31 lbs it was a great way to finish my first proper session.
As I held it up for the camera in the sunshine I couldn’t wait for a return!