160 Nights

Oktober 14th, 2016

As the New Year came in I found myself looking for a challenge that wasn’t too far from home, and became drawn toward one particular water – a fairly wild 28 acre reservoir on the outskirts of Sheffield, with no more than 120 carp at a push. With not a great many other places to go at that I hadn’t fished already, my mind was made up, and I decided to start in April.

After walking the water a few times with Joe Chawner, who had a good history of fishing this formidable water, I decided I’d begin my campaign from an area known as The Beach. It had options: open water, snags and more snags. I punted for the snags casting all three rods tight at 15 wraps. I went for the old faithful Hinged Stiff Rig, fished very low with around half a kilo of boilies over each spot. As the early spring day drew to a close I had my first bite on the new water, which is always good to get under the belt, and after slipping the old girl into a Sanctuary Retention Sling for photos I went about recasting. Once the photos were done I hit the hay and went to sleep happy with what had come my way, until 02:00 when the left rod was nearly ripped from the pod! After a short fight, my second fish in my first 12 hours on the water lay in the folds of my landing net. It may have only been a mid-double stocky, but the buzz from the capture meant I wasn’t able to get any more sleep that night.

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

I was getting something right.

My work needs me to be able to shoot off early doors, so as I was now set on doing a bit of time on The Res I decided to start fishing a roadside peg which gave me the ability to drop in easily, but more importantly, be off quickly in the morning. After a baiting mission of a decent hit of an RG Baits test boilie, the bites were starting to come fairly regularly, although I felt I was mainly picking off the smaller fish, and silently hoped one of the larger residents would come my way soon.

The 12th of may, a date that will stay etched in my memory for some time… The night was like any other, I finished work, popped home for a quick shower before jumping in the van for the ten minute journey to The Res. After setting the rods up and watching the water whilst talking all things carp with a few of the lads who had popped down, the middle rod went into absolute meltdown, as whatever was attached to the other end seemed determined to strip hundreds of yards of line from my reel! I played the fish carefully towards me and applied constant pressure due to a bloom of weed on the lake, and after a bit of a tussle the fish rolled in front, ready for me to draw it across the net cord. I knew as soon as I had seen her it was the big common, a wild 30lb 4oz lump of a creature.

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

At 30lb 4oz, The Res‘ Big Common was an impressive creature.

I set myself a goal of ten fish from The Res, as it’s a notoriously hard water which has scared many an angler off. To have beat my target and to land one of my three target fish only a few months in was the stuff of dreams.

June became July, and my success continued on the lake, although it was becoming apparent that my time on pebley was bordering on the obsessive – every minute I wasn’t at work I would be on the lake. Every weeknight and pretty much every weekend. At the height of summer I gave myself a week off, venturing to France to fish a huge inland sea which brought mixed results. The highlight of the trip was my first outing in the Tempest V2 Bivvy System, a wise choice in a 40-degree French summer, where I was able to crack the rear vents open and have a refreshing breeze come through.

After getting back and not hearing many reports from The Res I decided it was time to get it rocking again. One of the local lads had been keeping a steady stream of bait going in the swim for me which I could just drop back on. Needless to say it didn’t take to long until the action started again. My second night back from the continent and I had another– a dark 25lb dinosaur.

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

A real dark old dinosaur.

As time ticked by I had managed 41 fish and realised autumn was just around the corner. As I’ve mentioned before I had a target of ten fish for the year, and as I had blazed past that mark months ago, I decided to set myself a new goal of 50 fish from the water.

The fishing had slowed down towards the end of summer with a huge drop in the water level, as The Res directly feeds the Sheffield canal. This seemed to have a huge impact on fish movements, and spots which were once productive now had a couple of inches of muddy water over them, and some were entirely dry. I pushed on regardless, and still managed to nick a few fish from a couple of spots which still had a decent bit of water above them, taking my total up to 48 carp for the year – just two more to go!

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

I had to adapt to overcome the decreasing water levels, but continued adding more of The Res‘ inhabitants to my tally.

One afternoon, the 26th of September in fact, I had managed to sneak off from work earlier than usual. I drove to the lake and instead of jumping straight in my peg, I parked in the car park and went for a slow walk towards the dam wall. As soon as I could see the water I noticed fish moving amongst the weed in a tight corner which is very rarely fished. I hot-footed it straight to the van, took out a rod and slowly made my way to the waters edge. After gently flicking out a rig onto the only clear spot amongst the jungle of Canadian, I baited with a few free offerings, and in less the 45 minutes was doing battle with another of The Res‘ inhabitants! It weeded me up nearly instantly, but I held on for dear life — I’m by no means a small lad and being a bricky I’m not easily moved, but this fish had enormous power. Eventually as it rolled on its side I knew which fish it was, the „Double Lin“. At this point my legs were nearly buckling and my palms sweating with nervousness, but soon after the initial surges it was a done deal, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I drew my prize over the net cord. Fish number 49 was an absolute beauty, and a good‘ un too at 29lb.

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

The Double-Row Linear at 29lb – one I had dearly hoped would end up in the bottom of my landing net!

As I had finally bagged the last of my targets I had realised I had to let go of The Res and move on to pastures greener – but there was still the case of reaching my goal of 50 fish for the year, so one last trip was planned – a social session with my good mate Dave Telford. Not wanting to take anything too seriously after enjoying such great fishing on there all year, we doubled-up in the same peg, and enjoyed a barbecue, washed-down with lashings of tea!

After an uneventful night, Dave popped home and right on cue the right-hand rod sprang into action, with fish number 50 on the other end! I had reached the goal and another friend, Joe, had popped down to do some photos and congratulate me. Needless to say it’s not been easy at times – it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. 160 nights, 300kg of bait, 50 fish and two bivvies. Now onto the next adventure.

Until next time,

Liam G.

160 Nights – Liam Gingell – Blogs – Trakker

My 50th carp from The Res, and a nice new wooly hat!

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