After spending some highly enjoyable fishing throughout September on a relatively small syndicate near my home, it was time to head back to the big pit I have been targeting for the last couple of seasons after the few I still really wanted to catch!
I had timed my first trip back to coincide with the time that I had caught well from a certain swim on the ‘Noddy Bank’, and after arriving at first light on the Sunday morning I was soon setting up in that swim. It was not all plain sailing, and on my first cast into the lake I managed to hook a cracked off spod, and the next one managed to hook a rig and nearly 100 yards of braid. This did not boost my confidence, thinking of the chances of landing anything that I was able to hook! I then managed to crack off, and couldn’t find any areas that felt presentable in front. I was in a bit of a mood by now (understandably!) and about to pack up, but a chat with a couple friends made me have another lead about, but further to the left this time. The first cast landed with an almighty ‘donk’ and I knew it was an area I would happy fishing on for this trip. All the rods were quickly rigged up with a Kinetic braided mainline, Covert Lead Clip set up, long length of Covert Shrink Tube to prevent tangles and a size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip. The hookbaits were all 18mm Odyssey XXX bottom baits tipped with a 12mm white NS1, a hookbait I would confident of catching on anywhere.
It was dark by now, but I wasn’t happy fishing with singles so I quickly spodded out a couple of kilo of XXX chops and a good helping of hemp covered in Chilli Hemp Oil. With that done, it was time to get the bivvy set up and put the kettle on! It was not exactly how I wanted my first night back on the lake to go, but the rods were out and I was fishing. At around 10pm the left hand rod pulled up tight, and I lifted the rod up sort of expecting to be connected to a carp, but it turned out to be ones of the lakes supercharged bream. I quickly recast the rod and about fifteen minutes later heard a carp show in the area out in the darkness. At 11pm the left hand rod again pulled up tight, and assuming it was a bream again I was in no rush to hit the rod so quickly finished the teas I was making for a mate who was sat in the swim before going to the rod. I picked up the rod, and suddenly realised the clutch was locked tight, and I was attached to a carp! It felt quite big all the way in, but after about ten minutes it was nestling in the net. I was a big disappointed to realise it was a recapture, and at a smaller weight of 35lb 6oz (3lb smaller than last time) I was happy to get back amongst the fish.
I decided to not recast the rod after having a carp bite, thinking there may be a few more still on the spot. This was the right decision when around an hour later the middle rod was away! It was a strange bite, as I had somehow managed to not put the line in the roller of my ATTS, so all I heard was a screaming clutch! It put up an incredibly powerful scrap, and I just knew it was going to be one of the lakes real big ones. A few minutes later it was in the net, and unbelievably it was another recapture of a fish called ‘The Lord’ weighing in at 44lb 6oz. Two bites in my first couple of hours back on the lake, but sadly both of them were recaptures.
The next night I was completely destroyed by bream, catching five by midnight. This lake is classic for this, and by the 5th bream I was so tired that I stopped recasting the rods, so I could try and get some sleep and be able to wade through them the next night. The next day the weather was much nicer, with a gentle south-westerly blowing over my head so casting the rods out was easy. The obligatory bream was soon hanging itself on the middle rod, and it seemed like I was going to have another nightmare with the bream. It was all quiet until 3am when the middle rod was off to a flier! It came in most of the way with weed on its head, but once in the margin put up a really dogged battle and it was with great relief that I slipped the net under it! It turned out to be a stunning fish called ‘Roach Head’ weighing in at 38lb, and I couldn’t believe I had three bites in my first three nights back on the lake!
On the final night a strong northerly wind started blowing into my face, meaning getting the rods and bait out was a nightmare. However, after a lot of trying I did manage to get them out and felt mildly confident of making it four in four! I was rewarded in the early hours of the morning with my fourth carp of the session, unfortunately another recapture of a 30lb 10oz mirror with the biggest tail I have ever seen on a carp! It was a really big confidence boost and I was keen to return and try and get amongst some more of the lakes real lumps.
I was back the next week with the intention of getting back in the same area, but due it now being an extremely busy club water, everyone had the same idea and the area was stitched! Fortunately the person in the other area that I really fancied was just packing up, so I hot footed it round there to secure the swim. This swim gave long range access to the middle of the lake, but also a prominent feature that the big one had been caught from the previous year, so I was keen to get a rod on that! The first night passed quietly, but it felt much better on the second night with still, warm conditions. On the stroke of midnight the middle rod let out a few beeps, and I was soon at the rod to find the bobbin on the floor- typical bream. As I was about to lift the rod however, it picked up and line ticked off the tight clutch, and on picking up the rod it was obvious a carp was on the end! I managed to gain a bit of line before it managed to pick up my right hand rod and everything ground to a halt! Fortunately, the club now has a boat to go out and deal with situations such as this, so we were soon setting sail and without too much of a drama a decent common was in the net. It was a proper character with only one eye, and weighing in at 29lb 8oz it was the biggest common I had caught from the lake.
That was the only action of the session, and it was similarly grim the next week with heavy rain, strong cold winds and thunderstorms every night! The next and final action of my brief autumn campaign was back in the same swim I had caught the common from. I had given up on the middle as I hadn’t seen anything showing there, so had a lead around more where the fish were showing, to the right of the swim. After a few casts I found a lovely clear area at the back of a weed bed which needed a rig on it! In the early hours of the morning that rod was away with another of the lakes characters, a bright orange koi weighing in at 18lb 8oz. The next night the middle rod was away again, and after an epic scrap under the rod tip a stunning mirror of just over 27lb was nestling in the net. It turned out to be a repeat of my first carp from the lake, I just didn’t know how to avoid the recaptures! I thought that might have been the start of some good fishing, but the next week the lake seemed to have just shut up shop, and with rumours of the big one coming out on the quiet I felt it was time to call it a day and return when the weather was a bit warmer!