A Return to Hardwick by Liam Hodges

A Return to Hardwick by Liam Hodges

I managed to get out for a trip to Linear Fisheries Hardwick and Smiths Lake last week. After arriving, I had a good walk around and after having a chat with a few of the anglers, the story was there wasn’t a lot happening, with the odd fish coming out. With little to go on, I sat in peg 6, which is one of my favourite swims on the Hardwick side of the lake. After watching the water for around 20 minutes, I saw a fish stick it’s head out at about 120 yards range. Another two followed pretty quickly, so it seemed a good place to be. It was also Easter week and likely to get pretty busy over next few days and this swim would allow me to have a good chunk of water to myself.

I continued with zigs that afternoon, with good results landing a further four fish and losing one by 7 O'clock that evening.

After seeing a few fish, I was keen to get my rods out and as it was a warm day I knew zigs would be the way to go. I had got to know the lake well last year and past experience in this swim told me there was a shallow bar running through the area of the lake with average depth being 12 to 14 feet. The first rod went out on a 9 foot zig made up with 12lb Zig Link and size 10 Covert Mugga hook, with a small piece of black and yellow Zig Rig Foam as hookbait.

I began to set up the second rod, when I had three quick bleeps on first rod (I had possibly been done), but at least it confirmed they were up for a zig. I quickly got the rod back out to the same area and after having the occurrence I decided to put the other two rods on the same tactic. This proved a good decision as the middle rod came to life twenty minutes later, which resulted in a cracking 24lb mirror. I continued with zigs that afternoon, with good results landing a further four fish and losing one by 7 O’clock that evening.

Covert Mugga's are Liam's favourite hook pattern.

With the night closing in I decide to get some bait out for the night. I knew there was a clear area at 25 3/4 wraps out (103 yards) and I started off with twenty spods of mixed particle, maggots and Cream Marine boilies from West Country Baits. I decide to put two rods on the baited area, both rods with solid bags. The rig consisted of two feet of leadcore, a 2.5oz Gardner Flat Pear Inline lead and three inches of Trickster Heavy braid and a size 6 Covert Mugga hook. I kept the third rod on a zig as I had so much success the previous day. Going into the night I was optimistic of a few bites, with a few fish showing in the general area. I wasn’t wrong either, landing another five fish including a 29lb mirror. Two came to zigs and other three to spodded area, I was well chuffed!

With another sunny forecast for the day ahead, I decided to try the zigs again. Unfortunately the rods stayed quiet for the day, so at around 3pm I decided to bait up again with another twenty spods ready for the night ahead. I kept two rods on the zigs until the darkness and bagged a further three fish 21lb. Like the night before the lake came to life at night with fish boshing all over the place. I banked a further four fish to upper doubles.

Gardner Flat Pear Inline lead and three inches of Trickster Heavy braid and a size 6 Covert Mugga hook.” alt=”Liam's bottom bait rigs consisted of two feet of leadcore, a 2.5oz Gardner Flat Pear Inline lead and three inches of Trickster Heavy braid and a size 6 Covert Mugga hook.” width=”776″ height=”562″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-13821″ />

Conditions were forecast to be very similar again for the day, with more bright sunshine. I gave it until 10am on the bottom and then I changed all three rods to zigs. I hadn’t seen a sign of a fish all day, however my persistence paid off at around midday I had four bleeps on the left-hand rod and I lifted into heavy weight. After 10-15 minutes of the fish plodding around, I slipped the net under a cracking 31lb 7oz mirror.

After slipping the fish back, I had a further two takes in the next hour, but unfortunately lost them both. The lake as predicted started to get pretty busy, with most of swims being taken, but I still managed a couple of doubles on the last night bringing my total to twenty one fish to 31lb 7oz for the session.
After 10-15 minutes of the fish plodding around, I slipped the net under a cracking 31lb 7oz mirror.

Leave A Comment