A Return to my Syndicate by Tom Oliver

A Return to my Syndicate by Tom Oliver

April has been a fairly busy month for me starting with a French Trip to Lac De Laneuville. Myself and fellow GT anglers Calum Kletta and Alan Stagg made the long journey with a couple of other friends and had planned on doing some filming whilst we were there. We arrived late and as it was getting dark, we did a quick lap of the lake and decided on our pegs for the week ahead. I chose a peg in the centre of the lake that was in between two islands and gave me lots of water to play with. I cast out singles with mesh bags for the first night as it was late and I didn’t want to make too much disturbance. We all went to bed early that night tired from working all week and then the long journey. Nothing had changed as I woke, so I spent the day finding and priming a few likely looking spots, keeping a simple approach of trying to get a bite at a time before committing to mass quantities of bait.

We arrived late and as it was getting dark, we did a quick lap of the lake and decided on our pegs for the week ahead.

On the second night Alan had a mega result landing a 40lb+ common along with an upper 20 so things started to look up and I managed my first bite the following morning around 10am. The fish had picked up my maize stack rig fished in the open water down to my right and went on a powerful first run. It had managed to pick up a branch that had blown in from the recent storms but after a few tense moments it lay safely in the folds of my Out-Reach net. It was one of the lakes new fish from the most recent stocking, a nice mirror just an ounce shy of 26lb and I was happy to be off the mark.

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I lost a fish the following morning from a rod that was fished tight to an island, but it was extremely slow going with most of us struggling for a bite. The rest of the week remained quiet for me despite my best efforts but there were some lovely fish caught by fellow GT anglers with Alan Stagg finishing top rod. I did however manage to finish on a positive note banking a lovely 43lb 10oz mirror on the final night of our trip, which fell to a solid pva bag. I had heard some fish showing in between the two islands the night before, so I decided to put two solid pva bags in the area for the final night in the hope of nicking a bite. I used short 4 inch rigs made from 20lb Trickster Heavy and a super sharp size 8 covert Continental Mugga with a single 18mm Icelandic Red with Caviar and Cranberry bottom bait on the hair. I wanted to make the bags as attractive as possible, so I used a mix of Little Gems pellets, Atlantic Krill Powder and boilie crumb and gave the bag a good dose of the awesome Golden Corn Oil before finishing it off.

I used short 4 inch rigs made from 20lb Trickster Heavy and a super sharp size 8 covert Continental Mugga hook.

It was a great trip with great company and we had a brilliant time catching some nice fish along the way too. The host Ross was as always an all-around top bloke and the facilities are above and beyond anyone’s expectations. I hope to go back and time it right for once as there are some incredible fish to be caught and we merely scratched the surface. Many thanks to Ross and his family for everything they did for us whilst there, it was much appreciated.

I did however manage to finish on a positive note banking a lovely 43lb 10oz mirror on the final night of our trip.

The following week I decided to give it a miss as I was still exhausted from the previous week away and wanted to catch up on some much needed rest. It was also a bank holiday weekend, so I expected everywhere to be busy, so I enjoyed a rare weekend off of fishing visiting family instead. I was itching to get back down the lake after a great weekend, so I planned a trip to my syndicate lake for my two nights and days off at the end of the week. I have decided to go back on my syndicate for the time being as there are still plenty of fish I would like to catch and it gives me the best chance of getting on the fish rather than just camping in a no-hoper for the weekend.

I arrived on the Thursday night and the lake was fairly quiet with only a couple on, so after a couple of laps of the lake I settled in the south west corner, where a steady wind was trickling in. I had seen a few fish poke their heads out in the general area, so I opted on fishing hinge stiff rigs with a spread of boilies in the areas I had seen the shows. I did have a quick lead around first and decided to bait one spot with a few spods of scalded pellet and chopped boilies as the area just felt right! I was sat in the swim next door with a friend when I had a couple of beeps, which then turned in to a full blown take as I was halfway back. The fish had picked up one of my hinged stiff rigs and as I was playing it towards the bank my other rod on the baited area also pulled up tight with the tip nodding. I focused on the fish I was currently playing and soon had a lovely 29lb 14oz common in the net, so I quickly picked up the other rod. I could tell immediately that a tench had picked up my bottom bait and luckily it didn’t give me too many problems. I soon slipped it back allowing me to deal with the common and get my rods back in the water and on their spots. The rest of the night passed without incident however, I did receive another take the following morning on the same rod that I had caught the common on. A pretty linear of 17lb 11oz was the last of the action that trip and the following weekend I had my BCAC qualifier at Orchard Place Farm in Kent.

I soon had a lovely 29lb 14oz common in the net.

We had fished the venue the previous year in the BCAC finishing second, so felt confident with tactics and just hoped for a good draw this time around. I don’t think there are many pairs that are as unlucky as us at the draw time! Last year we were second to last from the hat and this year wasn’t much better coming out 9th with all six of the swims we felt could compete already being taken. We stayed positive and gave it our all even banking a few fish along the way and managed to finish a respectable 5th at the sound of the final hooter. The venue is dominated by maggots and all of our fish were taken on rigs tied with 15lb Sink Skin coupled with a size 8 Covert Mugga and Covert Maggot Clips. We threaded around 15 maggots on the clips and finished it off with a pva bag of maggots and the awesome Atlantic krill powder from Carp Company. That’s the way it goes sometimes in competitions but it means I can focus on the fishing I enjoy most for the rest of the year. I must say a massive thanks to Calum Kletta who ran for us for the weekend, his tea making skills were on perfect as always.
I must say a massive thanks to Calum Kletta who ran for us for the weekend, his tea making skills were on perfect as always.

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