My first trip of the month was a planned filming trip to the Big Lake on my syndicate with Alan Stagg to shoot some bits for the Gardner You Tube Channel. I met Alan first thing and we quickly loaded all the kit on to the barrow and made our way to the first bank to have a look what swims were free. After some time spent watching the lake, we finally settled on a swim that sticks out on a point and commands a large chunk of open water with an island at 110 yards. It didn’t take too long to get everything sorted and the approach for the day was simple to try and catch the fish up in the water on zig/floater tactics. The only concern we both shared was the copious amounts weed between us and a fishable area where we had seen the fish at around 80 yards.
I had my rods all set up on zigs at around 7-8ft in 8ft of water with white 12mm Chewy Specials from Carp Company as hookbaits. I do normally prefer small pieces of Zig Foam, however foam and plastic hookbaits are banned on this venue. My rigs were really simple and tied with 12lb Zig Link to a size 11 Covert Mugga knotless-knot style ensuring the bait sits tight to the shank of the hook. A Covert Anti-Tangle Sleeve was attached to help the rig from tangles and I fished with my favoured 3oz Torpedo Distance lead on a Covert Lead Clip straight onto my 12lb Pro main line.
I started by positioning all of my rods then prepared the Spomb rod for battle! I was going to Spomb a sloppy mixture over the top to try and get the fish competing in the upper layers. My mix was really simple starting with a base layer of salmon fry crumb mixed up with a variety of the oils from Hinders then a good helping of Tesco value mixers. The whole lot received a good dose of lake water until the mix was nice and sloppy and it looked amazing when we tested it in the edge. I think we managed to get one Spomb out before the first rod was away and after a nightmare with the weed a typical mid-double mirror lay beaten in the net. I soon had the rod back in position and gave them around a dozen Spombs before it all kicked off and everything went crazy with double and triple takes a regular occurrence. The whole day went the same way as long as I kept the bait going in with huge numbers of fish competing by the end of the day and takes being instant after casting.
After we had finished for the day I decided to head over the road and do a quick night on the Little Lake and as a mate was already set up in a decent plot he kindly let me sling a couple out to the left of his swim! I found a real nice clean area amongst weed in the margin, so place a solid bag on that spot then fished two around 50 yards out on another area I had found also with solid bags. I was hoping for a decent night’s sleep after the busy day, however the tench had other ideas and I caught more tench than I had since joining the lake that night. I finally managed to settle down in the early hours but not for long as I was rudely awoken by my alarm only this time it was a much better bite. After lifting the rod I knew it was a carp although it didn’t feel huge and was soon coughing water as it went over the net cord. It was one of the smaller commons at 17lb 14oz and we slipped it in a retainer for five minutes whilst we had a brew and the light improved for a few quick snaps. As we sat supping our brew watching the lake my other rod was away and I managed possibly the smallest mirror in the lake at 12lb 15oz. We took a couple of quick shot of each fish and returned them back to the lake so I could tie a couple of fresh bags and reposition my rods. The rest of the morning was uneventful for me and I left around lunchtime happy with my weekend and planned to return the following week for a proper go.
A busy week at work soon passed and I was once again fighting through traffic on Thursday evening to make my way to the lake. It was fairly busy when I arrived with only a few swims left but I really fancied one of them as there were loads of fish enjoying the sunshine in amongst the weed to my left and right with a nice clear spot in the middle. As I was setting up I noticed that everyone around me was filling it in with loads of bait and with so many doing so I decided to go the other way. I put only six Spombfulls of scaled pellet and chopped Icelandic Red boilies from Carp Company on the clear area and positioned two solid pva bags over the top. My third rod was placed in a hole in the weed to the left of the swim around the size of a large bivvy groundsheet on a hinge stiff rig with a cork ball pop-up. Again I didn’t go in heavy with the bait only scattering around fifteen baits over the area just hoping for a bite.
I was awoken early the following morning as it was getting light by a single bleep where a tufftie had dived on me. I was still tired so went back to sleep for a bit and around an hour later the same rod was churning at a rate of knots! The fish had made the sanctuary of the weed by the time I lifted the rod but slow steady pressure had the fish kicking free after around four or five minutes. I had the fish kiting around in open water but it eventually found the sanctuary of another weed bed so I once again applied steady pressure until the fish kicked itself free. The rest of the fight went smoothly as the fish had weed covering its head and I was relieved once it was over the cord of the net. I recognised the fish as ‘The Slate Grey’ a fish a friend had caught around a month previous at 39lb 2oz only this time it was spawned out at 30lb 2oz but still looked amazing, a proper old looking one.
Nothing else happened for the rest of the day and I retired to bed thinking I may have had my luck for this trip, but the following morning the hinge stiff rig was picked up and battle commenced once again as another powerful fish made for the weed. I applied a bit of extra pressure this time having confidence in my freshly re-spooled Pro XM main line and stopped the fish reaching the weed. The fish weighed 27lb and was a fish known as ‘Beckets’ and was again very spawned out around six or seven pounds down on a month or two previous. The size 6 Covert Chod hook was buried at least an inch back in the fishes mouth and I was made up as only one other angler had caught during this busy weekend. Just as I thought things couldn’t get much better my middle rod was also singing its merry tune and another angry carp beat me to the weed bed! It took some time to actually land the fish as it kept diving in and out of weed beds and was extremely powerful and angry. It eventually gave up and was clearly another 30lb+ mirror and I couldn’t believe my luck! Once on the mat it wasn’t a fish we recognised and weighed 32lb on the nose and after doing a little digging it seemed the fish hadn’t been caught for a few years and was a proper rare one! That concluded a successful weekend and I had a tuition booked in for the following week so wouldn’t be able to get back down.
The week passed quickly as I floated by on cloud nine from the weekends captures and I was looking forward to my tuition with Ben. Ben wanted to learn how to do several things such as feature finding, feeling a lead down, using marker posts, clipping up, spodding and zig fishing to name a few. Ben met me from work and we loaded his minimal kit in to my car and made the short journey to the lake. The plan was to set everything up then start with fishing etc. so we could go through everything step by step. I feel if a customer is paying for my time and knowledge it’s vital they get everything they want plus more from the trip and getting my own rods out can wait! Once our home for twenty four hours was up we started by going through all the essential of feature finding and feeling lead down etc. the weed was a thick wall from the bank to 20 yards out so a friend volunteered to clear it using my weed rake so we had a safe channel to land any fish through. As we were running out of time to do everything I spombed a bucket of bait out for Ben to fish over for the night and he did his own thing to see how he fared until daybreak. Ben didn’t manage any carp during the hours of darkness, however he did land five catfish to a new PB of 22lb and was well chuffed! He reeled his rods in and re-clipped them on the distance sticks ready to recast once we had gone through zigs and tied a few up. After a couple of attempts both rods were out perfect and we started Spombing a mixture of Hinders Nuts Sludge and chum mixer over the top. The first Spomb landed and Ben had an instant double take and with a little help managed to land both fish with one being a new 20lb 12oz PB mirror. Ben was buzzing to say the least and went on to have a field day hauling carp until we both collapsed shattered from the relentless action. Ben had left a happy man with much more confidence and as I write this he has just text me to say he has landed a new PB common of 28lb 1oz from his local club lake putting some of the things he learnt in to practice. Well done Ben I’m made up for you buddy!
I was pleased with my month and know I won’t be doing a great deal next month as I have a holiday booked amongst other commitments but will try and get out for a bit even if it’s only for a few hours!