The months of July and August can be a funny time of year, many fish are low in weight after spawning and can often look a little drained by the ordeal. I often use this time of the year to catch up with friends in the scene. With this in mind a few friends arranged a social, so we could all catch up before going our spate ways in search of our target fish. After a little deliberation on venues, we decided to head for the well-known Boyers complex, namely Colnbrook West Lake. I hadn’t visited the lake for over eight years and I was looking forward to re-acquainting myself with the venue and hopefully some of its carp!
Arriving at the lake, I found it nearly empty with just the one angler present, who funnily enough was just packing up! After having a good walk around, there were two large weedbeds, one at each end of the lake. After a little deliberation I decided on a double swim known as the bailiffs, which covered one of the weedbeds and a good chunk of open water. Being a double swim (and a social) I invited one of my good friends to join me.
I had a good feel around with a bare lead, which if I’m honest took longer than I expected. Finally, I found what I was looking for, a small hard spot just off the main weedbed. Experience told me this area just had to do a bite! With a lot of silk weed between my margin and the spot, I knew one of the Drop Out Chod Clips would come in handy if I needed to drop the lead. Due to the fishery enforcing a leadcore ban, I used a length of Camflex Leadfree, which is a firm favourite of mine.
Rig wise, I decided on a little hinged stiff rig, with the boom section tied using 30lb Mirage, a 25lb Trip Wire end section and a super sharp size 5 Covert Chod hook. Hook bait was a 16mm Purple Haze pop-up from Carp Company. After getting a good donk on the cast, the traps were set and I felt there would be a good chance the fish would start edging out of the weed during the hours of darkness. I was hoping to stop them in their tracks, so I got to work with a Gardner Bait Shuttle and introduced 5kg of mixed particle and 2kg of boilies. Whilst sodding, I noticed three fish in the close proximity, so things were looking good for a bite.
With the kettle on, it was time to sit back and keep a watchful eye on the area. Our feathered friends soon clocked the feast, but just before darkness fell they spooked and I was hopeful the fish had found the bait. As darkness fell I started to get the odd bleep on my alarm, indicating that the fish were feeding over the spot.
Shortly after falling asleep at 2am, I was woken by a bite on the left hand rod. The Drop Out Safety Chod Clip worked wonders and the fish headed slowly towards me and I soon scooped up a common of around 20lb. After slipping her back, I got the rod back out and jumped back into bed.
I put the kettle on a first light, when the left hand rod was away again. This time the fish felt much better and after a few minutes of steady pressure, it wallowed over the waiting net. Parting the mesh, I was greeted by a stunning common. After slipping the hook out, the scales read 35lb! I was blown away by the mint condition she was in and after doing a few quick pics, we carefully slipped her back.
As the day wore on, the wind picked up blowing big rafts of weed across the lake, which caused a few problems. Just before dusk I managed to get the rods back out and topped the spots up with a bit more bait. I’d been up since dawn, so I decided to grab an early night and catch up on some well needed sleep.
I woke at first light to motionless indicators, which was strange as I wanted confident that something would have happened through the hours of darkness. I wound the rods in a few hours later to find the spot had been covered up by the drifting weed! A move was on the cards, so I went for a walk and headed straight up the opposite end of the lake. This had the bonus of being on the back of the wind, so the large drifting weed beds would wipe my lines out. I just prayed I could find some carp.
I didn’t take me long to find a group of carp, sitting on the surface amongst the weed. There was an island to my left, so I grabbed my leading rod and after a couple of casts, I located a lovely gravel area around 20 feet square tight to the island. I soon had 3kg of boilies accurately applied and thought about a rig change. I decided on a simple D rig, with a balanced hookbait. On the business end was a size 8 Covert Incizor, which combined with the stiff hook length I hoped would settle slowly at the length of the hook link.
As the darkness drew in the mozzies were out in the force and I retired for an early night. At around 1am all hell broke loose as I managed to land five fish in quick succession, nothing big but it was great to be getting bites. Morning arrived and I was shattered and my mate looked like something out of a horror movie. After dawn had passed, I re-baited the swim with my leftover bait and was rewarded with two further fish, one being a stunning old looking mirror of 22lb, which was a rewarding capture as there are only a handful of originals left that don’t seem to grace the bank very often.
The swim had taken a battering and unsurprisingly the following night was quiet. I headed off home with ten fish to my credit and had a great social catching up with a good friend.