I had made a start on my new water with my first session over there kicking off a massive learning experience, and it’s one that will almost certainly be a long term campaign to fully understand. After all 60 acres is a fair bit of water, but being split by 3 islands makes it feel more manageable and a bit less daunting.
After that first trip I was really keen to get back, but with work being busy for the next couple of weeks I was limited to single overnight sessions in between work. I knew where I was going to go; somewhere local that’s nice and easy to fish on work overnights. On the Sunday before my first scheduled session I had a walk around the lake, just to get a feel for it as I hadn’t been there for almost a month.
Spring was slowly coming, and the trees were greening up, but the weather was still cold with the night time temperatures dropping down into low single figures. I wasn’t too worried as I knew the fish were awake and on the move, I just had to get the vital location bit right. I had a rough idea from previous experience and after seeing nothing I elected to put in a kilo of boilies in the first corner, just off a big over hanging tree. This was at the end of a small snag filled bay, and in early Spring the fish are always in there. It was a tiny swim, and one that just a single night was more than enough as it was a bit claustrophobic, as bar a tiny sliver of water, you can’t see much else in there.
I was back a couple of days later after work, and had two rods out fishing in the corner swim within a few minutes of arriving. Both were underarm flicks either side of the swim with my short stiff rigs on and little 1 oz Bolt Bomb leads, with balanced 16mm pink pop ups on. I just felt for nice firm drops and then broke a few baits up and threw them in by hand.
The weather wasn’t great though, it was blowing a strong cold Northerly wind, that luckily was blowing over my head, but with a frost forecast to come I wasn’t overly confident. In truth it was a bit of a surprise then when the left hand rod ripped off and I was bent into a fish that was determined to get into the snaggy tree branches to my left. I’ve been using the 0.39mm Gardner GT-HD mono this year (rated 18lb), and as well as sinking like fluorocarbon, it’s proven to be mega strong. I needed that strength though, as fish hooked this close in always ruck, and I had an arm aching few minutes trying to steer the fish out of danger. In the end I was grateful too for upping from a size 6 to a size 5 Chod hook.
I could see it was a nice common, and after a few more runs I drew it over the net. At 27 lbs it was a real bonus, but I felt that would be the end of any further action in this little bay. I was wrong though, as I followed it up with a 15 lb stockie mirror and a 10 lb Tench in the next two hours. I packed up and left for work in the morning more than happy with the captures.
I was back the week after, again for a quick work night, but the weather was much warmer- so I was confident that I had another chance out of the corner spot again. However, there was someone fishing in the next swim up, and I didn’t fancy more lines in the bay so I had a look round the far side where there was a long no fishing bank full of snag trees. Tight in the corner there was a large tree, and with the sun on it all day I wasn’t surprised to see at least 7 fish sat amongst the branches. A mid 20 common was tearing the bottom up in there with its gills flaring, and several others drifted slowly in and out. One fish especially caught my eye, as it was much bigger than the rest, and it sat motionless in the thickest part of the snags. I couldn’t tell which one it was, but it was good enough for me, so I rushed round to collect my gear, my mind ticking over as I figured out how best to fish the area with least disturbance.
The swim nearest was a small platform that had the main snag tree to its right, and I hadn’t fished it for a while, so wasn’t exactly sure of where to put my baits in there. The last thing I wanted to do was lead around too much with the fish already there. I put the light leads on again, and flicked one just off the tree branches almost at my feet, and the other to the left, taking about 5 casts until I found what I was happy with. The bottom was all pretty clear and fairly soft, but one spot was noticeably harder, and I could feel a dull thud all of the way down the rod butt as the lead hit bottom.
As soon as that was done, I crept back up the bank to my right; the fish were all still in there and I was relieved I hadn’t ruined it getting sorted. As the evening wore on the fish began to slowly drift out, and I thought my best chance would come as they left, or hopefully in the morning as they returned. The morning it was to be, as I had a couple of serious liners in the night, but at 8AM the left hand rod (on the harder spot) was away.
This one felt heavy, and tested the tackle in the narrow confines of the swim. It stayed deep, until almost on its first roll, I managed to pull it over the waiting net. One look inside and I saw it was the big one I had watched in the snags the day before. I quickly put her in the retention sling and rapidly packed up, as by now I was getting late to leave for work.
One of the other anglers came over, and kindly assisted with the weighing and pictures, and after having two the previous week, I was delighted with another. The work nights had paid off and at 36 lbs it was a cracker too, and was a big confidence boost for my return to the big pit for my next outing. I couldn’t wait.