After having some success fishing in one of the snaggy corners of the lake, I felt as the days warmed up that there may be a chance to be had from the middle of lake which still held a significant amount of weed. In parts it was new fresh growth, which I knew was really attractive to the fish at this time of year. I had been having a few chucks about with the marker on previous visits which had located some of these areas, but one particular spot really caught my interest. It was in a swim which was a fairly popular one, and not one I had ever done well out of, but it was a new spot well away from the known spots in this swim.
I was yet to see a carp actually roll or jump so far this spring, but I had seen a large amount of tench activity in this swim, but always in this one spot. When I had a lead about in this area I found a firm smooth silty strip in between two fresh areas of weed growth, which felt like the lead had come off it moved so easily when pulling over it, but it was certainly encouraging. The other aspect I particularly liked was that this spot was that it was right between 2 swims, and was an area that had never had any lines through, and had obviously been neglected. As I left I put about a kilo of Essential B5 baits on it in preparation for next time, which was easy as the spot was only about 25 yards from the bank, and was really looking forward to a return the following week.
I was back a few days later, and in lovely warm spring sunshine. The only downside was that the air pressure was sky high, and the nights were cold, with heavy frosts. I was optimistic though as the fish were clearly well awake, and the warm days seemed to be bringing the lake to life more and more each day. I had a walk round first, but saw nothing despite the water being crystal clear and even clearer than the week before.
Admittedly I was keen to get into the swim I’d seen the Tench showing in the week before. I had the banker spot which I hit first cast, but my other spot wasn’t as good. I could get a drop but no real pull back on the lead, but there wasn’t really another area in the swim that I fancied, so two rods it was. I put on 16 mm pop ups on both with stiff links, made up with the new size 5 Covert Chod hooks. I was very lucky in having some of the early samples of these, and this size was perfectly suited to my rigs, and I’d been constantly pestering Lewis at Gardner as to when they were coming in stock! (Especially since I had used my last one a couple of trips before). These are not only incredibly sharp, but also strong without being too thick in the wire, which I have found affects critical balancing of the whole rig. I added nice long lengths of Heavy Plummet lead core to pin it all down, and subtle 1.5 oz Chod Bolt Bombs, and fired about a kilo of B5 boilies on each spot.
The lake was flat calm and I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun watching, but I saw nothing at all, not even a bubble. I had that nagging doubt that I could have done the wrong thing as the snags had produced a few takes, and I was sure that fish were constantly in residence in there. However I was glad to get a good view of a decent piece of water. The trouble with the snags swim was the feeling of being totally shut in, and due to the hit and hold nature of fishing in there, you really had to be right on your rods at all times. This swim was far more enjoyable to fish, out in open water and with a good view of almost the whole lake. That said I was disappointed not to have seen anything show, and as the day wore on and the sun dropped so did the temperature. I was glad I had bought my winter sleeping bag, as by 10 pm there was frost on top of my bivvy!
At 2 AM I had a fast take on my left hand rod from the silty spot, and I ran out in my t-shirt and bent into a powerful fish that was kiting left around the corner towards the bay. This fish was really going well, which didn’t help as I was stood doing battle in sub zero temperatures in a t-shirt! The lake was flat calm and with a clear night I could see several big rolls out in front of me, each one sounding like I was attached to something really decent. Eventually I had the fish on the surface and coming in, and I could see in the moonlight a big dark head getting closer and closer to my outstretched net. One more run and it was mine and after quickly putting on a jacket I lifted out the fish on to the mat. I knew then it must be close to the magical 40 lbs and sure enough it was, at 40.10 lbs. I was delighted. It was absolutely nailed in the bottom lip, and I placed it in the retention sling and re-cast, knowing that the usual bite time was still not yet upon me.
I was up just before first light to check on the fish, and sat there having a cuppa watching the clear dawn break. It was cold but a lovely sight, as the birds were singing and the mist was rising off an eerie still lake surface. With a friend on the way to take some photos for me, at 6 AM I had another take on the same rod. This one didn’t fight at all; in fact right up until I slipped the net under it I was convinced it was a Tench. However I knew this one, an old original, one of only 3 left in the lake, and at 24lbs one that never fluctuates in weight at all. It is an awesome looking fish, with such a big paddle I would have expected to fight a bit!
After taking the photos and returning them I stayed on another night with no further action, and once again never saw a fish during the entire session, except the ones I was fortunate enough to catch. I left the next day delighted, and confident that it was all falling into place, certainly my bait and rigs were working, and I had now had fish out of several different swims. The lake was fishing well, and other members had also had fish, so hopefully this summer will be a good one for captures. There are certainly a number of fish well overdue, and several of these are some of the lakes real prizes!