My first session this month was a four nighter on the syndicate lake. Quite a few fish had been coming out of the big bay, but with a change in the weather and the fact that I don’t like fishing the bays that much, I spent a few hours walking around in open water hoping to spot something. Eventually, I spotted a few good shows on the back of the wind in front of peg 36 so quickly set up in there. The weather by now was horrific with torrential rain and strong south westerly winds, and I got soaked just getting the brolly up!

Successful end tackle componentsOnce my gear was in the dry, I set up a lead on braid to try and find a spot. After a few casts I hadn’t found anything, the lack of weed on the lake due to the algae bloom was still having an effect. However, casting a bit further I manage to locate a weedbed, and clipped up at the back of this at 144 yards. I spodded out about 10kg of Cell rolled by Kent Particles mixed with chilli hemp. For the rods, I decided to use a helicopter set up, comprising about 4ft of Plummet leadcore, with the rig being about 12” of 25lb Sink Skin and a size 8 Continental Mugga. For the hookbait I was going to use a snowman set up with an 18mm cell bottom bait tipped by a different coloured pop-up, to start with I chose yellow, white and pink. With the wind coming over my head this helped get the rods out quickly, and I sat back to try and dry off and warm up, the weather really was savage!

big ghostieI saw a few more show behind the rods as it got dark, and a few again at first light, but they were all about 15-20 yards behind. Generally, bite time is until around 11am, but with fish showing behind the spot I decided to leave them out there, and it turned out to the right decision when at 1:30pm, my middle rod roared off! The fish didn’t do much when I first lifted into it, holding its ground, before tearing off on a 30 yard run. After that it came in steadily, which was good for my nerves! The guy fishing a few swims up from me, James, came over to do the honours with the net, and as it came up the marginal shelf its bright white colour gave it away as “The Big Ghostie”. It went in the net at the first time of asking, and I was buzzing having caught my first of the year! It was quickly onto the mat and weighed in at 32lb 8oz, a new pb ghostie!

I quickly recast the rod as the fish in the lake often feed in shoals, and I had seen another show while playing the Ghostie! Nothing happened, so at 5pm I reeled in to rebait the rods. The fish had come on the bait tipped with a Kent Particles White Chocolate pop-up, so I swapped all the rods over to these.

The next morning, a few fish were still evident over the rods, and I was confident of a take but apart from a series of bleeps at about 10am, nothing else happened. Nothing happened the next night either, and the weather had now changed and become more warmer. After a walk around I couldn’t really find anything worth moving onto so I kept on the baited area. I had just cast the rods out, when a mate rang to say he had a 40 in the net in the big bay, so I reeled in and was on the way with the camera! It was the fish I had in November at 49lb+, and it looked in immaculate condition!

25lb 12ozAt 5am on the final morning my middle rod was away again, and this one came in very easily, in fact I wasn’t convinced it was a carp until it went on a series of short runs under the rod tip. It was soon in the net, and was one of the really old, wrinkly looking fish! On the scales it went 25lb 12oz, and I happily held it up for the camera!

I was made up with 2 fish in a session, and was buzzing to get back down! The next session was the following week, three nights this time. Although I was on fish the majority of the time, after moving to stay on them, it never seemed to happen and I only had 3 bream to show for my efforts.

My next session was the UK Carp Cup semi-final on Brasenose 2. I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t been practicing in the run up, but with the amount I had done the year before for the BYCAC, I was still confident. I anxiously walked around before the draw, and although there were many fish present in the shallower end, I was confident that they would move out once the lines were in. I made my list of swims with many of the open water areas taking precedence.

I was lucky with the draw, coming out 7th and getting my second choice swim! The swim gave me long range access to the middle of the lake, and where I had taken big hits before! The brolly was soon up, and the swim set up waiting for the spod/marker horn.

When it came round, I clipped up to a spot I had caught from before, at 110 yards on clean gravel. I then spodded out about 2kg of “munga” and got all the rods clipped up as well. By then it was time to cast out, and all the rods went out really accurately and I was confident! It took about an hour before the rod on my trusty maggot rig roared off, with a 17lber on the end, putting me well up the table. The action on B2 often dies at night, and this was the case.

The next morning, fish were starting to be caught all round the lake, and I was soon dropping down into 10th place. It was then I decided on a change of tactics as the sun came out, and found a new spot at 130 yards, and put 2 maggot rigs and tied up a zig as well. The zig screamed off after only 1 spod had landed, but unfortunately the hook pulled, and so did the next 2 bites on the zigs in the next 15 minutes! I was going mental, seeing others catch and only losing fish due to the savage weed in my swim!

UKCC photoI managed to collect myself, and land the next few fish, pushing me right back up the leader board and looking set to qualify for the final! I don’t really remember the next 12 or so hours, it’s just a blur of spodding and playing fish! In the end I landed 16 for 216lb, losing 14 bites as well! This was good enough for second, and gets a place in the final which is in October on Oxlease on the Linear complex! The field is really strong, but I’m really looking forward to it!

The Big LinA few days later I was at the syndicate again, I was on a few fish, but so was my mate Oscar, who was on the Roach Pit. We were texting each other, when he stopped texting and rang me! I answered with “How big then?” and he said “I’ve got the big linear!” I was round in a flash to help with the photos of his first 40 at 43lb 10oz, a privilege to be there!

The next week, I started work at For Life Experiences (FLE), doing fishing tuition and laser clay shooting 4 days a week would certainly eat into my fishing time, and along with my coaching for the local club I would only have Sunday nights to fish for the next 5 weeks!

I did have one more chance on the syndicate before the end of the month, fishing the swim at the entrance to the big bay where I had seen a few fish mooching around; I had a slow steady take at first light. However, on hitting the rod there was nothing there, and I could only put it down to a dodgy hook-hold or a trailer, not good for the confidence though! It was very misty at the time I had the take, and once the mist had cleared I was shocked by how my spot looked. The fish had smashed it up, and a huge cloud that looked like a load of sloppy spod mix was drifting on the wind!

Digging the spots upMy fishing next month will be very limited with work, but hopefully when I do get out there will be some lumps to report!