This month has been a seriously busy one on the fishing side. Having started my second year at Sparsholt at the end of the month my fishing time was being reduced (or it should have been!).
My first session was a weekend on the syndicate, with Monday off college I was going to be able to do 3 nights as well. I arrived late on the Friday to find the lake busy, but the swim next to where I had been catching from recently was free, so I dropped in there. I hadn’t really fished the swim before, but soon found a hard area at range to fish to, so clipped up the rods and sorted out some bait. I was using the same rigs as I have been all year on the lake, comprising of a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga and 25lb Sink Skin.
The only action of the weekend was on the second night when the bobbin on my middle rod started bouncing savagely up and down. I was a bit worried it was a pike about to bite me off at the rod tip, but on lifting into it, there was a carp on the end! It kited quickly to the right, and unfortunately picked up the guy next door’s lines and got stuck on the surface 20 yards out. After a lot of suggestions from the crowd that had now assembled, we got an unhooking mat topped with a few recovery slings and I floated out to the fish and netted it! Only a small one at 25lb 8oz, but a 2 hour fight I won’t forget!
I felt I was on a bit of a roll at the moment, catching consistently so was very keen to return. This following week I arrived a bit earlier, and found my favourite swim free so dropped straight into there. I was soon into the familiar routine of tying new rigs and clipping the rods up, and was all sorted in plenty of time for dark. The weather was a bit miserable, and I was on my bedchair with the Coleman blazing trying to warm up when my right hand rod pulled tight before line was steadily taken from the clutch. I hurriedly got my coat and boots on before lifting the rod. It didn’t feel a particularly big fish, but still put up a good scrap before going into the net. I recognised it instantly, as unfortunately it was my first repeat capture from the lake. It was a bit bigger at 27lb 8oz, and after a few pictures I slipped it back. It was a good confidence booster, but with so many fish to go at, to have my first repeat was a bit of a disappointment.
The next action came the following night, as I woke up to my middle rod flying off. After lifting into it, I knew I was in trouble and would probably be lucky to land it. It had managed to get tangled around the other lines, including the backleads and all I could feel was a horrible grating. I put the rod down and got my waders on, and quickly untangled all the mess and soon the fish was in the net. It was one of the fish I wanted, and I thought it could go 40lb. I grabbed a mate who was fishing next door and we weighed it at 38lb 10oz. I was well happy!
All the rods went out well the next evening, and I sat back confident of another chance. However, the bream seemed intent on ruining this for me, as I had my second just on bite time, which also managed to wipe out my middle rod! I was fuming, and after sorting the mess was reeling in the middle rod when the remaining rod screamed off. At first I thought it had caught it, but the speed line was being taken suggested otherwise. The fish went on a screaming run, and I knew instantly it was one of the real big ones. It finally started to give in and after a bit of drama with a large ball of weed being caught around the leader, it was expertly netted by a mate who was fishing next door.
Looking into the net confirmed my thoughts on what fish it was, “The Lord” one of my main target fish, and I was buzzing to say the least! The scales read 45lb 12oz and I was completely made up, topping my best ever session with a target fish and my first forty of the year!
I packed up shortly afterward, a very happy man keen to return again soon. The next weekend was the final of the UK Carp Cup being held on Oxlease at Linear Fisheries. The field was very strong so I was a bit nervous, but confident my tactics should nick me a few fish.
It was an out of the bag draw, and I picked out peg 8. I wasn’t really sure where this even was on the lake, having only done one lap before the draw, but getting to the swim I realised it was a bad one. I was in a corner, with very little water to work with, and on the end of a cold wind. Not letting my head get down too much I soon located a nice, deep silty area and clipped all the rods up to this.
All the rods were set up on maggot rigs, on Covert Multi-Clips, and a small Micromesh PVA bag of crumb was attached to the hook. I then spodded about a gallon of maggots accurately over the top, and sat back hoping a few fish might move in. I saw a few fish showing in the area as it got dark, and just into dusk my left hand rod dropped back. I was expecting a tench to be on the end, but was met with the solid resistance of a carp. I didn’t expect this at all, having seen few signs of fish since the start of the match, but it was soon in the net. It was only the third fish of the match to be caught and put me in second place on 17lb.
After getting home and sorting all the gear, I checked the weather forecast for the weekend and saw the pressure was forecast to be very low for the next day, and I knew my favourite swim on the syndicate was free. I couldn’t help myself, and loaded the car up again and set off for a quick overnighter before college the next day.
The rods went out sweet, each landing on their respective far bank marker with a proper “donk”, and a few kilo’s of XXX were spombed over the top. I sat back waiting for the weather to come in, and soon my bivvy was being battered by a strong south westerly, and it looked really good for a bite.
The right hand rod was the first to go, a few bleeps on the receiver made me think it was a bream, but as soon as I heard the clutch fizzing off I knew it was a carp! A familiar routine of getting to the rods then getting the waders on followed and soon the fish was in the net. On the scales it went 30lb 2oz, and re-assured me my tactics were spot on.
I left the rod resting on the bivvy so as not to spook any other fish that were feeding on the spot as I still had two other rods out there. It seemed the right decision when half an hour later the middle rod beeped, then the reel slammed into the alarm with another carp on. This one felt heavy all the way in, and it was when it was in the margin and I saw my rod was bent double that I realised I had something special on. It kept holding deep in the margins, before eventually rising up, causing my knees to go completely to jelly as its row of huge linear scales broke the surface. Fortunately it went in the net first time and “The Big Linear” was mine. This was my main target fish from the lake, and almost certainly over 40lb – my second forty and second target fish in two nights!
I was on the phone to Alan Stagg from Gardner Tackle to sort out filming the fish when my last rod in the water screamed off. I rudely hung up on Alan and lifted into the fish, it was a really powerful stripping line with ease. It was a few minutes into the fight before I realised I only had one net with me and that was filled with an unhooked 40lber! Fortunately I managed to ring a friend who was fishing a few swims up and he brought his net down. After that the fight went smoothly, and one of the lake’s awesome scaly fish was soon in the net. We sorted the “smaller”, scaly one first, which went 39lb 10oz on the scales and was a very special fish indeed.
My arms were already aching by this point, but I still had the linear to weigh and photo. On lifting it out, I instantly thought that it was bigger than The Lord, but I assumed there was some weed in the net as it was traditionally only a scraper forty. However, the scales agreed with my thoughts, reading 46lb 12oz!
In the excitement I had completely forgotten that I needed to be in college that day, and just sat on my bedchair on cloud nine not believing what I had caught. I managed to get the rods back out and that night was rewarded with another fish, a 22lb 6oz mirror. That took my total to seven fish in five nights, and seeing as I had four fish in the whole of last season it was a pretty special result.
That was the end of my fishing for the month, but next month I will be back on the syndicate hoping for an early winter mega lump!