If you’ve ever thought about purchasing some land outside the permitted residential development boundary, submitting plans, spending years fighting the local planning authority, spending copious amounts of money on planning consultants and architects, self project managing the build, moving house and business – don’t bother! At least not if you want to go fishing now and again!
But at least I can now say that’s all behind me and after a period of six months since I last wet a line, I was gagging to get the rods out for the arrival of September. I’d been invited to fish at a friend’s lake in Glos, it’s a lovely peaceful and secluded 7-acre lake known as ‘Squeeler’s Mere’ set in a woodland surround and away from the madding crowd – perfect!
The lake is not known for big fish, upper twenties at best, but what they may lack in pounds and ounces, they certainly make up for in beauty and there are some absolute stunner’s in there. I’ve become a little disillusioned with the big carp scene these days and I’m finding it more rewarding to catch fish with character.
My first night on the lake was a nice social event with my long time fishing buddy, Phil Marsh, but it wasn’t just the fish that seemed to take a liking to our B5! I suppose I should have known better when the little lifts on the ‘Bug Bobbins’ and single bleeps on the Delks that I put down to line bites came to an abrupt halt at about midnight – then nothing!
A quick investigation at first light revealed a size 8 Covert Mugga and a bare hair! Strange I thought! The second rod was immediately retrieved and resulted in the same outcome! As I was reeling in the third rod I heard Phil stampeding his way down the bank towards me shouting out the words “Bloody Crayfish” – or words to that effect! We had been ‘Crayfished-out’ as my old pal Mikey Edgeworth would say. Still, it was just nice to be back on the bank, and good old Phil, being the domesticated fella he is, cooked us both up a nice crayfish salad later that day! Revenge was sweet!
I decided to get my serious head on later that day and moved swims to a corner of the lake where I’d spotted a couple of fish roll on dusk the previous evening. A quick feel around with a 1oz lead revealed some lovely clean areas amongst heavy weed at about 25 yards and close to where I’d seen those earlier mentioned shows.
The water was gin clear water so I used Gardner Covert rig components, Disruption hook links and Mugga Conti’s to deal with the heavy weed if needed. On this occasion I topped off the B5 hook baits with plastic corn and introduced an extra couple of kilo’s of free offerings to keep Ronnie and Reggie at the party! I was fishing on the ‘donk’ with just two or three casts needed on each rod to achieve it, and as dusk fell I was feeling confident of a bite from something other than a crustacean!
I was right to be confident, and during the small hours I was awoken to the sound of a Delkim obliterating the still night air and after a spirited fight a stunning fully scaled mirror of mid-double proportions lay in the folds of my net. A lovely carp and my first one for over six months! Fortunately I didn’t have to wait that long for my second! Just a few hours in actual fact and this time a far less scaley occupant was extracted from its weedy domain. It was however equally as beautiful in its autumnal yellow and golden coat and registered a little under twenty-pounds on the scales. It felt good to be back on the bank.
The following week I decided to take a drive to Stoneacres with a view to fishing there if I spotted anything. I’d arranged to meet Charlie Goult and Jamie Robb at the lake but by the time I got there Charlie had left for home. Jamie had lost a fish the previous day so that was encouraging, but after spending the next 2 hours climbing (and falling out of!) tree’s I couldn’t find anything. I therefore decided to head towards ‘Squeeler’s Mere’ whilst at the same time checking out a few other lakes on the way.
Autumn was now well and truly upon us and the leaves were dropping fast. It was feed up time for the carp and I managed to bank three more carp to just over 20lbs from Squeeler’s Mere that session before heading for home. Most of these had become stuck solid in the weed but I managed to extract them without too many issues on the 15lb Hydro Tuff, which I must confess has now become my favourite line of all time. Simply the best, as they say!
By mid-October we were getting one or two ground frosts and the lakes were slowing down somewhat, as were the crayfish activities, which was quite welcome! My plans for the coming winter were to fish a water which held some big commons. In fact 99% of the stock were commons and it can get a little monotonous at times, so catching these stunningly gorgeous mirrors was a God send in itself before I headed towards the common’s venue.
Over the next couple of weeks I managed to fit in a total of six nights fishing. Much of this was spent travelling around between different lakes in the Oxfordshire and Glos areas, including Squeelers Mere and it was very pleasing to catch several more stunning mirrors, including specimens of 26lb 8oz and 28lb 3oz. I was now ready for those big elusive commons, but more importantly and at long last, I was now finally back in the zone!