A stunning 30lb manor mirrorWith the late October days cooling off my trips to Linear’s Manor Farm were going well, and I was getting amongst the fish on most trips. Despite being late in the year other anglers seemed just as keen and the lake was busy most days. It was at this point I met a couple of like minded anglers who ended up sharing a few brews and quite a bit of info with. John from Liverpool and crazy Jamie the ‘tea monster’ certainly made my sessions more enjoyable. On the fish front a few more mid 20’s and a lovely 30lb mirror slipped up at the end of the month and as we moved into November and the annual firework period things were looking good for a chunk or two.

Moves in the dark paying offMy next trip found me fishing in the mouth of what we had christened ‘pepper pig bay’, as on some nights it sounded like there were all sorts of farm yard animals falling from the sky! It’s amazing if you stay awake at night just what you hear and on the Manor they just loved to crash out in the long dark hours. I spent plenty of time prowling up and down the banks watching and listening to the sounds in the dark. At one point even packing away all my kit and moving at midnight just to get onto the fish before anyone else heard them. These nocturnal activities paid off with a lovely 28lb 8oz common falling to a freshly positioned bait at silly o’clock in the morning.

Trickster and Long Shank Mugga'sThis lovely thick set common, falling to the ever reliable solid PVA bag tactics combining my favoured Trickster hook length and size 8 Covert Longshank Mugga combination. With things going well and around a dozen or so bites in the last few trips, suddenly I found myself unable to get back down for a couple of weeks with commitments at home taking priority. It was just my luck as in this period three of the big ones got caught, a 38lb mirror and two of the 40’s falling to anglers in the space of a couple of weeks. My old friend Ian ‘Chilly’ Chillcot had arrived and quickly stamped his mark on the water taking spike at 44lb, well done mate. Suddenly with the capture of a few better fish the lake got even busier and with that I decided to call it a day. I’d return in the New Year, weather permitting and see how things looked from there.

Pro Carp and MirageWith the Oxfordshire air running through my blood I decided to switch waters and pay a visit or two to Orchid Lakes run by Marsh Pratley. Orchids a well known day ticket venue and has an excellent track record in the winter. I had a couple of new toys to play around with as well on these winter trips and I had treated myself to a brand new Canon EOS 600d, the idea being to film a series of video blogs for the Gardner Tackle website. I’d also just had a few spools of the new Pro mainline to try out after Lewis Read had raved just how good it was. Orchid has rules that don’t allow leaders, leadcore etc which due to the terrain under the surface is very sensible in my opinion. With this in mind I made sure to take plenty of Gardner Covert Tungsten Tubing and my tournament spare spools loaded with strong and tough Mirage fluorocarbon main line.

First blood from OrchidThe first session to Orchid at the end of November fell in a period of lovely mild weather and despite the water not fishing brilliantly I managed a couple of bites during the session. A lovely clean 22lb common caught at 10pm on the second night whilst I unfortunately lost a fish on the repositioned rod at 2am in the morning.

I was a bit gutted at the loss as there are a number of 30’s in Orchid and any one of these would be more than welcome on a late November night. The filming went well and during the next few weeks if the weather holds I’ll be updating my video blogs regularly. A trip or two back to Orchid is certainly on the cards whilst I have a bit of fun fishing on my local canals and river to go at before Christmas.