I had been thinking all over the Christmas period about visiting a local day ticket lake called Pocahontas in Norfolk, which has a good number of fish present to just under 30lbs. I made a phone call to the very friendly and helpful bailiff to book my girlfriend Samantha and me on for a 24 hour session on the first weekend of February. The stock is around 150 fish strong with a good percentage of the fish being ghost carp which were stocked back about 40 years ago.
After getting everything ready for the trip, we excitingly arrived to the lake on the Saturday afternoon. We agreed Sam would fish her rods in the left hand side of the swim and cast to the area towards the showing fish, where were some big patches of weed in front of the swim. I leaded a couple of times a bit further out to the right hand side of the swim. There was an island directly in front of me at around 75 yards, so I thought starting with a rod just off the island and the other in a lovely clear channel amongst a weedbed.
The approach was to use a white fluoro 12mm pop up as the hook bait and attach a very small PVA mesh bag of 2mm pellets to the hook and cast it out to the spots with no other bait around it. With the traps set and the rods settled, it was time to put the kettle on and sit back with a nice warm drink. We were sat on the bedchair looking out across the moonlit water when Sam’s left hand rod had two quick beeps then sprung in to life pulling the line tight and sending the clutch spinning. The rod instantly took a healthy looking bend in it. Sam steadily directed the fish towards her and the fish on this occasion was playing the game and it just stayed down the left hand side slowing coming in the right direction. After a few more minutes of battle I slipped the net cord under a ghost mirror. The fish was hoisted up and it tipped the scales round to 21lbs 2oz, beating Sam’s previous PB by 5lbs and 1oz’s – result!
Only minutes later her right hand rod went in to melt down and before she could even take in what had happened she was in again. The fight was a little bit different to the last, the fish was turbo charged kiting across the swim in as many directions as it could. The fish started causing a few problems and ended up weeding itself. Sam applied a nice steady bit of pressure to the rod hoping the fish would slowly pull through, but on this occasion, unfortunately it managed to drop the barbless hook whilst it was weeded up.
We received a few liners through the night, mostly coming on Sam’s rods though. I was up and about fairly early watching the water looking for any signs, with not a lot going on to be honest. I ended up reeling in and taking a quick walk around the lake. I wasn’t too displeased when I got back to the bivvy to find my amazing girlfriend cooking up breakfast, with a huge smile on her face after her success the night before. After we had eaten, our minds were back on the fishing and I decided that if by 11am we hadn’t had any more action then we would take another walk.
No further action occurred, so it was time to make another trip around the lake in search of fish. The sun was up now, so when wearing my Polaroid glasses I could see all of the lake bed to around 40 yards out. We got nearly half way round the lake to see nothing, then just as we got around the back of the island, out of nowhere we could see roughly more than 100 carp sat in the slack water. With only three hours left of the session, we sprinted back round to get the gear.
Once we arrived to the new swim, the rods were soon out on the spots. Only a few minutes later my alarm came to life and starting screeching jamming my indicator into the alarm and I was away! The fight lasted about five minutes and once safely in the net, the first thing I did was to slip the hook out and get the rod straight back out. The fish was weighed in at 17lbs 8oz, a clean and lovely looking ghost common.
Just as I had weighed the fish, my rod was away again, so I quickly pulled into the rod again and was ready for another battle to commence. Sam placed the fish back in the net and into the margin ready for some snaps. The fish I was fighting didn’t seem to want to have its picture taken and had other ideas, burying itself into the marginal weed growth. I was starting to worry if the fish would stay on. Another quick and powerful burst out in to the lake saw me pick up more weed on to the line and low and behold the barbless hook pulled out of the fishes mouth – gutted! Unfortunately nothing happened for the rest of our time there, but it was a very pleasant pack down in the sun. All in all me and Sam had a really good time – she caught her first twenty and new PB, what more could we have asked for?
The next few days saw us having more unseasonably mild weather and all I could think about was getting back down the lake. With little planned for the following Saturday night, Sam and I decided to go back for another 24 hours. We arrived around mid-day to find only one angler fishing at the opposite end to where we caught from the week before. The gear was soon set up, the rods were rigged up again exactly how they were the previous week with Gardner 15lb Pro light blend line, a 4 foot 25lb Mirage leader, which had a Covert safety lead clip system, 15lb Sly Skin Silt hooklink and a size 10 Covert Continental Mugga. The chosen hook bait was also going to be exactly the same as the week before – a white 12mm CC Moore Northern Special pop up and a little Micromesh bag of 2mm trout pellets. As I went to cast my first rod a fish crashed out, so I cast my rig straight inside the rings of where it had shown. Sam fished the same spots as the week before and the same presentation.
A few quiet hours past and little happened other than an couple of single bleeps, I was starting to worry some of the fish had moved down the other end of the lake on the strong South westerly wind that had got up since we arrived. We got the rods out ready for the night and sat back to eat our dinner, waiting for the action to unfold again – we hoped!
At around 7pm Sam’s left hand rod starting peeling off nice and slowly. I stood there with her playing the fish for about 10 seconds, then my rod around the back of the island pulled up tight and I was into a fish as well! After an epic battle I netted Sam’s fish for her and then my fish was soon in the net not long after. My fish weighed in at 17lbs 6oz and Sam’s fish looked to be a lot bigger, had she done it again? We hoisted the fish up on the scales and I proudly said to Sam “It’s another 20” and she was buzzing. It weighed 20lbs 14ozs and was another PB as it was a ghost PB Common this week. So that made it two 20’s in two weeks for Sam and there hadn’t been any other 20’s recorded on the board at all for 2014. What a huge result for Sam, I was well pleased for her!
The rest of the night was quiet until 5am when Sam’s right hand rod was away this time and after a quick fight she had landed a 15lbs 2oz common. The rod was back out on the spot and we got straight back in the bag as it was a bit fresh outside to say the least. We managed to get a few hours sleep before I woke up at about 8am to see all of the indicators in the same place. The fish had seemed to have disappeared again. When the sun got up Sam and I took another walk, as I had suspected the fish may be swimming close to the margin where we had set up the week before. As we stepped foot in the swim a mid-double crashed out of the water about 20 yards off the bank.
We soon got back to the swim and all the rods were placed out into the lake perfectly within seconds. My left hand rod received a take within 30 seconds and I safely landed a beautifully coloured 19lbs 8oz ghost common. During the next 3 hours we received a further three bites, Sam managing two of these up to 17lbs 6oz and me another at 18lbs 4oz’s. It was evident we had found them again, and we certainly made the most of it ending up with seven fish between us and the other anglers didn’t manage to catch anything which was a great result for us and a massive achievement for Sam to have caught another twenty.
I conclude by emphasizing on the topic, even in the colder months as long as you choose the right location and get your tactics right, using trustworthy products, you can have some serious fun and enjoyable sessions catching plenty of fish.