After a leisurely drive from the ‘Fishing With The Stars’ event at Linear Fisheries; getting stuck in the odd traffic jam and a quick burger stop, I soon made it to the syndicate water and with a big smile on my face. Pulling into the car park it was soon evident I had the lake to myself, well for the first night of the trip anyway. With a stiff breeze blowing down towards the main body of the lake, I made this the first place to go for a look for a moving fish or two! It soon became apparent that the cooler nights had pushed the carp into the deeper water and the margin spots I had happily stalked from on my last visit looked bare and very uninviting. On my second lap around the lake, I saw a slight break in the water in a sheltered corner at the windward end of the lake. This is a spot I had margin fished many times before as it happens and had given me some great carbon bending action at close quarters! Whilst sat on a bucket, I was amazed to see a dozen large carp rise like submarines as the sun hit the surface. They caught me well off guard as my eyes were looking out into the main body of the lake, almost spooking me rising in the water less than 4 yards from my feet!
With the evening taking a grip on the clock, I quietly snuck away from the swim, well the best I could anyway as I’m not the smallest of blokes and I do cast a good sized shadow at the best of times! All excited and rushing back to the van for my gear, I couldn’t believe my luck on finding a shoal of lumps in a swim which I knew very well indeed (this was turning into a dream come true and I hadn’t even got the rods out yet!). Puffing and panting with a barrow full of gear, I soon made my way halfway round the lake, with a slight sweat on! Five minutes later, I slowed down well before I made it anywhere near the swim. Hiding behind a large bush next to the swim, I set about getting the rods together and baited, with the fish being so close even getting the rods was going to be a challenge in itself. A trick I have found while stalking is to introduce a little bait about 5 yards away from the fish, just two boilies or so and they tend to drift away from the area but will soon return. I have found this better than baiting on top of their heads or putting a rig straight on top of them, which could scare them enough to keep them away for good and spoiling any chance of a pick-up!
Just two rods were made up with a simple Covert Mugga blow-back set up tied using a supple Trickster Heavy hook link. Bait was a few chopped Nutrabaits Trigga with a matching snowman hook baits. With the two baits dropped in just yards away, the carp seem to play follow the leader and all headed out of the corner. Within a matter of seconds I had a margin rig in place just feet from the rod tip and the other rig went on their patrol route across the small corner bay.
Only an hour after casting out (well if you can call placing a couple of rigs in the edge casting out?) I had a single bleep on the near margin rod. Five minutes later the alarm signalled another bleep and soon after the bobbin rose up and quickly dropped back to the floor, before lifting again. It quickly dawned on me it was a head shaker trying to eject the rig! After quickly darting to the rod, I was soon setting the hook and waited a full second before the fish woke up before powering off. I soon gained control and the fish plodded from one weed bed to another. With a face-mask of weed, she soon gave up and surfaced ready to be netted. The mirror was safely weighed at 31lb and placed in the floatation sling, so I could get my camera gear sorted.
Before I had a chance to get everything ready, to my surprise my other rod burst into life! I looked down at my un-made up landing net and quickly thinking on my feet, I set the clutch and dropped the rod back in the rest with a nice curve in the tip. Quick as a flash the net was assembled and I was back in action. This fish gave me some right fun and games, before rolling into the waiting net. As I parted the mesh, I was greeted by the sight of a very solid old mirror with a slight two tone look about it. It weighed 32lb 10oz and really took some holding for the self-take photos (like holding a slimy overgrown melon, yes that solid!).
With the carp safely returned and rigs back in place, I was once again ready for the night to roll in (with a big smile on my face). A morning wake-up call came in the shape of a 21lb common, which came off the near margin spot again. However, I had other ideas on my mind as in the dead night I’d heard carp roll not too far away, just two swims up in fact! The swim in question would get me out of the corner I was currently set up in and was also part of the fishes patrol route in and out of the corner I was currently set-up in.
I stayed put for the day and the fish finally returned to the corner, but they didn’t seem comfortable enough to want to hang around for long. I still had a feeling another chance was on the cards, so I held off moving until last light. The carp ventured in and out, but no more bites were forthcoming. I decided on a move just before dark, as I gthe new swim would give me a good chance of a morning bite. As I packed away ready for the move, I could hear rumbles of thunder in the distance. With most of the gear on the barrow, I rushed around and soon got my house up just as the rain hit in bucket loads! I waited for the storm to pass before I walked round to collect the last few bits (Rods, buzz bars and net). I went pull my bank sticks out of the ground and caught my heel on a root sticking out of the bank and… SPLASH! I had fallen backwards straight into the lake, and was now up to my chin in water, sending a bow-wave about 150 yards across the lake! By the time I was dry with and had the rods marked out darkness had well and truley fallen. Luckily I had taken the time to have a quick lead around the day before, so I knew the rods were bang on the money.
With a damp chill in my bones, I awoke the next morning to the pleasant sound of a take! A mirror of 24lb was a nice way to christen the new swim and gave me a good feeling that I’d made the right move after all, even if it turned out a bit wet in the end. The stiff breeze that was blowing into the swim strengthened before turning into a gale, chilling the whole bank. I checked the margins and checked again, yet nothing was to be seen along the windward bank. It was screaming carp even if the wind was slightly on the chilly side. I began to wonder if I had got my location wrong, especially when I watched the odd show at the other end of the lake on the back of the wind. After reading the conditions the margin rod went halfway down the slope in about 6 feet of water. I found a nice quiet area out in the open water for the toher two at a depth of 18 feet. This area had seen a couple of kilos of Trigga over the past day or so (that’s really heavy baiting for me if the truth was known).
The cold morning rolled on and I found more of my time was spent hiding behind a zipped up door letterbox style, watching the water for clues. After a couple of bleeps from one of the open water rods, signalling that someone was home, I received a sharp pull up on the bobbin, before the line snapped out of the clip and the bobbin fell to the floor. I rushed to the rod and managed to reel in 15 yards of line before feeling a heavy resistance. The Covert Mugga held strong and up she popped like a cork as I slowly pulled the beast towards the waiting net. Weighing 28lb, it was a good start to the morning!
With another one under my belt, I sat with my fingers crossed for the last night, however the wind had changed direction and I was greeted with large rafts of weed blowing into my rod tips. The whole night was spent checking the rods after constant bleeps from the floating weedbeds, which was not fun at 2am I can tell you!
Thankfully I did manage to get some sleep, however I awoke to the sound of a few slow bleeps several hours later. My first thought was weed, as I mumbled words I had better not write here! I slowly made my way down to the rods just in time to see the bobbin fall again. Beep… Beeeep……..Beeeeeeeeeeeep! Stood in the wind, I was into my sixth bite of the session! A slow nodding sensation came down the rod as she passed from the odd weed bed into open water. To be honest the fight wasn’t much to write home about, but the end prize certainly was! As she surfaced, a big framed mirror was engulfed in the waiting net. The fish weighed 30lb 15oz and was a stunner to boot!
At the end of my session I walked round for a cuppa with a mate who had setup opposite. On the back of the wind it was like a different lake altogether, sunny, warm and not a breath of wind. Fish wise there wasn’t much out at the warm end of the lake, so I felt I had made the right decision to fish where I did, even if it was a bit chilly. I’d had some great success in the margins over the last couple of months and during the start of this session, but I soon changed my approach to suit the condition I was faced with. Even if I say it myself, it turned into a great session on the bank, though a bit wet!!