My very next session started off after a trip to the dentist. Luckily it was nothing serious, but after a few missed appointments due to last minute trips to France I daren’t miss another one!
So after a very late start I pulled up to the lake in the dark; not ideal but I know the swims very well now. My little black book had the spots all marked out (not that I really needed to look) so getting the hookbaits out was going to be pretty straightforward. All I had to do was find them…
With the gale force winds howling through the trees, listening for carp rolling was going to be a little tough going to be honest…
Walking round the lake I only found one other person fishing. He was braving the cold North Easterly wind and was situated just one swim up from the corner swim called ‘Roy’s’ where I’d ended up the session before.
Never being one to step on someone’s toes, I walked the lake some more to see what I could find. Surprisingly, I failed to hear a single fish in the dead of night. I decided to go on a hunch and see if the guy’s presence in Roy’s had pushed a few carp across the lake, over to the far side.
With my rods and water bottle in hand I made my way back round the lake; but after another 30 minutes sat quiet I still hadn’t heard anything at all! By this time it was getting very late and I hadn’t even got my barrow out the van yet. On balance I opted for the channel swim, where I’d had caught the 40 from a couple of trips ago. As I humped my gear round the lake, slipping this way and that once again on the muddy paths a little déjà vu was starting to kick in from my last trip when I seemed to be constantly humping gear about.
Waking well before first light, I sat with all my fingers crossed hoping to see something. The mornings are normally the time when the inhabitants giveaway their location, either from a bite of a show. Without a single bleep to my rods I start scanning the lakes surface for signs.
Nooooooooo – I couldn’t believe it! Just the same as my last session, a carp rolled in Roy’s back towards the car park. I naturally felt a bit gutted about the wasted journey round the lake (as I had been sure the angling pressure would have moved them across the lake).
There was nothing else for it but to move; the other guy was off today, so I didn’t feel I was encroaching on him either. A liner and a few bleeps later in Roy’s, I was now happy that I’d finely set up on the fish.
These fish had proved on many occasions this year how spooky they really are; even a single lead cast into the lake would move them at times. The rigs went out with single casts and baited in such a way as not to push them out of the area. The final fishing situation was just baited traps in and out of the corner, avoiding putting hookbaits right in it where the fish sat!
With my eyes peeled all day long, I sat watching and waiting for a show and screaming reel to break the sound of the wind; but nothing happened. Evening drifted by without a single bleep. Another dry morning came round, and my bobbins just sat there looking as sorry for themselves as I did.
With another night left I was beginning to wonder if I should cut the session short and get home in the warm as this ice cold wind was starting to wear me down as it must have been doing the same with the carp. Feeling ready to take the blank session on the chin, I then saw it, a show and then another!
I was spot on with my first choice of swim across the lake; well almost! It took my own presence added to the angling pressure on this side of the lake to get them to move across the lake! But I was on the right track (but maybe a step to far ahead of myself). I figured that with pre-baited spots from the first night, it would be just a case of single hook baits cast out onto my spots. I questioned whether I had it in me to hump my gear all the way back round the lake again?
Dam right I had!
By 10am I was back round and set up in the swim I’d first started. With the sun shining and warming up nicely, I was right where I needed to be… Again!
Within an hour I had fast couple of bleeps, which left my bobbin hanging an inch or so from my alarm. Skidding to my rod in the warm bright sun I couldn’t believe how quick the bite had come.
Within 5 minutes I was the proud owner of a wet net, with a lovely 22lb 8oz linear sulking inside; another to fall to the Wide Gape Talon Tips and easily made it to the net. After a few quick shots in the low morning sun, she went on her merry way into the dark depths of the lake.
I flicked the rig back out and sat feeling happy with myself, it came as a big surprise when the left-hand rod burst into life! I’d only just got my swim sorted from the last fish, but after all the effort I wasn’t complaining at all!
After a very short battle I found myself netting a massive ball of weed; I was sure there was a fish there somewhere! Parting the weed I soon came across a tail and once the weed was cleared the carp decided to finish the rest of the battle in the confines of my landing net. Saying the carp was a bit upset would be an understatement! This time a stunning 30lb 2oz mirror was my prize.
It just goes to show how quickly things can turn round. After finding a bit of shade round the back of my swim, we sat and smiled for the camera. Crazy move or what?
I celebrated with a Kebab for tea, and then I settled in for my last night on the lake before the Christmas break and was soon out for the count cocooned in my warm bed. Well, that was until my snowman ‘mugged’ a passing carp anyway; just as the morning light broke my middle rod went into meltdown (isn’t it funny the faster the run the quicker you want to react).
Tripping and slipping down the bank, I made it safely to the somewhat urgent alarm call. Reaching down to reel I could feel the spool spin beneath my fingers; always a great feeling coupled with the screaming alarm! As the battle curve took shape in the carbon, I soon came in direct contact with the fish that was powering deep and right down the channel.
With a rushing surge she changed direction and came at speed back towards me; and there was me thinking I was well in control! Yeah right!
She kept going and powered left down the margins; right past an overhanging tree. Rod tip down and pumping rod like I was boat fishing for sharks she finely started to kite into open water. Flicking her fins on the line made my heart miss a beat, as a foot of slack line jolted back towards me as she plodded around just yards from the net. With oily boils just feet from the net, she really made me work. A last a roll in the right direction and in she was enveloped by the mesh! Of all the battles I had this year this must have been one of the most heart stopping and we both deserved a rest (and I needed a breather more than the fish if the truth was known).
In the cold morning light she was surprisingly well behaved whilst I gently held her for a couple of self takes. A mirror of 32lb 6oz and a real Christmas cracker at that!
This turned out to be my last session of 2014 as the dreaded ‘Man-Flu’ took its toll over the holidays, but what a year I’ve had. Between stalking and a lot of open water work, my prizes have come thick and fast and it’s been one of the most enjoyable years I’ve ever had – bar none.
Hears wishing you all a very fishy new year…