A rare opportunity presented itself where I had a few days off work during the week. With the weather forecast set to be wet and windy (and with my syndicate lakes being closed) I decided I was going to go on a bit of a day ticket mission in search of some 30lb+ fish. I had two ideal venues in mind – Catch 22 Day Ticket Lake and Airfields Mustang Lake.

Catch 22 reportedly seemed to be fishing slightly better, so I made my way there on the Monday. Just as I arrived to the 25 acre lake, the heavens opened and after watching the water for a couple of hours I decided on a choice of swim. I set up all of my gear up trying to keep it dry as possible, but I got soaked in the process.

The thought of the venues stock fish kept my spirits up though and when I starting seeing some show at close range, I urgently made some method mix up consisting of CC Moore Marine Pellet Powder, Salmon Fry Crumb and 2mm trout pellets. I quickly cast to some showing fish at around 40 yards range in the hope of a quick bite with a flatbed method feeder and an 8mm Mini Bites pop up as the hook bait. I laid the rod on the deck with a free spool and within two minutes of casting out, the rod was away sending the spool into melt down. After an epic 15 minute battle the fish hit the spreader block on my Out-Reach landing net and I was pleased to see a decent common in my net. A great result considering how quickly the bite happened and it certainly made it worth getting drenched for! The beautiful common tipped the scales round to 30lbs 14oz and was a great start to the session.

Much to my surprise the day soon passed by without any further action. More anglers had arrived and the fish were certainly being moved around by the pressure. Daylight soon turned into darkness and I saw a few fish show in the area, so I was feeling optimistic going into the night.

I changed my approach for the night ahead and decided to fish over a nice spread of boilies. I baited up with my Skorpion throwing stick, putting around 50 baits over each rod. At 11pm I received a take, which resulted in a 21lbs 2oz common and was followed at 2am by another common weighing 18lbs. The fish had succumbed to my set up of 12lb Pro Light Blend main line, 3ft of Covert Tungsten Tubing, 2oz flat pear lead, Covert lead clips and tail rubbers, with 7 inches of 15lb Sly Skin silt hook link attached to a size 10 Covert Continental Mugga. My hook baits were 15mm Equinox bottom baits tipped with half an Ns1 pop up.

When I woke up at 6am I was fairly certain I was the only angler to have caught. I was feeling reasonably pleased with my result. However, I was soon greeted with several new anglers arriving at the lake and all wanting to fish a similar area to me. Unsurprisingly the fish started to move out of the area and it was time for a re-think.

I gave Rich Wilby a quick message at Airfields and he kindly informed me there were only 3 anglers on the lake, so I got my gear packed down and made my way there for the second half of my trip. With only two fish out in the past 48 hours upon my arrival, it was looking like a single capture would make the trip successful. I was still very excited to be fishing the venue though as there are now at least 35 different 30lb+ fish that reside in the lake.

The weather was still up and down and after getting the rods out, I settled for the night. I woke up at dawn the following morning without any movement on my Bug indicators. It was time for a move! I opted for a change of tactics also, switching to solid pva bags. Within three hours of moving I received a take and landed a lovely 23lbs 4oz mirror. Soon after recasting, the same rod was away resulting in a stunning 25lbs 1oz common. The successful setup consisted of the ever reliable 12lb Pro Light Blend main line, a 4 foot Mirage fluorocarbon leader, 2.5 oz flat pear inline lead, 3 inches of 15lb silt coloured Trickster Heavy hook link attached to an ever faithful Covert continental Mugga. I used a small solid bag which was filled up with crushed CC Moore Equinox boilies and the hook bait was again an 8mm Mini Bites pop up.