During late spring and early summer months, I decided to spend the majority of my time on my local club water. After having a memorable spring landing the biggest known resident from the complex’s ‘Middle Lake’ I decided to spend the rest of the year on the ‘Back Lake’ as there are a lot of fish in venue that I dearly wanted to catch. There were around five or six fish that stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the venues stock and I was hoping that after a bit of effort, one or two might grace my net. My approach was simple and involved around to pre-baiting three or four different swims with a good quality food bait. I hoped that by baiting more than one swim, it would give me several different options when arriving after school on a Friday. The bait I decided to introduce was a new fishmeal from Active Bait Solutions, which is very rich in flavour. At this time I still hadn’t finished my exams at school, so I took my revision books along with me and did some revision on the bank at weekends.

My first session coincided with high pressure and there was one swim that I knew responded well to these conditions. This swim also has its own little bit of water where no lines can interfere and was also one of the chosen swims I had been priming. As I arrived I soon realised it was very busy and I unloaded the car and got the kit onto the barrow as quickly as possible. As I headed past the first lake, I saw two people bivvied up and a further three on ‘The Middle Lake’ so I presumed ‘The Back Lake’ would be packed.

I finally got round to the swim I wanted and watched the water for around twenty minutes. I spotted a few fish move just off the lily pads and a few in the corner off the island to my right. There were obviously fish in the area, so I decided to unload the barrow and get the rods sorted. I opted to use hinged stiff rigs on both rods over a light scattering of boilies. When tying my hinged stiff rigs I prefer to use an Ultra Skin boom section when the lakebed is scruffy. Not only does it sit better over any debris, but it also has the added benefits of blending in well and has good sinking properties too. My end sections were tied using 20lb Trip Wire and a size 6 Covert Incizor. In my opinion Incizor’s are definitely one of the best hooks around and have played a massive part in my fishing this year. They are such a versatile hook pattern that I use them for almost every rig presentation nowadays.

Unsurprisingly the activity ceased after getting the rods out. I woke up at first light as that is when I seem to get most of my bites from this swim. After half hour of watching the water I saw a few fish bubbling and one crash out. Soon after, the bobbin on the left hand pulled to the top and the rod went into meltdown. After a good fight, I managed to slip the net under a lovely 21lb+ mirror.

As it started to warm up I saw a few fish cruising around the island, so I placed a rod closer to the island, further up the shelf in the shallower water where I thought I would be more likely to get a bite. It proved a good move as I didn’t have to wait long before the hookbait was picked up. After an epic battle I finally had the fish in my net and it looked a good one too. After weighing the fish and getting some photos the fish went 27lb+ and was one of the fish I wanted as it is such a good looking fish.

Another hour passed and I started to spot the odd fish cruising around the island and it wasn’t long until I was into another hard fighting fish. After a good battle, I slipped the net under another twenty pound plus mirror. After slipping the fish back and getting the rod out, the swim went quiet.

The following morning I was up at first light and it was about the same time as the previous morning when the rod was away again. After a short battle I slipped the net under a cracking looking ghostie and after a few quick pictures, we weighed the fish at 22lb. That was the last of the action for the rest of the session, but I was chuffed with how the session had gone.

The following weekend I was out on the bank again and managed to get back into the same swim again. I soon had three rods back out on the same spots and got my head down for some much needed sleep. At around 3:30am I was woken by a screaming run and pulled into what felt like a small carp or bream at first. As the fish got closer towards me it woke up and ended up giving me an epic battle. After a further 10 minutes I managed to slip the net under the fish and after grabbing my head torch, I peered into the net and noticed that I had caught ‘The Big Ghostie’ which was one of the fish I really wanted. The fish tipped the scales at 28lb+ and rounded off a great couple of weeks fishing. After doing a couple of quick pictures, I gently slipped her back proving effort really does equal reward.