My fishing has taken a back seat of late as we had the sad news that my Gran was loosing her battle with cancer and there was nothing more they could do. My family and I were all devastated and understandably fishing was the last thing on my mind. On the couple of occasions I did go I never felt I actually tried very hard or put any effort in to my angling as I couldn’t concentrate. My Gran sadly passed away a couple of months later and we had a family holiday a month after that in Portugal. It was great spending quality time together after everything had settled and we were all dealing to cope with what had happened. I did some fishing off the shore whilst there and caught lots of different species on light tackle which was great fun and really got me thinking about my angling once I got back.

I had recently acquired a ticket for a new water and had managed a couple of trips before I went on holiday, but despite seeing fish on each occasion I was yet to catch anything other than the odd big tench or bream. The lake is very shallow in the summer months and some of the bars only have inches of water on them making it tricky to locate fishable spots. The bars are also extremely sharp in places and cut-offs are common, so many anglers choose to fish the venue in the winter and spring once normal levels return. I wanted to try and learn as much as possible before they all arrived and hopefully catch one or two as well along the way.

My next trip I set up in an area I hadn’t fished before after seeing a few tails out over the very shallow bars the fish were moving along. After a little leading around I managed to locate a deeper area of around six and a half foot just off the right of one of the bars, which also offered a semi decent line lay. I decided to give them a fairly decent hit of bait as it just felt right for it with the activity I had seen whilst setting up. I was fishing with snowman rigs over the top and the first bite came around 10pm from a 12lb bream that had decided to hang itself and then get mixed up in my other two lines. It was the last thing I needed after just climbing into the bag but after re-wrapping all of the rods and going through the motions I was confident I was fishing effectively again. I fell asleep soon after and awoke around 6:30am slightly disappointed nothing had happened.

As the sun started to climb higher in the sky I started to notice the odd tail again as the fish started to move around the shallow bars and a few appeared to get to where my spot was and disappear as if they were dropping down on the bait. Around 9am my middle rod went into meltdown and I clearly had my first carp on as it powered off at a crazy speed. I managed to turn the fish and had it heading back towards me when it started kitting to my right and a very shallow bar between me and the island. The fish was up near the surface as it moved across the shallow water and I could make out a very long, dark and scaley mirror. I had no option but to clamp down on the fish before it cut me off and I did manage to turn it for a second but the hook pulled and I was gutted to say the least. I never like loosing fish but loosing your first is a real kick in the teeth!

I got the rod back out and it was once again singing its merry tune only a short while later. Thankfully everything went to plan this time around and I netted a lovely 14lb 40z mirror, which I thought was a stockie to begin with but later turned out to be an old original. I had been using size 6 Covert Incizors for my rigs with 25lb Ultra Skin but decided for my next trip I was going to up my hook to a size 4 Covert Continental Mugga so I could afford to give them a bit more. I was really enjoying being back at square one again and having to work everything out rather than turning up and fishing the same old swims and routines I had fallen into. After clearing out the last of my Carp Company Caviar & Cranberry boilies from the freezer I was once again lake bound for two nights hoping to get in on some more action. I was pleasantly surprised to find there was only one other angler on the lake when I arrived and I had a good look around before deciding where to pitch up. I saw two or three shows in the central area of the lake and after a good scout about with the Seeker marker float I found a nice deep area that was clean enough to present a couple of rods on in the area I had seen the shows. I placed two of the Mugga snowman rigs over the bait and a single hinge rig just off to the left of the spot. I cant remember drifting off to sleep but the next thing I remember I was awoken to a take on my right hand rod around midnight. The fish fought like crazy from start to finish and I noticed it was an incredibly long common as it finally slipped over the net cord. I was shocked at how little it weighed upon lifting it onto my mat but although incredibly long it had no belly and was more of a torpedo which explained the power during the fight. I wasn’t at all bothered though as it was a lovely looking fish with an over-slung mouth and was nailed on the size four!

I had just drifted off after getting the rod sorted when the recast rod was away again with another angry carp that felt much heavier. The fight was slower with the fish kitting from left to right and it temporarily weeded me up behind a bar. It started moving again and all seemed to be going well when everything fell slack and I had been cut off by one of the bars. It was disappointing but there was nothing more I could have done so just got on with getting the rod back out. Nothing more had happened by around mid-day, so I decided to top up the spot and rest the swim for an hour whilst popping down the chippy for some lunch. On pulling back in to the car park I noticed the wind had swung and was now trickling nicely over my spot and on returning to my swim I saw one nut out over the area. I decided to wait a while before casting out again hoping it would allow them to gain some confidence in the spot and return with their friends in the hours of darkness.

After a few more Spombs to top up the spot I finally got the rods sorted during a break in the wind around 6pm. I sat watching the water that evening and saw a few more show in the general area and felt confident of another bite. At around 2am my middle rod signalled a take and I managed an old original linear weighing 21lb 8oz that was once again nailed on the size four. I managed to get back to sleep after re-doing the rod and awoke just before seven ready to do the pictures. Half way through doing some self takes another angler turned up and assisted with some pictures for me and told me he had caught the very same fish in 1989, so it was definitely an old one. At 9am the right hand rod was away but it cut me off a few moments after lifting the rod and that was the last of the action before I had to leave for other commitments.

I’m really enjoying my time on the new venue and enjoying having a new challenge to work at too, so hopefully I can keep piecing it together until I manage to make acquaintance with some of the lakes A team. It’s all a learning curve and I’m going to spool up with the ultra strong and abrasion resistant 20lb Hydro-Tuff before I return to try and reduce the cut-offs. I’ll let you know how it goes!