After enjoying a bit of success on my last session a couple of weeks ago, my confidence was where it needed to be and I couldn’t wait to be back down the park. I had no idea how the lake had been fishing or what had been out; and to be fair I wasn’t fussed because I was now armed with some of the new Covert Dark Mugga hooks and the ever faithful CC Moore Pacific Tuna and I had a plan that had worked previously.
A surprisingly drama-free journey after work saw me arrive at the lake with plenty of time before it got dark, but also not another angler in sight! Again, I was in no rush to get set up, at least until I was happy I was on fish. There was a stern south westerly breeze pushing into the top end of the lake so my attention was drawn to this area, thinking the fish will be enjoying the turbulent, oxygenated water. It was difficult to see and hear anything with the combination of ripples and wind but I was convinced I saw subtle signs of fish poking their heads out amongst the choppy waves. A quick check with the weather forecast revealed that the wind was due to be blowy all night so I settled for this area with a plan to move the following morning if I hadn’t seen anything worth staying put for.
Whilst setting up the camp I was getting frustrated with missing ‘sloshers’ (if you know what I mean) and could never tell whether the noises were carp or tench. It seemed every time I took my eyes off the water to do something I would miss what they were. The night passed with not so much as a liner, so mid-morning I decided to pack up and get on my toes to find a better opportunity. On one of my laps I stopped to talk to one of the bailiffs who was fishing in another bay (in the hope of a brew, but no such luck!). Further along from him there is a tree line of snags that the carp like to get in to sunbathe, however upon closer investigation I could see there was in fact a set of bubbles that looked like a carp was very likely to be the main culprit. That was all I needed to see and was quickstepping the barrow round to the swim that had access to this area.
I had only seen the one set of bubbles, so I decided to only fish with one rod for the afternoon to keep the disturbance to a minimum and not risk spooking any other fish that were present. It took two casts to get the rod tight enough to a little opening in a bush where I’d seen the activity; I just hoped that it wasn’t too much commotion.
I wasn’t 100% sure what I was fishing over so using a light lead combined with my favoured multi rig consisting of a CC Moore Pacific Tuna White pop-up and size 4 Covert Dark Mugga hook. I introduced just a few crushed up Pacific Tuna boilies around the hook bait to try and enhance a small area to feed on where my hook bait was poised.
Well the stealthy tactics paid off handsomely when the bobbin pulled up tight to the ATTs and I was in! Initially, for a split second I thought I had just had my pants pulled down because there was no movement but gradually a heavy weight started to kite powerfully along the snags out towards the windswept Bramble Bay.
I felt like I was in a game of tug of war with this creature and couldn’t gain an inch! My first thoughts were that I was in battle with one of the big nutty ghostie’s, but as I slowly coaxed it in it rolled and I caught a glimpse of the old battle scar on its flank – a scare that belonged to only one fish of the pond, the Ulcer Fish.
At this point I didn’t know whether to remain calm, shake to pieces or cry, so I’m pretty sure I did a combination of all! Knowing that this fish was over 58lb the last time it was out was not helping but the leviathan wallowed over the net cord and the game was up. I gave out the shout that nobody heard, so I secured the fish safely and made the necessary phone calls to get some help with photos and weighing. Up she went on the scales to reveal a weight of 54lb 4oz, which was a new PB and one of the A Team crossed off the list. To say I was happy would an understatement!