After a crazy 4 months at work, it felt great to finally get the rods out again during my long holiday.
I arrived at the lake late Monday evening, the air pressure was sky high and the sun was blazing down. Pegs 1 & 9 both allow access to the Road Bank, which is fully tree lined and provides the fish snags and cover. It’s got EPIC big fish form, so it’s always worth a go in the rubbish weather. With no wind I thought my best shot was to get the rods in tight and hope a few fish were tucked up feeling safe within the sanctuary covered by peg 9. As the weather was poor, I did not expect much to happen, truth be told.
Due to the bottom being almost uniform and silty, my rig choice does not really differ all that much from swim to swim on this venue. A 1 metre long Camflex Leadfree leader was fished helicopter style combined with a 3oz flat pear. Due to the proximity of the snags, and the fact that the fish have soft mouths and fight like crazy, I always use our ‘Drop Out Chod Clips ‘ to ensure the lead will eject if snagged.
Rig choice was a tried and tested one for me, a rig that I have used exclusively for a long time now. It’s a combi rig that is about 8 inches long in total; comprising a 6 inch section of 15lb Subterfuge Fluorocarbon connected to a couple of inches of 25lb Trickster Heavy braid. The set up was fished blow-back style, incorporating a size 8 Covert Dark Mugga and small section of Supa Shrink Tube. The hookbait of choice was a whittled down Mainline boilie, topped off with half a yellow topper.
My baiting approach was also very simple; two large handful of chopped boilie, 1/4 tin of sweetcorn and a good handful of mixed pellets (that I had boosted in various Mainline liquids).
Although the lake now holds a very good head of fish (about a dozen 30s with over 70 x 20s, which for this area is amazing). Despite the number of fish I’ve never found fishing for more than one bite at a time to be that productive on here!
I fished Monday and Tuesday nights in peg 9 for nothing at all. With a big SW wind due to arrive early Wednesday morning I was already packed up on Tuesday night ready for an early morning move into Peg 1 first thing. As it’s the closest swim to the car park, it does get fished a lot but if it’s good for a bite (the impending weather was perfect) then you have got to move.
By 9am the rods were out and on the money. The left rod was fished tight to the pads; the centre was out in open water and the right was tucked in tight under a canopy on the road bank. As expected right on queue the big SW wind came and the air pressure started to drop rapidly. As Dan (the owner) walked into the swim, my left hand pads rod was away. With him and the kids watching, I slipped the net under a mint 27lb common.
The weather continued, and just on dark I had a bite on the left rod but for some rare reason it came off. The night passed uneventfully and the next day the weather went back to high pressure and clear sky’s… I knew the chance of a bite was very slim indeed. The fish were in the area but any significant feeding was probably out the question. I watched and contemplated a move, but I knew Friday evening/Saturday was going to be the same weather as the Wednesday. I knew that if I did move out then there would be no chance of getting back in peg 1, and consequently I decided to go home on the Friday morning for a shower and wash all my clothes, then come back and get the rods out.
The lake was busy, as the weekenders had started turning up, and I think that all the leads going in pushed the fish into me while I was away. I was back by 1pm and got the rods out quickly and with minimal disturbance and just before dark, the right hand rod was away and a mint mid 20 heavily plated mirror was in the net.
The night once again passed with no action and on Saturday morning, on first light, the rods went back out for the day. I don’t normally do that, but I needed to be sure everything was perfect ready for the rain and pressure drop that was due to arrive.
The weather again landed right on time and so did the fish. At about 7am I landed a lovely mid 20 common from the pads. Then around 11am a lovely long mid 20 mirror from the road bank. Then the best of the day came at around 3pm in the afternoon; a stunning upper 20 mirror came gurgling over the net cord. The last bite of the day was around 6PM and resulted in a really mint low 20lb mirror that had not been out for almost three years.
I thought about going home on the Sunday but with that 40lb’er due out and the fact I had nothing else to do, I decided to stay on.
The weather turned rubbish again on Sunday and resulted in a blank night. I wanted to give the swim a rest so I decided to go under the stars on the opposite side of the lake for the night. As I had not had any night action, I felt the fish could be moving out during the hours of darkness, so going to another area was worth a shout. It couldn’t do any harm and with the weather again coming in big time early on Monday morning, it might encourage more fish to enter the swim without lines in the water.
Just before first light I moved back into peg 1 after yet another blank night. A short while later the light the wind turned back to a big SW and the rain started to come down. With the weather being perfect, I sat with a brew in hand and tucked into a few cheeky Ginger Nut biscuits. With no phone to keep me entertained (I’d dropped it again) I picked up a Carpology magazine and had had a good flick though while drinking yet another brew. Half way through a feature the ATT receiver went crazy! I looked through the watery haze as I jumped to my feet to see the right hand rod hooped right round, clearly connected to a fish.
I quickly lifted into a solid fish that decided to try and go up the snaggy road-bank. From the moment I hooked the fish, I knew it was a good fish, just a solid weight holding deep. I could see it looked a long fish too, but it never did it crossed my mind that I could be connected to the biggest resident in the lake. After a strong fight, he came up and I netted what looked a very good fish.
In typical Rick style, I bit the leader clean off and got another rig back on the spot in hope of another bite. It was almost like I did not want to look in the net to see what it was! I’ve dreamt about catching a Somerset 40 for 10 years, and the fact that we probably have than 5 in the whole county makes it even more rewarding.
After another brew, the moment finally came as I lifted him out. Soon as I lifted the net I knew exactly what fish it was – it was the Long Common – and the question was ‘would it go over 40lb for the very first time creating a new lake record? I called my good mate Charlie over and we quickly weighed it in and it was over 40lb!
I couldn’t stop shaking and for the first time EVER I was speechless. The phone calls went out and within an hour the lakes bailiffs and Dan was in the swim ready for the grand moment. It was a special moment that I will never forget and must say a very big thanks to Dan for making it to the lake considering how unwell he was on the day.
At 40lb 12oz, my dreams came true and I’d finally got my prize. My 21st syndicate carp of the season and it was the 40lber. Later that day, I had another bite from the same rod, this time a cracking low 30lb common. It was a dream came true that day and I even won a free ticket for next year for catching our first 40!
Tuesday morning I decided to call it a day, I cut the syndicate lawn and headed home once again. Set to return in a few days to try and catch an elusive common that could be equally as big… Terry’s common, I’m coming for you next ;)