Towards the end of the summer I fished several sessions on Hardwick Smiths at the famous Linear Fisheries complex. I had yet to fish Hardwick Smiths and knew very little about the place, so after speaking to a couple of people I had been convinced to give it a go.

I finished work on Sunday afternoon and headed straight to the lake. When I arrived it was apparent that most of the fish were held up in a shallow corner. Unsurprisingly most of the swims that covered this area of the lake were already taken, so I ended up fishing quite away from the main bulk of the fish. I knew that someone would be moving in the morning and I hoped I slot in behind them in the hope of catching a couple.

That didn’t happen and during the course of the night the fish moved out of the bay and into the open water right on top of me. How’s your luck, I’d never seen the lake and had very little information and huge group of fish turn up. Now I just had to catch them.

Hardwick is up and down like an egg box, if you don’t know the lake a marker float is crucial. A distance of 12 feet can mean the difference between fishing in 10 foot and 40foot, therefore accuracy is key. The only other piece of information I had was that they liked bait. Once I had found the spot I decided to put roughly 5kg of Manila and corn out and rest the swim for a few hours. On my return to the swim I cast the rods out to the spot and before I had a chance to cast the second out the first rod was away. Once the fish was safely nestled in the bottom of the net, I continued to cast the remaining rods out. Before I had a chance to weigh and photograph the fish the remaining rods both melted off. There was clearly a lot of fish in front of me and they wanted to eat. During the session I managed a further sixteen fish including two 28lb mirrors and plenty of other stunning carp.

I used Garner Mirage fluorocarbon main line, brown Camflex Leadcore, Covert Lead Clips and Tail Rubbers. I started the session using the Ronnie Rig with a 14mm Signature pop up. However, my match angler mind took over and I wanted to fine tune my fishing as I thought I should be getting quicker bites. I decided to fish one rod on a Ronnie Rig and one on a simple wafter rig tied using 25lb brown Ultra Skin and a super sharp size 6 Covert Dark Mugga with Sticky Pineapple wafter. It turned out I could get quicker bites using this rig and to every fish I had on the Ronnie Rig I had 3-4 fish on the wafter rig.

Several weeks later I decided on a return trip. I turned up after dark and started the session in a swim known as the Christmas Tree. When I woke in the morning it was clear that I had chosen the wrong end of the lake. There was a huge number of fish showing and fizzing at the complete opposite end of the lake. I moved onto the fish, however that day and night nothing happened. I had to wait until the following morning to receive my first bite, which was shortly followed by eight others including three 30’s up to 35lb. A mixture of Manila, corn and simple wafter rigs again did the damage. All the fish caught were stunning and in great condition and Hardwick Smith comes highly recommended, I can’t wait to return.