Some of you guys will already consider moon phases as being important when it comes to arranging holiday and getting out on the bank. The debate on whether the moon phase has a direct impact on the fish we angle for has been raging for many years and both sides seem to be able to offer some statistical evidence leaning one way or the other.

Personally I have always erred on the side of their being an indirect link, that given half decent weather conditions, a positive moon phase seems to edge the odds of the big fish making a mistake in our favour. I have difficulty rationalising the logic that there is any kind tidal influence, but we know with certainty how most invertebrates seem to be tuned into moon phases.

Anyway it’s been a while since I have scrawled anything about my angling. It’s not been utterly bereft of any captures, though those few bites I have extracted have tended to be the more modest samples of Welly’s inhabitants, scratching bites on over nighters during a period when the majority of bites have seemingly come mid afternoon is par for the course. If that’s when you can fish, then that’s when you can fish and these patterns are normally only temporary in the broad time scale. All these efforts had resulted in a mid thirty ghostie and a 27lb mirror since I last wrote which was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

This weekend I had a horrific chore to complete at home – namely tiling my bathroom – so I stayed indoors Saturday day time and cracked on and did as much as I could bear before begging TLSW to let me go, after all by this time in the evening I was as grumpy as her! It was also my daughter’s birthday, but as she had been out all day and had a friend staying I thought it was probably safer to usher myself out the door where I couldn’t say anything that could upset the two wonderful women in my life.

Subsequently, I got sown the lake for 7:30pm after an arduous 10 minute drive (LOL) and the first sight of the car park indicated that it was relatively quiet for a weekend. Rather than jump in a plot I spent the next 1 ½ hours having a little mooch about, but the fish were not showing anywhere so I opted for night in the ‘Up and Over’ in Bramble Bay. It’s a sheltered (warm) snaggy deep corner that tends to hold a couple of resident fish, but also an area that the fish have been visiting occasionally over the last few weeks and I guessed with the lack of fish activity in the main lake it would be worth a go.

During the night I heard a really good fish lump out in the corner to my right and also had the occasional nudge on the slack Mirage, which is always a really good sign that there is a fish or two nosing about in the sediment.

It was getting late by the time I pushed the Barrow into the swim. As I cast out my first rod the light was already going and by the time I had honed the third rig and flicked it out with a 3 bait stringer attached and a 12mm pink Caviar and Cranberry pop up on Ronnie, it was pitch black and I proceeded to fire in about 100 boilies roughly over the middle rod positioned in a silty gully at 35 yards. The left and right hand rods had a few halved boilies dropped close to the hookbaits, all very easy and accurate due to their proximity to the bank.

I woke at about 6:30, after a chilly 5C night under the stars, and slowly started tidying bits away so I could make a hasty exit at 9 when the public are allowed entry into the park. Fortuitously, at 7:30am the middle rod pulled tight and whizzed off taking line of a relatively tight clutch! I had a big tree line over to my right and in the end I had to be quite forceful to stop the fish from making it all the way there, which would have been a good 35 yard dash and would have almost certainly ended in catastrophe!

After that it kited hard right and ended right down in the corner and it was a ‘submerge the rod’ and cajole the fish back down the tree line job! Dear god, I hate the buffered vagueness playing a fish like this gives…

Luckily it never caught up once and a few minutes later I rolled a nice looking two tone mirror into the waiting net! I recognised her as a fish I had captured on my first year form the swim next door (quite territorial one this) and she looked in great condition so I called the Gaskinator could snap a photo or two for me. In the end we elected for path shots that Dave swears blind are ‘carpy’, and as he didn’t have a nasty Jimmy shirt on I just went with it.

The other usual Sunday morning arrivals all turned up including the goodly Dr Dave, Darren Belton and his guest Rob Marsh and I got myself off home to walk my hound, do some more DIY (YUK!) and go out for dinner with the girls. Much later, after enjoying a curry that turned out to be a bit fiery, I arrived back at the lake and just made it to the hut. Dear god I hoped I would last the night even after the contortions and groans that emanated from the throne room!

Another dark set up, and as I readied the rods as quietly as I could I heard a few fish show in the middle of the bay and then a clutch going for a few seconds before a buzzer burst into life animating movement form the bivvy. I knew that ‘Greg’s Girlfriend’ (Darren) was on Daisy and a short while later news came through that he had caught the awesome/magnificent Ulcer Fish at 58lb 12oz! A new PB and to one of the true gentlemen of a super friendly syndicate, it’s always nice when nice people catch.

I finished doing my rods and put the RHR down to Turtle Corner again (I had to, after hearing that chunk in the night) and then putting the left and middle out near where I had caught from in the morning. This time I scattered about a kilo of mixed 20mm boilies out with the catapult, spreading them between the two Ronnies (boom boom).

It was late by the time my chores were completed so I dived into bed around midnight and awoke to a toner at just before 6. Once again the fish went for it, bulldozing over towards the snags over to the right and then right into Turtle corner. Luckily, the super reliable size 4 Mugga did the job and a better fish rolled into the net. I weighed her and settled her in the retainer and messaged Alan to let him know I had ‘one in the slammer’ so he could get to the park a bit earlier for our scheduled video day (media Monday’s as they are known in the office).

Alan arrived at the park in good time – nice and early – and we got the fish safely photographed and returned and set about doing a few product videos.

Late in the afternoon, the legend that is Edwardo Wade arrived and as he did ‘Good Looking Nick’ appeared and I got handed an iPhone. It was Darren and I was dumfounded by what he had to say next. “I’ve just caught Little Big Head, and it’s in the retainer!” Oh my, oh my, oh my…

That was another of the big Welly 4, and he’d braced it that with Ulcer in less than 24 hours! Nick and I popped round and Ed, Rob and Darren were all ready to go so I was happy to goal keep, run and get water and just soak up the magnitude of the capture! She weighed in at 56lb 12oz and the two carp certainly constitute the biggest UK brace ever by some margin. Absolutely mind bending.

Sometimes just being there to help and witnessing angling history like this really blows you away. God only knows how Darren is feeling. Elated I would hazard a guess. The new moon phase had done the whackers again, and both The Turtle and Willow are both still due a capture. Perhaps the next decent moon phase will be the one.

This weekend just reinforced my belief in the Full and New Moons as these phases certainly seem to throw up the monsters at Welly and at most other big fish waters I know.