So, we’re well into Spring now; temperatures are soaring and the days are getting longer. Things are starting to come together nicely with a good few fish under my belt.My fishing started in earnest this year around mid Feb, I decided to stay local, in search of a few bites just to get back into the swing of things after a few months lay off due to combination of a long cold winter and family commitments. It started slowly but equally steadily; catching some lovely commons along the way and I really starting to get the buzz back to get out on some full bore angling after getting in tune with the lake and its inhabitants. This can be a key period of time, getting my carping head back on, building confidence, initiating ideas and putting plans into action.
March arrived and I felt a return to the syndicate (Swan Valley) was on the cards. It had produced a few isolated fish in milder weather and I wanted to get started, getting into the swing of it all and to try and get something going. My basic plan for the year was to stay mobile and do my best to seek my remaining target fish.
Well, on the first session I managed two bites. Unfortunately the first one came adrift due to a hook pull, but fortunately the second was safely banked and the subsequent battle had revealed the reason why I had lost the first chance. It turned out that that there was some really old tackle tethered under the treeline I was fishing against. Luckily the old line broke free and ended up hanging around the top of my Camflex leadcore leader.That first fish was a lovely dark mid-twenty mirror, still very much in its winter colours and leeched up that suggesting it had not long woken from a deep slumber over the freezing winter. The first bites came to a bright S4 pop up attached to a short ‘Multi-Chod’ fished over whole and crumbed 15mm ABS MGM. In all honesty, catching on my first night out was a pleasant surprise, a first for me on there!

Over the next couple of weeks, I worked my absolute socks off actively searching for fish or trying to stay on fish. I was keeping noise and casting to an absolute minimum, even placing subtle traps with the bait boat, but the lake was fishing slowly and bites were still hard to come by. I didn’t give up and kept plugging away and I was about to have a change of fortune.

After arriving down the lake at first light and doing a lap, looking for signs of carp, I found myself in the furthest point of the horseshoe shaped venue watching an absolutely awesome display. This well and truly got the juices flowing.

A friend (and bailiff) named Marco, was packing away from in the area of the lake where the carp were showing. Although he hadn’t caught anything overnight and I didn’t really want to jump in behind him, ‘you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth’; so I quickly barrowed my gear round and got quietly into position in the vacated swim.

Initially I just cast a single hook bait out towards the shows but another friend named John had seen what was going on and positioned himself in the next swim slightly further into open water. After that the fish started to show tight to the treeline, so I decided to reposition the hookbait and fish tight onto a couple of spots I had raked and kept clean over the winter in preparation for spring.

I opted for my custom bottom baits fished with a new rig using Ultra Skin Stiff and size 4 Covert Dark Chods, coupled with heavy 4oz Bolt Bombs to suit the clean hard gravel spots.

Only 10 minutes had passed after positioning the rod and the ATT sounded a violent take. I was on it in a flash and was bent into a nice common. After landing it we took a few pictures and quickly weighed in a reading of 22lb and back he went, no worse for wear.

Just after getting both rods out my phone rang and a friend had just landed one of the lakes jewels and required some assistance with the weighing and photographing. Of course I was only too happy to help even though I felt certain the swim had another morning bite in it. Oh well, never mind, I’m a believer in karma and that one good turn does another and all that.

After picturing the epic looking ‘Korda fish’ at 38lb 8oz I returned to my plot and put the rods out till lunch. With no more action forthcoming I wound in and went for a wander looking for any other opportunity.

After a couple of laps, I decided I was best staying where I was for the night and as luck would have it just before darkness fell I had another bite – only this time I was doing business with a hefty chunk of angry Mirror. I clamped down and gaining some control, dipping my rod deep into the margins and doing my best to keep it off some marginal snags, the pressure took its toll and slowly but surely a big Mirror rolled over the cord of my waiting net. I peered excitedly into the net and it looked very similar to a carp known as the ‘Snow Fish’ which goes about 42lb, so I put out the shout and my mate Will came around and lent me a hand caring for the fish whilst we did the pictures and weighing.

He instantly recognised it as an un-named mirror and he said this one’s gonna beat you up! It was indeed a really angry one, so with this in mind another member named Simon helped out and after a bit of pacifying and careful cradling a mighty mirror of 37lb 14oz allowed me a few pictures before being returning it back home.

By the time I’d readied the rod again it was pitch black, and despite others egging me on I decided to put the rod out at first light through fear of ending up in a tree or positioning it nowhere near the relatively small spot I had prepared. I still had one rod fishing so not all was lost.

That night I sat back and enjoyed the buzz. On first light I re-positioned the rod, and just like the first morning I was away again within minutes, this time a repeat capture of a 21-14 Mirror which is a really old gnarly fish, but a right ‘character’.

My time was running out, I generally get about 24 hrs a week, however I decided it was time my lad Stanley did his first night as the weather was mild. After some reassuring and persuasion my Mrs allowed us another night and despite not receiving any more bites he absolutely loved it! Since then he did another night on that was followed up by an afternoon’s Rudd fishing on a small pond that I first fished around 1989 as a young boy desperate to catch anything that swam with scales. It’s safe to say he caught a great deal more than me in 1989! We had around 50 small Rudd and he now thinks he’s like Bob Nudd on the pole, bless him.

Well the search continues for the big Common, my dream and desire is still very much alight.

Till next time… Tight lines