My angling has taken a different turn of late. Whilst I have still been angling on the hallowed banks of the famous Wellington Country Park estate lake I’ve necessarily been accompanied by ‘Kev the Destroyer’, my uber lush 10 month old chocolate brained (and furred) Labrador. Let’s just say he was a bit of a naughty boy a couple of weeks ago, so the time had come for me to MAN UP and take the Lad back to the lake a little bit more regularly; just to give TLSW a well deserved break from incessant weekend dog duty! He’s a lovely natured dog, but the dual affect of ‘puberty’ and teething has meant Tracy had borne the brunt of his hormonally driven mischievous side (and my dining room furniture the brunt of teething) and it was my turn to instead.

Well, with a Friday booked off on annual leave and we arrived at the lake well after dark on Thursday evening ready for a walk about. Luckily, at this time of the year the mid/late evening period corresponds with fish activity on many waters, and there’s tangible benefit in arriving well after dark if you’re willing to walk and use your eyes and ears.

We slowly trundled around the lake until we eventually made it round to see the charming new member Gavin Neil (aka ‘NTC’) in Pole Position and sat down for a much needed cuppa and a chinwag. After just a few minutes a carp noisily slopped out 50-60 yards in front of the Wides Swim, so I finished off my brew and we trundled round to set up on the fish.

My boy Kev doesn’t like it if I ignore him much, and deems casting, baiting or anything that involves me not mollycoddling him as adequate reason to let out quiet grumbles followed by a baritone ‘WOOOF’ just to remind me he’s there, as if I can miss a 6 stone puppy! The quiet evening was punctuated by an echoing woof more than a couple of times!

As I set up, fish showed here and there in front of me, and I ended up with three Clone rigs with balanced hook baits and stringers flopped into areas where fish had shown. In fact, the activity became much more focused directly in front of the swim after midnight and I ended up whipping one of the rods in and putting a choddy amongst the frolicking carp.

Sharing a standard sized Levelite with a 75lb Braaaaaa’n Baby (Kev) meant a slightly awkward night’s sleep. A position that was hugely exacerbated by the continued carp activity that kept me awake and on tenterhooks most of the night! Finally at 6:30 the recast middle rod bounced a couple of times and the ATT Receiver let out a series of bleeps as something picked up the recast chod rig. The Bug bobbin bounced up and down in a typical chod bite fashion, but by the time I clambered over the hound and got to the rod, it was settling. I was pretty sure it was a fish pick up and simply thought ‘bugger!’.

After the activity I stayed put for a rare second night in the same swim but having only heard a couple of shows and having scattered a couple of hundred baits over the area I suddenly had the urge to move. If they were still there I would have heard more and received the same tell-tale liner activity I had been getting all Thursday night (single bleeps as the fish just nudged the line lifting the Nano Bugs).

In the morning I wandered the dog around the lake for a while in a glorious empty park, just looking for a sign. Having endured the incessant daytime din of thousands of visitors (and all the younger kids are inevitably crying by the time they get half way round the lake) the utter unmitigated bliss when the Country Park closes is hard to convey… It’s simply lovely.

In the end I packed up (cue baritone woofs) and headed round to ‘The Hole in the Bush’, which is a central swim that allows great access to the middle zone of the lake and the productive margins of the island at about 130 – 135 yards. I had the big boy 13ft Century SP rods with me for a change and I was happy to soak a hookbait on a clone rig out there for a night – it would be rude not too, as a couple of fish had been seen in the vicinity over the course of the last couple of days.

Two nights of sharing my sleeping bag with Kev was enough for me and whilst he was astonishingly well behaved and wonderful company, it was also the day before Guy Fawkes and forecast to be 2C overnight. So I asked the wife to meet me at the gate and take him home (where he slept constantly until I got home the following lunch time) and I could concentrate on fishing. As it turned out this all ran late, like it does, and I only just beat darkness, walloping one rod out to the island on ‘maximum attack’. Another out in the middle zone in the golden triangle between The Bush, Lauries and Goose and the third round on the infamous Gaskin spot, on my side of the Alcove.

The island rod had about 50 x 20mm’ers scattered as far as I could get them with a Pro-pela, which was ‘nearby’, whilst the other two rods had about a hundred free baits spread around each. Enough for a bite, but I feared I maybe had gone OTT yet again. As usual I had an absolutely minging headache from too little sleep and not enough food and drink, so I just wanted to consume a sumptuous feast and crash out! Something I duly did and I was chilling in bed by 9’ish, finally able to lie down comfortably without Kev taking up 2/3 of the room!

I woke with a start, the left hand (island) rod was bleeping as a fish drew line slowly off a tight clutch and I picked up the rod feeling that satisfying heavy weight of a big fish moving at range. It never fails to enthral or scintillate! After a slow heavy fight I soon had what looked like a good fish on a short line and wallowing as I teased it into the net – God bless the super moon! I really didn’t think there was really much hope of a bite in the clear bright conditions but it just shows that sometimes perseverance is key.

I got my torch and looked and recognised the fish as being either Lumpy or Lumpy’s Mate and weighing the lump at 45lb confirmed it was Lumpy herself! A new one and as I always say ‘any new one will do’… The lovely ‘Spud’ fishing in Lauries woke up immediately to his phone ringing and kindly agreed to pop round to do the pictures straight away (even though it was just before 2 in the morning) and after a couple of snaps of each side I slid this historic old minger back into the water no worse for wear after her bankside visit. I knew 100% that no matter how careful we were with the pictures there was no way of making this one pretty and subsequently decided on a quick release.

What a couple of mingers (Me and the fish)! Despite the fishes ‘characterful’ looks I would be lying if I pretended I wasn’t thrilled to the point of little sleep being gained that night – buzzed at another capture from the scintillating Park Lake! With ‘show season’ almost upon us, each and every bite is particularly welcome, especially as it could be my last before a winter of tedious labour rather than fishing for a winter whacker on my weekends.

Tight Lines, Lewis.