I sat there frowning as I pondered my next move and how I could possibly recover from the metaphorical check mate that angling leviathan ‘Dominator’ Dave Finn and Ed ‘the Crow’ Wade had cleverly contrived to wrestle me into. If we were wrestlers in a ring, then it would be fair to say that the Little Lake’s heavy weight A-team were taking it in turns to hold me down whilst the other did a belly flop on me!

The atmosphere was admittedly tinged with a touch of belligerent sarcasm as the guys used their conjoined might to let me know (in no uncertain terms) that they didn’t want a third person in the Little Lake for when it re-opened the following morning at 5AM. I was being playful mind, and kept implying that I would just ‘nip into the reeds at the top end’. The suggestion wasn’t very well received, especially by Ed who wanted to fish a rod up that way.

In the end I tried the pity ruse and sat there with my bottom lip quivering (hoping that they would feel sorry for me) as there were loads of fish evident in the little lake, as a number of the lake’s carp had taken up residence away from the angler pressure out in the main lake, that had been fishing very patchy for weeks.

The thing was they had a point about a third person being in there. Had the little lake still had access from all 3 banks it would just about be Ok for 3 anglers, but realistically I knew from the outset that I would necessarily/inevitably concede and go elsewhere on the lake… At least for now.

I think that the final straw was when KKK’ said he would be ‘furious’ if it was him (when I woke him up for a chat at midnight) and you know what – he was dead right. So, unless I was actually invited to join them then they would have some quality time together to snuggle (or whatever sordid acts of depravity they do when no one is nearby). So that was that and it was time to walk – and I started my first circuit just before midnight.

By the time I’d slowly walked to Animal Farm and back tracked again to watch the quieter end of the lake it was nearly 2 and after a bit of miscommunication with Ed (I though he said he only had one night so was going to camp nearby and wait for him to go) I took a helpful hint from Kris to drop into a quiet corner swim in Bramble Bay, in a swim called ‘The Up and Over’.

A fish had shown in the deep snaggy corner on dusk so that would do for a few hours. A few hours sleep and I swung my legs out the Carp Duvet and off the bedchair. I felt twisted inside, through sleep deprivation, but was motivated to get up and look as the night had been quiet, bar a couple of carpy sounding sloshes in the corner. Just about enough of a sign for the first night, but maybe not enough for 2.

I wandered down the bank to get a better look at some bubblers and noticed at least a dozen patches of bubbles coming up in front of The ‘New Swim’. They didn’t all look carp, some were quite diminutive, so I figured they were Tinca’s, but some definitely looked frothy and streaky like carp foraging so I quickly moved my gear along one swim – as I had the day booked on A/L – and chucked out three fresh hookbaits with stringers and crashed out, dozing for the afternoon.

When I awoke there were still a couple of bubblers and ‘Diamond Geezer’ Steve was quietly setting up opposite to cover the main channel out the bay. There were a couple of bubblers still but activity had tailed off and I felt tired and deflated. You know when it’s not right but it was late and I elected to stay put on the off chance something would come back to browse the candy floss weed that was quite prolific in the bay.

Flap flap – quack quack – splash splash… A group of noisy Egyptian geese were rioting all over my hook baits! Flapping across the lake and noisily diving in a bid to escape from one another. ##ck this!

It was 5:30 and I started packing up immediately with an idea in mind. I’d stop off to see Ed on the way out and if he was hauling and nobody was waiting for the swim I would take the option dive in and take another day’s A/L! If not I would be in GT HQ by 8:30 as planned. When I walked into the Little Lake haulers swim and immediately noticed a wet mat and sling. The choice was made…

I’d just have to make myself scarce for a few hours and I sat and patted Frankie (he’s a lovely dog) and relayed my plans leaving my barrow behind the main swim until Ed’s departure. I went for another circuit in the hope of seeing something despite the stale NE wind and high cloud. Ed had hooked another one by the time I got back so I quickly went home for a shower and to grab food.

A last, 2 nights after initially trying to get in the zone I had hopped into the Little Lake and I couldn’t wait to get the rods in. I had 1 night to nick a bite and ‘save’ the session. Luckily I didn’t have to wait that long. By 7 in the evening the left hand rod pulled round (locked up solid) and I walked backwards pulling at maximum compression to use draw the fish away from the snaggy bush. It just made it into the outer branches and the hook pulled… DOH!

I constructed a couple of fresh Ronnies with Jason H’s delicious super sharp hand honed Mugga babies and tied a 25lb Ultra Skin hooklink to one; baiting it with a 12mm Carp Company Nut Mix pop ready to chuck it back out. First, I nipped round and plopped 20 Nut Mix 16mm freebies in nice and accurately. The recast went in perfectly with the 2 ounce Distance Pear flying out just far enough so the Mirage met the clip nicely, laying the rig in. Job done, I sat back cursing myself for fluffing up the first chance.

At midnight the same rod pulled round and this time I made no mistake and walked the fish straight away from the far bank without any issues (low stretch in Fluoro has its uses). I waded out and played a very hard fighting fish for about 20 minutes before it conceded and rolled into the net. I got excited thinking it was bigger than it was as it was a breamy shaped twisted back 34lb ghostie – better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick – and I roused ‘NTC’ (the lovely Gav Neil) to do the honours with the camera.

The rod went back out but I set the alarm for fist light as I wasn’t sure if it landed tight to the bush in the dark – as it turned out when I reeled in at 4:30 the line came in from just off to one side so I put a fresh hookbait on, re-baited the spot and put it out first time. I was back on high alert, as fishing for these monsters in this manner scares the living crap out of me!

Diamond Geezer was sat in my swim at just past 10:30 when the middle rod pulled violently up and another walk back up the slope and short energetic battle saw a cheeky 22lb common in the net. He was waiting to slip in behind me (oo err Mrs) and when he went for breakie he joked that I would have one by the time he got back.

20 minutes later the productive left hand rod pulled round one last time and again the well practiced walk back drew the fish away from danger and another spirited battle saw a standard 31lb Little Lake common roll into the net. Happy days!

The session had come good in the last 24 hours as I had finally found my way into the right zone – which just reinforces how important it is to be in the right part of any lake. As suspected, the fish seem to have bumped out of their temporary sanctuary after the first couple of nights of pressure, but my session was done and it would be ‘start all over again’ next time.

Finally I need to say ‘God bless Mr G’ for letting me have the Friday off at short notice, as there were no way I would have got in the Little Lake on Friday evening after a day in work. Thanks Boss(and happy birthday)!