Sometimes it’s very easy to get in a flap about nothing! Take last week for instance…

The Long Suffering Wife and our (utter hero) daughter went off to sun themselves in Greece leaving me to fend for myself with my big slobbery soft arsed Milk Chocolate Labrador called Kev. So it was ‘home alone’ for the two of us last week with the wife giving strict instructions laying down acceptable behavioural and spending constraints. However, I found the prospect of fishing with my hound for 5 nights quite worrying; increasingly fretting that about the gigantic eating machine would possibly be picking up old rigs, causing disturbance and any other slightly paranoiac worry on the run up to the impending event.

Coincidentally, once a year we’re allowed by ‘de-management’ to take the option of a 5 nighter; so it was with some considerable trepidation that I wiled away the week at home and in the office tending to my canine paternal duties and keeping myself occupied (for some reason I don’t do sitting at home very well).
Unfortunately, I have been a bit remiss in terms of taking him this year, and as any experienced dog owning angler will know our 4 legged ‘fwends’ tend to get better and better in terms of bankside demeanour/behaviour the more you take them. Therein lay my small issue. Lush Kev is a big boy that is calm and quiet most the time but likes barking (in a deep baritone woof) when ‘daddy’ isn’t offering him his total attention.

That essentially means when I’m cooking and eating he’ll gee himself up trying to gain my attention with grumbling, head tilting, wobbling and generally looking super cute. This inevitably culminates in a deep resonating ‘woof’. He then barks when I’m reeling rigs in or baiting up, cooking or just doing stuff that isn’t Kev’centric (at least at the start of a session anyway).

That means he’s not what anyone would describe as the ideal companion if you’re fishing under the rod tips! With this in mind, and some inclement weather due I always knew this 5 nighter wouldn’t be the normal frenetic ‘run around’ frenzy. Instead I elected to start off the week, setting up on the Thursday evening after work, in The Grassy on the ‘Carp Bank’ next to my mate ‘Neill The Conveyencer’. The fact that the Carp Bank is well off the main path and there’s loads of room for me to exercise Kev without impeding on other syndicate members and paying park visitors is a positive Brucie Bonus.

I received the tell tale single bleep liners during the night and was sure there were carp about enjoying a few boilies as they sifted through the sediment and browsed across the broad gravelly strips that are a feature in many swims at Welly.

I heard a few fish slopping about in the night and I elected to skip along one swim, into the famous ‘Hole in the Bush’ swim – which is centrally located and offers amazing scope for variety of areas to fish to. With the wind quartering as a big low tracked through on Sunday, it would give me options on slightly deeper water marks after the cooler nights during the week.

I spent another afternoon and evening frenetically spombing bait out to the chosen spots (Kev only barked for the first 5 minutes) and settled in to see if my second night would prove fruitful. Rods were spaced to cover a wide range of open water spots as the water level, (since one of the outlet boards broke and the lake dropped 9 inches overnight a few weeks ago) made the long range island margin less appealing.

We settled down and again the small, subtle and occasional line nudges started up after dark and I was sure a bite would be imminent. Eventually, the beast fell asleep and I dosed off full of expectation.

Kev stuck his big wet nose in my face at 5:30 and I rubbed my eyes as I tried to wake up a bit dazed and confused. A lot of bites had been happening at night, but it seemed like the lake had suddenly slowed down (they had been clumped!) and I was disappointed to have a second blank night when I was seemingly on a few fish.

We wiled away the morning with some mindless dog stuff and I got him to settle down about 8:30am and then had a good positive ‘trying to drag the rod in’ bite about half an hour later. Steve and Clinto (who was now next door in Grassy) wandered down and Kev barked deeply the whole time gee’d on by the excitement.

After a hard battle, a nicely proportioned fighting fit common rolled into the net and the pressure was off! No one wants to blank; but no one wants to blank on their 5 nighter more! The lads helped out with weighing (38lb) and photography, and pretty soon we had her treated and returned and normality settled across the swim. I put what little bait I had left out on the door spot and left the rods in for the afternoon.

After getting a bite over bait that first morning I popped home for a quick shit and a shower and to stock up on bait and provisions. I was genuinely hopeful with the cool nights I would have fish visiting aplenty. Oh how wrong you can be! The next night rolled by with little being caught and little being seen. I suspected they were stacked up in the bays but the thought of going in a bay with the beast barking, being on a heavily trodden park lake path meant I was happy to wait for the big weather change due in on Sunday: imminent ‘Bush’ weather. The spots were primed and I just needed a Welly whacker to come a truffling.

By now my braaaaaaan baby was knackered – and I aced it with a nice fresh flesh covered bone I had brought back, knowing we would be enduring a really wet day. It did the job and he lay on his bed most the day destroying that and generally chilling after the excursions of the last couple of days/nights.

Strangely after another blank night and day I wasn’t bothered. I’d caught one and decided to sit out my ‘last’ night (4th night) over the bait and see what happened. That evening I heard a couple show on a spot that had been baited regularly since I set up and a rod was whizzed round there. The other rod that hadn’t done a bite was wound up and put out long. Now I’m not a mega caster but somehow I timed this cast perfectly as despite having 18lb (0.39mm) GT-HD on, the rig sailed out way further than I expected and landed really quite tight to the cove! I bet I couldn’t do that again if I tried!

I felt like I was ringing the changes without doing anything silly and just needed the fish to play ball. That night after the weather front pushed through, the lake did another few bites, but none to my ‘bore them out tactics’. Anyway, I had to go home as Tracy was due home at about 7pm and 4 nights will do… Or will they?

By mid afternoon I had been to the shops to stock up with essentials for the wife’s return, tidied up – drunk a couple of brutally strong coffees (my biggest mistake) and walked Kev. The gear was in the car still and I was itching to go and do my 5th night despite my timing being awful.

I pinged her a quick message and got a questioning ‘don’t you want to see us?’ response. OUCH… Never one to lie I just asked again in the context of the 5 nighter and permission wasn’t given (but assumed) and got a vaguely positive response that I took as a green card and immediately hopped in the van to pop to the shops and get back to the lake for 7pm. This was an hour and a bit before dark, so time was tight if I wanted to find a fish or two.

Despite time restrictions I felt I needed to look around and try my best to find an opportunity after being sat statically for so long. I followed the normal route – having a good look off Boat House and The Arm (a long skinny back bay) and then cutting across to the Little Lake. I saw a fish shuffle through the pads and I nearly went in there but wanted a good look in Bramble first before committing.

As I sat in ‘Lauries Mate’ swim in the fading light a beast boomed out close out in front of The New Swim opposite and I was quickly sauntering round there to flick rods in.

I swapped over to much smaller leads and checked the points on the rigs, changing the hookbaits to fresh Carp Co. Caviar and Cranberry 12mm hookbaits and flicked out the 3 rods fanned in front of the swim each fishing about 15-25 yards off the bank. I hoped for a quick bite and relished being able to sneak about nice and quiet without my 4 legged buddy vying for my attention.

On dusk I supplemented the hookbait/stringers with about 40 boilies scattered fairly accurately over each rod and stuffed my dinner down. I was soon incumbent and relaxing, with the hook baits in such close proximity that was always going to be the quietest option in terms of keeping my presence as low key as possible. At 10:30pm the right hand rod burst into life with a slow bite that soon became a flyer by the time I picked the rod up! Nice.

Another strong battle commenced and I was relieved to tease a nice mirror carp’s nose up to the spreader block. YES! This felt like proper angling in a quiet bay on a ‘work night’ – much more my style of angling opposed to sitting in a swim trying to bore one out… My mate Carl popped round to do some pics and we identified it is ‘Baby Spangles’ looking mint and weighing in at 38lb! Nailed on the Size 4 Mugga/Ronnie combo like normal!

With the rod flicked back out I slipped back into the wet stinky sleeping bag which is what happens when you sleep with a dog and slip over on a sunken sleeper whilst playing a carp! I woke up to the phone ringing at just gone midnight. Seeing Carl’s name I guessed I was needed for my photographic prowess [joke] and was soon helping him with the pictures and care of another truly special mirror that is his story to tell – but WELL DONE THAT MAN!

The alarm went at 6am and it was time to roll the kit away and get to work. It had been another enjoyable trip and Kev had been an angel (he got loads better over the course of the 4 nights we shared a bed) – and it had finished on a high with a last night capture, so life is good and now I can start focusing on the next fishing adventure, Rainbow in a few weeks time with Neill! OH YES!