After weeks and weeks of hot weather and the lake not fishing particularly well, I had a week ahead of me and I wanted to make the most of it. Quite a few fish had been caught during the previous weekend, but fortunately not many of the A team had put in an appearance. I was feeling optimistic and my mind was full of thoughts of a fish known as the Big Plated, which had been a target of mine for a few years. Although any of the awesome fullys that reside in the lake would be more than welcome.
Sunday night is always a good one to go down as all the weekend anglers (normally that includes me) have packed up and the fish start to become more confident around the lake and give their location away. After spending the day at home, and very nearly not going, I turned up at the lake around 5pm. I was just intending to do the night and observe what the fish were up to ready for a session later in the week when there was a bit of rain forecast.
After a quick walk around and a chat with another angler who had been there for most of the day, I had noticed a few fish bubbling up in the middle of the lake. Before making any decisions I went down to the far end of the lake where the wind had been blowing for some time to take a look. I walked into a swim known as The Wooded Area and my mind was made up. There were sheets of bubbles all over the area making what I had seen further up the lake look insignificant. I quickly raced back to the van to load my barrow and I was back in the Wooded Area in no time at all. Now I just had to decide which of the swims to go in as all of them had quite a bit of feeding activity in front of them.
I opted for the one in the middle as I then had fish not only out in front of me, but to my right and left too. Time was starting to get on now, so I hastily got my rods together, put on a fresh size 5 Covert Chod hooks, a fresh Urban Red Spicy hook bait and got them out onto the areas where I had seen them feeding. I decided to just fish singles as the fish were already there and I didn’t want to spook them off by firing out bait and bringing in the gulls.
Once the rods were sorted I got my home set up for the night and I sat there having a chat with one of the other anglers who was just doing a few hours. Whilst we sat there contemplating the best bite times at the moment and deciding that the early hours were being the most productive, my left hand rod pulled up tight and the rod tip bounced round. I picked up the rod and was into a fish only an hour into my session. After playing it in and around the small clusters of pads out in front of me, I slipped a nice mid-twenty common into the net. He may not have fought particularly well in the water but he beat me up on the mat, so we hastily got a few pictures done and I slipped him back into his home, laughing about our previous conversation and how the fish make the rules. An hour or so later I settled down, optimistic for the night ahead.
I was awoken at around midnight by another one toner and after a fast and furious fight another small common slipped into the net. This one looked to be around the twenty mark and after unhooking him I slipped him back without taking any pictures.
The rest of the night passed uneventfully and I was awake at first light to see what was going on around me. The fish were still in the same areas as the previous day, but no more bites had been forthcoming. By 9am I was packed up and heading back to the van as I had some work to do that day and I needed to get home for a quick shower before going in.
The next morning I got up early and went back down the lake to see what the fish were up to. I walked around and found them still in the same area of the lake with only one angler down there fishing for them and I knew he would only be doing a few hours. I stayed on the lake until the morning feed had died down and then headed back home.
The following day was Wednesday and I was up early again to walk around the lake. This time I walked around with a couple of rods in hand and I found the fish in roughly the same area. They had moved just a little further round towards the bottom corner known as The Pads. After a few hours casting at bubblers I eventually had a bite and played in a lovely 27lb common. I stayed watching the water until mid afternoon and my weather app showed a bit of low pressure and rain moving in on Thursday, so that was going to be the night I intended to do as the lake usually fishes well after rain. I went home to get all my kit sorted for session ahead of me.
Thursday morning dawned and I was back watching the lake as the first rays of light crept over the water. After walking down to where I had left them the previous day, I found that another angler had set up on the opposite bank which meant that swim was no longer an option for me as they both cover the same area of water. After standing there for a while I could see the fish were still there, but had just moved round a bit away from the lines coming across the lake.
I pushed my barrow down and placed it between the two possible swims as I had still not made my mind up which offered the best option. Then the heavens opened and the forecast rain hammered down soaking me within minutes. My brolly went up over my barrow and I cowered under it waiting for little lulls in the downpour to jump out and look in the swims. Three shows in quick succession and my mind was made up. I lined them up on the tree line then quickly moved my gear into the swim and got sorted. As I sat there soaking wet the fish were dancing out in front of me and I braved the elements to get a couple of rods out onto the areas where the fish were showing. After a change into some dry clothes and the underside of my brolly looking like a Chinese laundry I waited for the rain to subside with a cup of tea in hand.
By mid afternoon the rain had eased and the sky was brightening up, so I brought in the hastily cast rods and tied some fresh rigs. After having a couple of casts onto each spot I decided on a couple of hinge rigs for two of the areas, which were tied with Mirage fluorocarbon boom sections, Trip Wire end sections and super sharp size 5 Covert Dark Chod hooks. The third area felt firm and the lead was coming back clean, so I opted for a D-Rig tied with 30lb Invisi-Link and one of the new size 6 BCR hooks.
Once the rigs were tied the rods went back out and each area was baited with about 30 – 40 boilies fired out with a catapult to cause as little disturbance as possible. It was then time to sit back and relax, feeling quite confident as I could still see plenty of fish in the area.
A little later on an angler turned up wanting to fish for the night and I told him what I had seen in the morning. I suggested the swim behind me would definitely be a good bet (the other swim I had been contemplating). The lake was getting busy and I pointed out to him where they had been feeding in the morning and bang on cue they started to bubble up there again. During the night he had two runs, landing one very nice 30lb mirror, and I started to think I had maybe made the wrong swim choice and I should have gone in that one myself.
After a quiet night I was up early and he was packing up to get off to work. As we stood chatting and watching all the fizzing around to my right, my right hand rod tore away stripping line off the spool. I picked up the rod and put my hand round the spool to try and slow it down a little, which I hastily removed as the line burnt my fingers. There was no stopping this one. The fish fought incredibly hard and kept powering off. Just when I thought I was gaining a bit of ground it powered off again. When I saw it roll I could see it was a mirror, but I thought it was one of the smaller ones as the bigger fish normally feel more plodding and this one had loads of powerful energy.
Eventually I slipped the net under it and as it rolled over the cord I could see it was one of the beautiful fullys that reside in pit 3. I turned to Carl and said I thought it was the baby football which I’d had before. It was only when I lifted the net to get a closer look that I saw the size of it and realised it was Jerry’s Fully, a fish I had been wanting for a long time since I saw Jerry Hammond catch it before I was even fishing the lake. Carl got on the phone to Nigel Sharp who was fishing around the other side of the lake in Double Boards and had watched me playing it from his swim. He came round to confirm my identification of the fish and to do the honours with the photos.
It was still early, only about 7.30am, so I got the rod back out and enjoyed the moment of catching one of the lakes gems. The fish were still feeding and at 9am my middle rod tore off, this time whilst talking to Peter Bond who had just turned up to fish. The fish kited left towards the tree line and I steered it back into open water and I saw a nice chunky common roll into the net. It turned out to be a scale perfect 36lb 4oz common this time. What a session this was turning out to be. I had been contemplating going home, but after those two beauties and the lake fishing so well, my mind was made up to do a second night.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully and I brought my rods in to rest the swim and see if a move was in order as the fish had moved up the lake a bit. I did a lap of the lake and popped in for a tea and a chat with Nigel before heading back to my swim as nothing had fired me up enough to move. Again I got the rods out on the same spots for the night and topped up the bait over each rod. I settled back to enjoy the night, very happy with what I had caught.
I drifted off to sleep fairly early and was woken at 11:30pm by my bite alarm, this time the left hand rod that was fishing up the tree line and locked up. As I picked up the rod the fish kited away from the trees to the right, so I quickly dropped the other two rods into the water so as not to interfere with this one. This felt like a very big fish. It stayed deep and plodded around, slowly moving left to right in front of me. I stepped into my waders and pulled the strap over one shoulder and got into the water to play it out. I heard it roll a couple of times, but couldn’t see what it was as it was pitch black. After what felt like forever I slipped the net under an immense common. My heart was pounding and poor old Nigel got rudely awoken by me again. After getting my head torch and a closer inspection of the fish I identified it as Gregory Peck, a fish I’d had the previous year, so I knew it was a good forty. I prepared the mat and scales and waited for Nigel to once again trundle around to do the honours. It weighed an awesome 45lb and after a couple of shots we slipped it back. What a day and what a session!