2018 was always going to be a difficult one for me. Due to my family circumstances I knew I would have to stay close to home for the most part, and unless things were settled could only venture out to fish for short sessions.
To that end I dropped a couple of tickets that I knew I wouldn’t use, leaving only those that realistically I thought I would fish. One I wanted to keep was Vinnetrow, as I had got this ticket the previous year, but not fished it at all, and it had taken me a while to get membership in the first place. I knew of its rock hard reputation though, and one of my closest friends had spent the last year on there. I wasn’t too worried, even knowing that my time was going to be limited, as I felt that with a fair bit of luck and right place, right time, I may have a chance. One bitterly cold morning in January I drove down there to have a look around, and familiarise myself with the route. Unsurprisingly there was no one there, and as I stood facing the wind the cold air made my eyes water, as a huge North Westerly wind whipped across the open water. It was exciting though, and I did several laps, before driving home with a few ideas bouncing around in my brain. That was one for the warmer weather though, so I set my sights on a lake near to home.
I’d fished the lake off and on before, and not really knowing the stock, I was just content to see what came along. There were a lot of fish in there that I did know, and to be honest I wasn’t used to getting so many takes. Early on I was fortunate to figure out with the large stock present, that they liked a fair bit of bait. Even on short work nights I would bring 4 or 5 kilos of my favourite Salami B5, and once I’d found a spot, I’d put it all in straightaway. Apart from my pop ups I’d have nothing left, so I would mark the spot using the distance sticks, and then just re chuck a new hook bait if I had any action. This really seemed to work, and I’d glug up my baits using GLM with squid the day before going and the action would often come quickly after casting out a coloured pop up over the top. This method had worked well in the autumn, and in a lake where I would say the average size was around 23lbs, I had taken 3 fish over 30lb and a 28lb in a row the previous November. I had enjoyed my short session fishing over there, as I mentioned, was quite happy just to see what I caught. That changed when a friend showed me a picture of a mid 30 he had caught, a stunning half linear type fish, and probably the biggest that I had heard of in the lake. I dearly wanted this one, and having a challenge was exactly what I needed.