Easter and the associated fortnight school half term, is now more eagerly awaited in our house. Not because of the copious amount of chocolate consumed by my two beautiful boys, Zach and Ellis, but due to the fact for the last three years, it’s a time when I get to spend 3 or so nights on the bank with our eldest son, Ellis.
When Ellis turned five years old, three years ago, I started using the Easter holiday to gradually get him to enjoy the solitude and tranquillity carp fishing has to offer. During this time, it’s grown on him and it would be fair to say he is now hooked. It was very important to me that he grows into his fishing and that he never feels forced. I remember (just about), the path I took and it’s great now for me to watch him following a similar path.
Despite all my primary focus being on Wellington Country Park in recent seasons, unfortunately they have a rule that doesn’t permit guests to stay under the age of 16. So sadly, Ellis has never been unable to experience night fishing with Dad on the wonderful Welly. However, much closer to home I have another syndicate ticket for a venue that does permit (in fact encourages) children to stay, providing of course they are fully supervised at all times. What also makes this venue much easier, is the logistical side of carrying the necessary gear to accommodate Ellis in tow. Almost every swim, you can drive and park in and having a VW T5, you can instantly see why this venue makes absolute sense. Apart from the ease of logistics, this syndicate also has some very special carp. A blend of originals and a sensibly introduced new stock of Dinton and Hazelmere strain fish that are stunning…
With my work wrapped up for a week and the van packed ready to go it took no encouragement for Ellis to give his mum a kiss and cuddle and we were off. He got very excited, talked constantly, but I could see he was buzzing which was absolutely brilliant.
Prior to obtaining my Welly ticket in June 2016, I had done a fair bit on this other syndicate, so I have a fairly good understanding and noted down outlay of the lake. With the wind steadily doing a less fancied south easterly, but air temperature feeling mild, we opted to set up in a peg called ‘The Shed Swim’. This peg offers an almost 180 degree panoramic swage of water to fish, encompassing most of the northern end of the lake – so it is bang on for any wind with a hint of southerly, and coincidently is the shallower end of the 6 acres.
To the right, it also provides an opportunity to get a rod tight up to one of the main marginal snags. A quick peak with the polaroid’s, instantly indicated a few fish moving about under the canopy. Nothing huge, but the depth beneath it provided ample room for any of the larger residents to take shelter at any point during our stay. With depths of up to 30 feet plus, it can sometimes take up to a month longer than other shallower lakes to get going in the spring. Hence another reason why the shallower end (which is still 10-12 feet average) felt like the better option.
Within two hours of arriving, we had already seen a steady series of shows at our chosen end of the lake. Things were looking good; they were active and clearly feeding. What was also evident was the signs of fly hatches, as the bird life were taking particular interest in specific spots, both above and below the water line.
With the lake so gin clear, I opted to bait two spots and not to cast the rods in until just before dark. This is a method I adopt on this water, as too often I’ve seen carp literally bolt away from visible mono and not return. I think it’s also important, to give the carp free food to build up confidence levels. With the BBQ lit ready to cook our evening dinner, both rods were accurately cast to the chosen spots and it was time to sit back and relax.
Throughout the night while Ellis was deep asleep, the odd liner gave me some assurances that it was only a matter of time. Then at first light, the open water rod, fished on one of the fly hatch spots was away. Ellis came too rubbing his eyes and wobbling while still half asleep, put on his trainers and was out to help me swoop a lovely looking 20+ fish into the net. He loves fishing, regardless if we catch or not. But the excitement on his face when we do catch is priceless for me to see.
For the next 48 hours, we kept our approach the same. Bait in the day, fish at night and into the next morning. Two more stunning carp followed, one at 4am and another at 7am. Both finding the temptation of the beds of hemp too hard to resist and all coming from the marginal snag spot.
End tactics wise was a refined version of the trusted Ronnie Rig, fished on a simple helicopter set-up using an Invisi-Link boom and a sharp Covert Dark Mugga; a reliable and deadly combination.
Depending on the depth of the silt (ascertained from feeling the lead down) I simply adjusted the top bead to give me confidence the stiff boom section landed cleanly and lay above the sediment. What I love about this rig, is the versatility and the presentation reset properties. If you do get picked up and don’t nail your prey, I am confident it will lift and reset perfectly for the next unsuspecting carp.
With our time up and now that I am reflecting back on a great trip, it was the perfect way to spend another few days/nights over Easter. Sharing my hobby (aka addiction) with Ellis is priceless.
You can see in his face from the enclosed pictures, he is already immersed in it.