I’ve recently been fishing on a lovely venue and have been enjoying some amazing sport. It’s a Fenland still water with no prior recent history of big Rudd; just stories from the early 90’s of large shoals and huge Rudd being seen but never captured, so captivated by the idea I thought that I would stay away from the crowds and give it a go.
I have some history with Rudd fishing and have done very well in the Fens targeting big Rudd, so I made sure I gave myself every chance. I have found that large Rudd are very nocturnal and surprisingly the very large Rudd seem to be solitary, I don’t know if they have chosen to be solitary or they are possibly the only survivors from their year class. Keeping this in mind I targeted my venue at night and in areas where I didn’t see many small fish topping.
On the first day of my campaign, I had already wrapped my rods at 14 wraps and did the same with my spod rod, so I was fully prepared for my evening session. I always make sure I am completely prepared before I even see the lake on my first trip, so I had got a few kilos of maize and I poured some krill liquid over it ready for my evening attack.
As I got to the lake, everything was in my favour. The wind was a nice south westerly, blowing into the area of the lake where I was fishing. The sun was still high in the sky but in the distance, I could see a few clouds start to roll in, the moon phase was a full moon which I prefer when targeting Rudd at night. As I got to the swim, I made sure everything was in its place and started to spod 5 spods full of maize out onto my spot and I did this before I started every session. I had started off using 3 rods but realized that when the Rudd kick off, it is hard to concentrate on 3 so I went down to 2 after my first session.
On my very first evening I enjoyed a very fast start, with the capture of 3 fish weighing up to 2lb 3oz, but frustratingly missing a lot of bites too. In hindsight, I suspect that I was using gear that was too heavy and possibly the wrong bait, so for the next trip I made things finer, lighter and very sensitive.
With renewed focus I decided to strike every knock, which didn’t work in all honesty! Once again, I was frustrated, feeling I should have done better, but then again, I did have fish to 2lb 8 ounces, so I carried on experimenting with methods to see what, if anything, would make a difference.
My tackle ended up being 6lb Hydro Flo (0.23mm) reel line in conjunction with a ground bait feeder and a 6 inch hooklink of 5lb Target Fluorocarbon (0.23mm). This was tied to a size 12 or 14 Target Speci-Beaked point hook, all fished using a couple of delightful sporting 1.25TC rods.
The hook bait was mounted on a short hair and I alternated my baits throughout the trips, but after a lot of trial and error it finally emerged they liked mashed up bread in the feeder with sweet corn liquid poured over it and 2 kernels of Sweetcorn on the hair. With all this learnt and had some really awesome trips, with plenty of fish to 2lb 8 ounces.
On the final week of the close season on the rivers, I could feel myself looking at other venues and getting that buzz for the rivers and drains around me, so I thought I would have one more session before I started my river campaign. I have got a 6 month old little girl who I try to spend as much time with as possible so I didn’t leave my house until 9pm, so by the time I got to the lake it was very much dusk, but still not night so I was quickly set up my rods and spodded out some maize. That night was the worst session on that lake for bites and action, but I did have one, and so very close to the magic number. The only bite of the night was an epic 2lb 14oz bar of gold. A true brute of a fish and when I slipped my net under it, I knew that all my effort to find somewhere new and different was worth it.
My thoughts are now well and truly on rivers and other species, but I am certain that I will return to that jewel of a Fenland lake next year and hopefully there is still bigger to be had, I’ve just got to make sure I am fully prepared next spring.