The lake itself is a picturesque gravel pit, around 70 acres in size, set in the Cotswold Water Park. It offers a wide range of options in terms of angling styles from stalking in the gin clear weedy margins to fishing over a big bed of bait in the middle of the pond, as well as being a renowned venue for anglers wishing to target specimen sized Tench and Rudd. The latter, big beds of bait method has proven to be most successful for me on my time fishing there.
During the earlier trips I had always managed to catch a couple of fish on each visit. However, one of my first truly memorable sessions took place in the spring of 2018. I was fortunate to get in one of the going pegs in Winter Bay, getting into a swim that allowed me to fish a couple of clear spots just over 80 yards out, located on top of a gravel bar that runs through the bay, on the other side. Winter Bay is the larger and deeper side of the main point that forms the horseshoe shape, and probably accounts for about half of the lakes total surface area, whilst with the narrower and shallower “Summer Bay” is located on the other side of the point. As the names suggest the fish tend to shoal up either one side or the other depending upon prevailing weather conditions.
As usual, I only had a maximum of 24 hours at my disposal so arriving at the lake in the afternoon meant that I would bait the spots with a couple of kilos of hemp and chopped boilie, then position my rods tightly over the bed and wait for the inevitable morning ‘bobbins bonanza’. The key to this tactic was to put the kinetic spod braid through its paces and bait as accurate as possible with the Spomb and finding a likely looking clear spot closer to the bank increased the accuracy of the baited zone.
Due to the Carp Societies no leader and barbless rules, and the lake being a classic weedy pit, my setup would have to complement this testing environment. With this in mind I used a mainline that I had the utmost confidence in, GT80+ in 15lb. I have always got on well with this line, ever since I started using it on Welly. It is a tough, highly abrasion resistant line that is amazingly easy to cast. Essentially, this means it allows me to recast accurately, landing hookbaits onto the small baited areas with minimal disturbance. Essential if the bites start coming thick and fast. I protected the last couple of feet of line with a length of green Tungsten Tubing connected to a lead clip setup by pushing it into the end of a tail rubber – a simple arrangement that also reduces tangles too.
With the dreaded tufties present and the odd Tinca to contend with, I opted for Ronnie rigs with a semi stiff fluorocarbon boom material called Invisi-Link, that I knew from experience would retain its strength during battles through weed beds and reset if the hookbait was being ‘harassed’ by the birdlife.