So, back in January I had started to make my plans for the spring ahead. Now Burghfield was always going to be my main focus for the year ahead, but after photographing the Baby Black mirror back in the autumn, at 49lb, it had given me the itch to go back and catch the Baby Black before Burghfield really woke up. Bearing in mind the 2 lakes are right next to each other it meant that I could keep in tune with the both.
Now there is a saying “never count your chickens before they hatch”, and as we all know a worldwide pandemic started and the country was put in to lockdown, which psychologically the whole country had to deal with and it proved to be very difficult times for some people. Of course, it was good to spend time with the family, but it certainly put things into perspective and how much we take for granted in life.
During lockdown I stayed in contact with some good close mates, sharing our plans for the season ahead. Unfortunately, a big part of those plans changed very quickly, due to some pretty stupid reasons really, but morals are morals and I felt that I had to stand by mine. To be frank, I was a bit disheartened by the whole thing but luckily I had my good mate, Nigel, urging me to crack on and just forget about the whole ordeal, so I was now left with fishing for the Baby Black, which in all fairness it’s not a bad second best!
After all the negativity was pushed aside, we were finally nearing the restrictions being lifted, so a trip to Reading was being planned with my son. It was a chance to have a reccie and see how busy the home of the BBM was going to be, what with everyone rushing to get out angling after being cooped up for all those weeks.
Luckily, the club had made a very good move by initiating a 48 hours on and 48 hours off rule which gave everyone a chance to get out; and it meant the swims would have a quick turn over, which was perfect so after a night on another of the clubs waters I could see that next week I could return to start the campaign for the Baby Black and have a very good chance of getting on fish if I picked the right day to return.
It had been 3 seasons since I had been back and I had shared some info with some good friends and they had all had their own special moments with Baby Black, the only thing I had concerns about was going to be the chance of repeat captures, which for me is one thing I hate, but I had no choice. This time round I was going to stop at nothing, that carp had to be mine!
I returned before first light and walked the pit, I had this amazing buzz about me, which had been missing for a while. I could see where the other anglers were and it soon became very apparent that the fish were held up out in no man’s land, a quick look at what the weather was doing and I knew the fish would turn up in one of the bays. I jumped in a swim, which is one that I had done a lot of time in because the other bay was often very busy.
I knew very well it was going to be a blank before I got started but it gave me a chance to see how the campaign was going to go. At midday I was up a tree watching a couple of fish, I had a call to say they were spawning in the other bay and all the fish were round the other side. I laughed to myself as I saw the Baby Black glide past me under the tree and head to a clay spot where she flanked on the bottom. That trip showed me what I already knew, but it gave me even more confidence on how I was going to catch this carp quick with all the knowledge I had accrued about this fish. I only did the one night this time round.