I managed a few more fish between February and mid-March, and it was now time to get back on my main target water for the year. My timing couldn’t have been worse! My first trip of the year was Monday the 23rd March. At 7pm that evening the messages started pouring in, the country had been put into lock down. Ash the owner of the syndicate sent me a message a short time later explaining that I could stay the night but had to be gone first thing in the morning. As with all other lakes, he was forced to close down!
Eight weeks of no angling ensued, and as painful as it may have been, on the grand scale of things there were far worse things going on than missing out on a bit of fishing. My 50th birthday was on the 29th March, I had booked two restaurants on the Saturday and Sunday for family and friends and booked a lake for the following week for friends also. It was all cancelled. My lovely wife had arranged a surprise party on the Friday night, and this was also cancelled. I was absolutely amazed at the amount of people that were coming, from all over the country too. Although it was cancelled it really meant a lot to me that all these people were coming to celebrate with me, so many thanks to all of you. I was gutted, but as I have already said, there were far worse things going on than missing a party.
So, what to do for eight weeks? Well my garden has never looked better and my French Mastiff, Lionel, loved having his dad around all the time. All my tackle was prepped, rigs tied, everything was ready to go for when we finally got the green light. There was however another dilemma, where to go? The Syndicate was not going to open, as it closes for four weeks when the fish spawn anyway (something I fully endorse) so wouldn’t be opening until July the 1st.
Luckily, I have a great bunch of friends and got invited on a three-night full lake booking on the opening week, and I snapped their hand off at the opportunity. There was only four of us, and we had the whole lake to ourselves. Perfect!
The lake itself was around 4 acres in size with fish to 40 plus, and after a draw for swims I set about finding some spots. It was a struggle, the whole area was awash with weed, but on the plus side there were a lot of fish IN the weed. Eventually I found a cleanish area and cotton rigs were dispatched to the spot. Long story short, I lost the first two fish. I had layed my line over the weed and on the take both fish had run sideways and buried themselves in thick weed beds, so it was time for a rethink. Now, I hate fishing tight lines, but it was the order of the day. I also fished ‘locked up’, in the hope that the fish would rise up in the water, rather than run to the side. It worked and after a tense battle my second forty of the year was having its picture taken. It was an amazing trip and I managed nine fish in total, all over 30lb! Even better, while I was there, I got invited on another trip to a different lake the following week.