Like I always do, I noted the areas and later on in the day I found a nice gravely hump and a clean silty gully behind where I’d seen fish show, so with that knowledge I positioned a couple of baits and a scattering of freebies around each. I kept the other rod on a blatantly obvious spot along the island then carried on with the surveillance into the second night of this stay.
That evening a local mate (Billy) popped in to see me and he pointed out a snag along the side of the Long Island and said it was historically a good spot for catching the originals. Now Billy’s info is always worth listening to as he’s a local and knows those lakes like the back of his hand. After he’d left, I kept staring at that particular snag, then just as the light was failing I saw a big fish bosh out right on the near side edge of a bush next to that snag. Well that was it, I’d seen another area worthy of a rod for the next time I got to fish in that swim. Just before packing up the next morning I cast a lead to the edge of that bush where the fish had shown and found a lovely bar sticking out from the near side of the bush, so after several more casts I clipped the spool and then measured the distance for the next time I’d manage to get in the swim. Although I’d blanked on the first 48-hour session I felt positive as I’d seen fish and found fishable areas close to those spots.
On my next visit to the lake I once again found the same situation in regards which swims were taken and was again very similar weather conditions and luckily the swim I fished the previous week was vacant, so like anyone would do with nothing else to go on, I dropped straight back in there and actually felt excited.
With the information gleaned from the previous session in this swim, the rods were soon out and a few baits were deposited around two of the rods. The long one, against the bush, was fished as a bright single just to see what worked best. When I’m on a new lake that I know very little about I like to try slightly different baiting approaches to see what works, and on a lake like this, which can become quite busy, it was blatantly obvious to me pre-baiting a swim and being able to dominate it was well out of the question. It was clearly a case of getting in a swim, knowing the spots and fishing them, and if you are lucky enough to get back in that swim again that was a bonus. This was why I fished two rods over bait, out where I’d put bait the previous week, and the long rod stayed as a single at that spot which hadn’t been baited.
Now this is where things went to highs, then lows, then back to highs again. Not long after getting the rods settled, I saw a good fish show, not on my spots but in the area, so I was on a high and full of anticipation. A little while later I found out a couple of fish had been caught from the swim, up to 41lbs, in my absence, so I was on a bit of a low again fearing I’d missed the boat. The next time a few more fish showed I was once again up and hopeful of some action overnight or the following morning.
That night past uneventfully, but whilst drinking the first few teas of the day, watching the dawn break and the odd carp show amongst the tench rolling, the long rod signalled a locked-up take. I was on it quickly and walking back taking the stretch out of the line, and hopefully in doing so steered the hooked fish away from the snags and bushes along the island. All this went to plan and what felt like a large and educated fish kited out into open water whilst holding its ground. After a short while I noticed this fish seemed to know where it was going and I feared it was going to wrap me around a snaggy island to my right, so I tried an old trick of pulling it towards that island, hoping it would go against the pressure. Although I’d started to gain by doing this, unfortunately the ploy didn’t work and the fish stayed deep and then cut me off on the bar I’d seen fish showing around on the previous session. As you can imagine I was gutted about losing the first fish I had hooked. It took I while to pick myself up from that loss, but like I do when I’m encouraging mates to carry on, I kept telling myself to look at the plus side, and that’s what I eventually did and got myself back in the game.
As an experiment I tried a different tactic and put a few freebies around that spot, just to see if I’d gain more bites by introducing freebies, and continued fishing two rods on the bar. As you can imagine I was back down to a low but hoped my efforts would pay off. Then things went from bad to worse and just on dusk when the same rod went again. Again, I walked back and took the stretch up and not wanting a repeat of the last loss I wound hard to gain on the fish. This time the fish went left along the side of the island and although I thought I’d gained enough on it, all went solid when the fish found a mass of lost braid tangled in the woodwork, cutting my hooklink in the process just as I got out to the fish. What a bloody wounder. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the following morning the same rod went again, and I instantly bumped a fish. Now I rarely ever lose fish and now I found myself sat wondering what on earth was going on and trying to find a plus out of a session where I’d lost fish for 3 different reasons. The only plus I could come up with, was that I was getting bites and not losing fish for the same reasons, which really is bad angling. As mad as it sounds this gave me a boost and whilst feeling a positive another bite came from the remaining rod next to the bush. This fish followed the same path as the one which cut me off, so once in the deeper open water and with the lead dumped, I eased off and allowed the fish to wallow in over that shallow bar. Luckily, this all went to plan and soon an old mirror of 21lbs opened my account on the lake.