It’s had been almost 4 months since I stepped foot on my syndicate, those that have read any of my previous blogs will understand the bass took over my summer with a final tally of over 500 ranging from fish smaller than the 130mm lures to just over 4lb.
The river hadn’t had me as hooked as it did at the start of the year. vast amounts of weed, gin clear water and an abundance of smaller perch not only made it hard to find the larger residents but to actually then try and fish through the wasps too. On numourous occasions i was landing 50 perch with none over 1lb
A photo of a fish from my syndicate popped up on Facebook whilst I was packing up to leave work to go hit the river, well I had changed my mind and a walk round the lake followed.
I walked and sat in every swim on the lake, what a difference from my last visit, the Canadian had returned with vast rafts of surface blanket weed highlighting the weed beds and obvious patrol routes of the carp.
As I turned to go down the out of bounds bank a huge eruption had me running back to the previous swim to see the aftermath of what was undoubtedly a carp!
The itch was back and my head was already thinking about swims, baiting spots, sorting out rigs.
I got home that night to dig the gear out and stripped it all back to see what I needed, hooks, bait and new braided mainline were ordered with the intent to fish the following weekend. That week my braid arrived and my bait so I spooled up the rods and prepped the bait, 25kg of hemp was soaking 20kg of boilies chopped crumbed and whole laden with glug ready for the pre baiting campaign!
I took a rod with me that first bait up just to have a lead around and find some likely spots. There was 1 other angler on so I went to the furthest swim away to re acquaint myself with the swim. Half hour later I found 4 spots 1 around 40 yards the other 3 all within 3 rod length of the bank. the furthest spot had 3 catapults of whole boilies introduced whilst the other 3 spots had a mix of the chopped and crumbed with just a few whole boilies added.
Back at work the next day all I could think about was getting back down for another hit of bait, at this point the hemp had been soaking for 2 days so a quick recce then straight home to get the cauldron fired up and the hemp cooked.
That nutty aroma filled the kitchen for days much to my girlfriends disapproval. But by that Friday I had baited the spots 4 times knowing there would most probably be someone fishing the weekend I have a bigger hit using half the hemp and boilie mix around 15kg between the 4 spots with the aid of a spod.
The weekend was over and I went back down on the Monday after work with the leading rod just to see if the fish had been on any of the spots. First cast to the long spot and I was met with the same dull thud as I had the previous week, my heart sank. They hadn’t been there and in my head there was probably 3kg of bait sitting there. Quick reel in and reclip to the close in areas, a simple underarm was all that was needed, this time the lead went down with a mighty crack! The sinking feeling I previously had was gone I had been cleared out to the point where the silt was no longer present and they had sifted through it to get every morsal of bait I had put out! Game on. The next spot was slightly firmer but still not as clear as the one just 12ft away from it, the last spot was also met with an almighty crack. I had 2 spots rocking with the 1 to my left being the larger of the 2 I had a plan to fish 2 rods on there and just 1 on the right hand area.
That week I baited a further 3 times putting the last of the particle and crumb out on the Thursday leaving around 1kg of whole 18mm boilies for the weekend. Knowing I could make that kg last and not wanting to bait heavy whilst actually fishing I had a plan to fish stringers and small mesh bags of crumb.
Well Friday came and I couldn’t leave work fast enough. Getting to the lake just after 1pm to find I was the only one on, my girlfriend was meeting me down there later that evening but was going to fish the lake behind meaning I had about 40 yards of bank to myself if I needed to move for any reason.
Well the atmosphere was electric I couldn’t keep my eyes off the spots I was expecting a take any second, as I went to sleep that night I was sure I would be awoken by one of the old residents. Well as I woke up I had that gut wrenching feeling as I hadn’t had a single bleep, I swung my legs off my bed lit the Coleman ready for the first brew of the morning the sun hadn’t started to rise yet it was around 4:30am when my right hand rod let out a single bleep my heart was racing, then another bleep and another, the bobbin held against the blank as I shone my head torch to the rod tip I could see it just nod, I picked the rod up and lifted into it, I could feel something there bit it had weeded itself straight away. Keeping the pressure on it came in really easily a small amount of weed had broken away from the main raft but I Could no longer feel the fish, the sinking feeling was back until I saw a bright red eye peering at me through the weed, a bloody tench! My double 18mm bottom bait hanging from its lips. Not the intended species but knowing there were only half a dozen of these in the lake all around the 5-7lb mark it wasn’t to bad.
As I slipped the fish back my girlfriends rod burst into action, a short tussle later she had a beautiful tench too! We couldn’t believe our luck!
The day passed with nothing for either of us and I was deflated. How could my spots be cleared yet all I had to show for almost 2 weeks of baiting was a tench!
My girlfriend was in once again this time to her shock and disgust was a rather nice eel around 3lb she pulled faces and was adamant she would not hold it, well I made sure she did as every capture counts!
An hour after that eel the same rod was away for her and it resulted in a pristine 21lb 13oz common. Spirits were lifted and I was over the moon she had caught one, she hasn’t fished since before lock down so for her to land 3 fish got the fire lit again.
She went back to bed and I sat there watching the sunrise over the trees.
I had just made my 3rd tea of the morning when my left rod screamed off, kicking my tea over and grabbing rod I was flat rodded instantly and within a second it all went slack! I had been properly done, a hook pull of what felt like a good fish, but they all do when we lose one. I went back and sulked, a bacon sandwich was consumed and I knew it was almost time to start packing up.
I had come to the conclusion I wasn’t going to meet a carp that trip when the same left hand rod screamed into life again this time the clutch was just lose enough to allow the fish to take the minimal amount of line possible. The fight was incredible the fish darted for the main weed bed again flat rodding me but this time the hook hold held. It kited right and picked up my other rod on the spot. I tried to untangle it but to no avail so undone the bail arm and watched as the line peeled from it as I slowly gained some valuable yards.
Around 10 minutes had gone by and I had the fish just out of netting distance in the thick marginal weed, without hesitation my girlfriend donned the waders grabbed the net and went straight in gently pulling the blanket week away to try and scoop the lot in, there about 4ft behind the weed we saw it, a huge framed mirror, big custard cream belly to a gorgeous bourbon brown back, in my head it was 1 of 2 fish both of which would beat my personal best!
To say I was bricking it would be a slight understatement. But Catherine done a sterling job clearing the weed and netting the fish at the first possible chance. Oi dropped the rod and got straight in the lake to see my prize! It was the big mirror! The lakes second largest resident. It had been out 7 weeks previous at just over 36lb post spawn so unless they had done the dirty without anyone knowing, there in my net was my pb, there was no mistaking it’s size when I put it in my retainer whilst we got the camera kit ready.
On the scales she went 37lb 1oz I was buzzing! Grinning ear to ear as I held her up. Cat got some cracking shots both on the mat and in the water, she even added the obligatory bucket of water.
As I clambered out the lake and got a huge cuddle from my girlfriend her middle rod absolutely melted off! She was in a long 25 minute battle ensued as the fish led her on a merry dance to almost every weedbed in front of her swim, I returned the favour and got my waders on and grabbed the net, as the fish surfaced I turned to look at cat to be met with “that’s a big fish” I recognised this fish to again a lovely long mirror and 1 of the A team from this lake, she went in the net first time and as rolled her onto her side could tell this would be very close to her pb too. Well if mine wasn’t enough cat had a new pb too of 31lb 8oz of course I returned the favour of giving her a proper soaking, much worse than what she gave me may I add.
We packed up that Sunday lunch time elated.
I couldn’t wait to get back down there and had decided I would mait up again on the Monday with the plan to fish the Tuesday night, I only had around 50 baits left so another order went in knowing it would be with me Thursday.
16:00 Tuesday came and I was back down the lake just before 17:00 the swim I was in that weekend was taken so opted for one of the first swims closest to the car park as I was to be off my 5am the next morning. At just after 19:00 the middle rod was away a short battle and a lovely 23lb mirror was in the net some self takes and off she went.
I changed my mind about doing the night and enjoyed a lovely Indian. That weekend I was due to be on my local reservoir in search of the perch but the 50mph winds stopped that.
My mind was still thinking about the syndicate and I had to get back down, I had my bait order arrive the previous week so some prep was needed and the Monday night bait up followed.
Again I thought I would get down and do a quick night that week this time a Wednesday. Again I arrived at the lake just before 17:00 and again just after 19:00 I had a fish and yet again it was the 23lb mirror I had the previous week. then just before midnight the same rod was off again this time a rather long 27lb common I couldn’t belive it, 2 fish in a few hours. I went to work with a spring in my step and 2 20lbers under my belt.
I baited up the following day and waited for the following Monday as I had arrangements for the weekend. Monday was here and 16:00 arrived I was in my van and at the lake in super quick time. There was 4 people already there so I slotted in a swim in the middle of the lake. 19:00 came and my left rod was away! There was a bite time for sure. A lovely 23lb common was photographed and returned just before the heavens opened. At just after 1am the middle rod pulled up tight I watched as the bobbin dropped then lifted and dropped again just as I thought it was a liner it smacked the blank and held on the tight clutch just a slow tick tick tick as the line started to leave the spool, I leant into the fish which had already found sanctuary in the weed steady pressure got the fish moving and with a small bit covering its head she was less like a dog on a lead straight into the net a long dark mirror lay in the folds of the net, it looked lean but was broad across its shoulders. She spun the scales round to 30lb 2oz, 2 30s in 3 weeks with 4 20s added for good measure.
I was back down the lake that Friday just for the evening just after 17:00 I had another 23lb mirror then like clock work the 7 o’clock bite came and another long scaly mirror lay in the bottom of my net, up on the scales I couldn’t belive it my 3rd 30 in exactly 3 weeks!
That bring us up to the Friday just gone (1st October) and as I write this I’ve just tied up some rigs, sharpened some hooks and got the bait out the freezer ready for a Wednesday night bait up and evening session!
Tight lines and wet nets