The time of year to renew my syndicate had come back around and I decided that this should be my last season before moving onto to pastures new. Although, this would not be done at the expense of catching my target! I wanted to give myself maximum opportunity of catching her and so I booked numerous dates off of work including enough time to allow me a week long session.
The morning of the session came around and I was full of optimism. A few fish had come out over the weekend; they had finally begun to wake up, although zigs accounted for the majority of them.
I arrived at the lake, grabbing the water butt out of the car and went in search of carp, hoping to find the Penny common frequenting an area. I checked all the likely areas and she wasn’t to be found, however, one area I couldn’t check as it was occupied. I found a large group of fish in a very snaggy area of the lake, I reserved the swim with my water bottle and returned to the car and loaded the barrow. I barrowed my gear into the swim and went see my friend Will, fishing two swims up. Walking into his swim I noticed peg 2 had just become available and so I went to check the snaggy margin you can access from the swim. Standing on one of the fallen trees, there she was clear as day, waddling straight past and over the spot. Needless to say, I moved swims instantly!
The rain soon started to come in, so I got the house set up and took the time to get the rods out properly. Two rods rigged up with Ronnie’s, mounted with MC Nut pop ups were to be placed along the snag line and one on a 6ft zig in open water. Before casting the rods out I went round to both spots and baited with whole and chopped 12mm and 14mm MC Nut along with a few handfuls of matching 2.3mm and 6mm pellet. Each rod went out perfectly and I sat down for the evening and enjoyed a good social and catch up with Will, now next door to me. Deep in conversation, a few beeps on the right hand rod were followed by a screaming delk! A short, hard fight ensued before Will seamlessly netted my first one of the trip; what a great start! Leaving the fish in the net, I re-baited and got the rig back out on the spot first time. Hoisting the fish onto the mat revealed a lovely, boxy common of 27lb 4oz.
Surprisingly, the rest of the night and the following 48 hours passed by uneventful. I checked the spots regularly but was always met with fish in the area and one of the spots; they were feet from the rig! Every day, around midday, I reeled in to look for bigger groups of carp that may be up for a munch. I found nothing more convincing than where I was already plotted, but decided to bait a few different spots around the lake ready for a move.
Going into the third night I decided that if I hadn’t put another carp in the net by 8:30am I was to up sticks and move. Around 7:30am the following morning I received a savage liner which I was sure would materialise into run. The next hour passed without any action, the barrow was loaded and I was off! It was now Wednesday and the first day of the extremely hot weather.
I found an area of the lake with a number of carp present. Many of them within the sanctuary of the near margin snag and when I scaled a large tree, it also revealed many cruising around the surface of the lake. Confidence was rife. Before getting the rods out, I revisited the other baited spots and topped them up with a few more handfuls of whole and chopped boilie. The day was passing by and I was growing increasingly frustrated, I had carp all over me and I just couldn’t entice a bite. All of my gear was still loaded on the barrow, with only rods and alarms in the swim. Before I settled in for the night, I reeled in to pop to the shop and get some much needed beer. Walking to the car park I passed one of my pre-baited spots, as I passed I noticed a swirl on the surface, looking closer a few fish were feeding and others were in the area. I ran back to the swim, put the rods onto the barrow and shot round to the new swim. The swim in question is the entrance to the shallowest expanse of water on the lake, known as the match lake (the lake is divided into three: Main lake, Back Bay and Match lake all connected as one) and is subject to a lot of carp traffic.
Arriving back from the shop, I quickly set about getting the rods out in the new swim. A mate, Woodsy, popped down to see me and whilst cooking my dinner, the middle rod positioned in the baited area was away! Shouting Woodsy to finish cooking my dinner, I played a hard fighting mirror. Soon a stunning dark mirror lay in the bottom of the net, I quickly transferred it into the sling, got the rod back out with another half a kilo on the spot and set about eating my dinner. Within minutes the same rod was away again with a simply sublime, heavily plated scattered linear with huge fins. What’s more, I didn’t even know it resided in there! Repeating the same procedure as before, a newly baited rig was placed onto the spot.
The first of the brace 21lb 14oz (left)
The second part of the brace at 25lb 6oz (right)
The rest of the night and the following morning past by without so much as a bleep. It was now Thursday and another scorching day was in store. I had ran out of food and so the plan was too reel in at midday, heavily bait the area and let the fish pass through and get some free grub; building their confidence in the process. It’s a tactic that’s served me well, having already done so for the two bites the day previous.
I returned back from the shop and topped the spot up with a couple more handfuls of whole and chopped boilie. Following this, I walked around the lake and found groups of fish sunning themselves in almost all corners of the lake.
It wasn’t until I arrived into weedy corner and climbed the dead tree that I found almost 30% of the lakes stock. I spent about an hour here and plotted a move. Two things were holding me back from making the switch of swims: 1) The fish don’t tend to stay there at night and it was now 4 O’clock, they were due to make their move back into the main lake for nightfall and 2) I risked spooking the lot of them. Instead I opted to bait three spots I had caught fish from before and return back to my existing swim, with the option to get up early and move swims. This would allow me to get the rods in position before they arrived.
Rods back out on the spots in my existing swim, it wasn’t long before the bobbin pulled up tight and I was into another angry carp. This one turned out to be a small common of around 17lb with a distinct set of missing scales. Whilst taking a few photos, the same rod was away again with a low twenty common. This again highlighted the importance of baiting often and getting the rod back out as soon as landing the fish.
Nothing else occurred and first light saw me in the new swim; Weedy Corner. Two rods were placed on the shallow adjacent margin and one out in the middle on a zig. I sat back and watched the water in front of me, sooner rather than later the fish started to arrive; swirling and bow waving as they entered the bay. I remember photographing one such disturbance no more than a rod length from where my middle rod laid. I sent it to a few mates, captioned “they’re coming”. Within minutes the middle rod signalled a few bleeps before the bobbin slammed against the blank and I was bent into the first of the new swim and my sixth of the session. I enjoyed a long, hard battle, the fish stayed deep and I even deployed the waders to get out closer to the fish. I knew it was a good’en. At the second time of asking I scooped up a very large common.
My good friend Glenn was on his way down to see me, so I transferred the fish into the retainer and quickly got the rod back out again. Glenn arrived shortly after, buzzing, I told him what I had and couldn’t wait to get it out and take a closer look. Hoisting it from the lake and to the mat, it dawned on me this could be a new PB common, potentially beating my existing PB common of 36lb 10oz. On the scales Glenn read out to me 38lb 10oz, confirming a new personal best common. I was chuffed and couldn’t wait to lift it up for the photos. I rolled back the sling and lifted it for the first photo; before Glenn could press the shutter... the same rod was away again!! I lowered the fish into the sling again and instructed Glenn to deal with the fish. This fish put up a really great fight, stripping line from the spool as it powered off into the middle of the lake. Once netted, a mid twenty common lay before me. I could see the fish was quite distressed, so I wasted no time in removing the hook, treating the mouth and getting a few snaps before returning her without weighing. This time I left the rod on the bank as I wanted to get the big common back soon after getting some photos.
Later that day I caught a very small common, of around 8lb off of the same spot. Throughout the day I had baited two other silt spots, in the deeper water within the same swim. These spots had good night form and were spots I knew well. Before dark I moved two rods off of the shallow margin and into the deeper water. Much like the previous days, the night was uneventful and I banked on the fish getting back into the corner. The weather wasn’t to be as hot or bright as the beginning of the week and so the fish didn’t really arrive in numbers.
Returning to the spot in my previous swim, I noticed a large group of fish hanging around the willow. I quickly transferred my gear back into this swim and set about placing the rigs back out and baited heavily for the evening action. Well the rods were in the water 45 minutes before I had another large common in the net. This one was epic, long and lean, packed with muscle and on the scales she went 31lb exactly! This turned out to be my last fish of what proved to be a very hard worked session.
Over the seven days I got through 10kg of MC Nut boilie, catching on MC Nut and Linch Special pop ups mounted on Ronnie’s. This session highlighted the importance of baiting regularly,being mobile and maximising opputunities.
Good things come to those who bait...