Today was different as I woke up a little bit too late and I knew deep down there was a possibility I would have to cancel the day trip due to lack of swims available.
As it turned out I arrived at the lake around 9am just in time to catch the “Guard de Peche” he informed me no one else was fishing the lake..
I wanted to fish in 14 but I knew recently it had only done singles and doubles to people and I really didn’t want to sit through a day of pest control.
So I chose post 1, it is a swim I tend to do a lot of time in purely because it gets overlooked by people and I know I can get some bait in without other people fishing over it. It’s a swim with a large set of man made snags to the left so if anyone feels brave enough to fish it they tend to fish against the snags, which is ludicrous as the snag also has buoy boundaries.
For me I like to go against the grain and completely ignore the snag and fish directly out in front of the swim, normally between 26-32 wraps straight into the boat lanes.
Reason being again.. No one else does it and I like to think the fish pick up baits less carefully.
I set up one rod with a distance spool of 10lb line and fished a withy pool style rig tied with Sharp tackle components including a size 4 wide gape hook, accompanied with a 4oz lead with a bright pop up and whacked it out as far as I could, it’s still not the warmest of weather so I like to use the single how I would throughout winter.
The middle and right hand rod were both fished to 27 wraps and close together.
One rod on UK Bait Company’s pro evolution topped with a pop up fished snowman style making sure it was balanced and adding a small PVA bag of chopped pro evolution boilies.
Before I tie the PVA bag I chop the boilies cover them in pro fruit stick mix liquid and cover them in crushed maize.
Again using sharp tackle components but this time a curve shank hook.
Last rod was fished KD with a single bright pop up.
It was a cloudy day, temperature was sitting at 10 degrees throughout the day and pressure was fluctuating around the 1026 mark.
Anyone that reads my articles knows that I do like to spomb and on this water, it seems to work well. upon finding the lake late last year only 1 – 2 anglers were doing it where as the rest were just using the throwing stick so it was relatively alien to the lake.
I was caught out without bait so I had a quick trip to the supermarket to make my mix up which consisted of 4 tins of sweet corn with 4 tins of chickpeas, around 30 tigers nuts, crushed maize and half a kilo of chopped and whole pro evolution boilies, I mixed it all in with the UK baits company pro fruit stick mix liquid.
I arrived and knew I would be fishing on the Wednesday and not the Tuesday so I spombed around 15 on the two right hand rods.
Nothing was showing and no action occurring until at 14:20 the right hand rod signalled a take and I hooked into a small 11lb common, unhooked in the margins and slipped straight back so I could get the rod back on the spot as soon as possible.
5 more spombs of mix over the top and the same rod slowly took off at 15:05 with a slightly larger common at 18.5lb being the culprit.
A hook pull at 16:30 on the same rod was the last action of the day, although I got talking to a local who watched me for a few hours and as it turns out he wanted the fish the swim the next day so knowing I couldn’t fish I I showed him the spots hoping he would top the spots up for me before my return on Wednesday!
I arrived on Wednesday earlier this time and luckily got back in the swim, all the rigs were the same but freshly tied, all baits were the same, rods clipped up and back on the spots.
The weather was a lot warmer reaching temperatures of 14-15 degrees, clear blue skies and a slight wind. Pressure had dropped down to 1010 although still quite high.
First thing I did after getting the three rods back on the spots was to put out 20 spombs of mix.
After 1 hour my right hand rod tightened up and whatever wasn’t the end was kiting hard to the right, unfortunately after a few minutes and some awkward side strain it fell off! So my mind was made up and I changed the rig on the right hand rod to a blowback to try and get deeper more secure hook holds, I also changed from the curve shank hooks to the wide gapes.
At around midday all mayhem broke loose as there seemed to be some type of boat gala on the lake, and me fishing directly in the boat lanes getting the bulk of the sport!
Boats don’t really bother me as long as they see me and don’t stray to close to me, no action happened after the loss so I began at 12:00 spombing two spombs every 1 hour of inactivity, it’s a tactic that’s treated me well in the past, whether it’s the noise of the impact or just the fresh smell and food particle drifting through the water columns but whatever it is it seems to get activity where in other cases sitting motionless waiting for something to happen could fail.
Whilst the second spomb hit the water at 12:00 my right hand rod freshly tied rig did exactly the same as the fish I lost and just kited right, as I lifted into it the culprit, a mid 20 sturgeon leaped from the water as they do, directly in between masses of people in boats, much to their amazement and horror.
I’m fairly certain the fish I lost in the morning was the same fish as they tend to sit on bait or keep visiting until the bait is gone.
Rod back out on the spot with 5 spombs over the top, and then still a further 2 spombs every hour of inactivity.
The day passed quickly and quietly but it was a treat to be able to sit out in the sun with just a t shirt on!
The boats slowly but surely left and the water took on a completely different atmosphere.
It wasn’t until 16:00 when my right hand rod took on a dangerous curve kiting right again. *due to the snags to my left I point my rods at the snags with the line fairly tight towards the right so most fish tend to feel the side strain upon hitting the lead and kite right clear of the snags.* I knew from the off this was a bigger fish with the slow deep fight with the occasional head shake, just textbook big fish fight.
The water is gin clear so seeing a big mirror pop up to the surface after 10 minutes of wallowing in the deep was enough to make the knees shake but soon enough she was in the net.
The fish went 34.5lb on the scales and was an extremely welcome visitor in what I thought was going to end a quiet day!
In what was supposed to be a quick bit of casting to get the rig back in position took about 10 minutes and 8 recasts before I was happy as a devilish wind picked up and began hacking through from right to left.
After that I was on the blower to the father talking all things fish and going through the day’s events leading upto that fish, I left him asking if it was one of the big scaly mirrors that reside in the lake as my ATT alarm on the left hand rod indicated a vicious drop back, I quickly threw the phone down and leaped into action grabbing the rod and reeling like a maniac for what seemed like minutes before I made contact with a very heavy angry moving fish, again colossal head shakes lunging the rod down and a slow deep battle began, unlike the last fish this one made its way into the margins quite quickly after the initial take but then began its attack stripping yards and yards of line every time I thought it was tiring it would strip 50 yards of line and leave me standing by the edge with the net waving about in the water.
It wasn’t until it got close that I saw a turn from a very big scaly mirror that sent my legs into jaeger/jelly mode.. Another 3-4 strips of line and she finally succumbed to the added pressure from the free spirit rod..
You never know how big a fish is until you try and lift it out the water.. And this was BIG.
I lay it in the mat to which it filled every corner and carefully hoisted it onto the weigh bar..
Spinning the needle round to 41.2lbs, a second forty from the water since last October, including a no fishing rule from middle of December to middle of March.
She was mine, beautiful apple slice scales ran along its underside and back with very distinctive star burst scales on both sides of its orange and purple coloured body.
A fish that I had never seen in any of the locals photos and one that made me a very happy angler leaving me sitting behind rods not knowing what to do, so I packed up and went home.