Last time i wrote about my time at a lake i was over Yateley way and to be honest things slowed down for me over there come the autumn and winter time due to family and work life. I decided i needed to look for a lake closer to home and work so that i could make the most of my fishing time and keep up the pre-baiting.
After searching around for a couple of months over the coldest part of winter i came across a beautiful mature lake in West Sussex and only 7 miles from work. The lake is very narrow, at most 80 yards at its widest but very long which makes locating the carp quite difficult as they can be anywhere along the stretch and to make things worse its not the most accessible lake ever but i was up for the challenge.
Without hesitating i called the fishery manager and managed to get a spot in late February which i thought was a result as i would be able to start applying the bait well before spring and get them feeding on it with confidence.
As soon as the ice melted i was down the lake to have a lead about with the marker rod, a few locals said not to bother as there were no features and the bottom was like a bowl. Never the less i still had a day with the marker and to be fair to the locals i didn’t find any features but at least i knew the depth of the lake and where the lake started to drop off etc. Its ok to listen to local knowledge but always remember to do what has worked for you and gain your own knowledge of the lake. While i was there i decided to give the lake a hit of bait but i was going to spread it out over a couple of spots as i was still unsure which swims were the popular ones and didn’t want all my eggs in one basket so to speak.
My bait choice as always was the XXX but due to the very cold weather i also mixed it up a bit and added the Live System due to its winter track record and thought i might manage to nick a bite on it before they switched onto the XXX. I also bulked the bollies out with a mixture of XXX Pellets, Amino Green 365 Pellets and coated the lot with Feedstim XP and Marine Amino Compound. I was given some advice by the fishery manager before i started fishing in that the lake was known to be hard going and not to be put off if i didn’t catch for some time. He also said that the carp were very wary of round baits so with this in mind i decided that i would pre-bait with whole and chopped baits and used the glugged dumbbells as my hook-baits.
Over the next 5 weeks i only managed 2 over night sessions with no carp in the net and no shows but i still kept the bait going in and as the weather improved i upped the amount to about 4 kilos of mixed XXX and LS and 2 kilos of the pellet mix i mentioned per week. As the lake was very close to work i would drive down in my lunch break twice a week and bait the spots that i picked out when i first joined.
I returned for my 3rd session in mid April and also took my 6 year old son for his first over night session as he had gone on about it for ages now so i thought why not. When we arrived the lake was empty so we had the choice of swims but to be honest due to the non stop rain we all had the pathway was a nightmare with the barrow so we chose a swim i had been baiting close to the edge next to some reeds and lilies but fished it from the far bank as it was closer to the car park. We set up camp and got all 3 rods on the spots armed with double glugged Live System dumbbells on my new favored rig that was shown to me last year.
The lake was calm all night until i was woken at 1am by my first screamer on the new lake, she put up a great fight and i was extra careful as I think we all are due to it being my first carp from a new water.
She managed to lock me up in a set of pads in front of the swim and for the next couple of minutes I just kept the pressure on, the weight felt dead with no movement so i slacked off and then put the rod tip high in the air and felt her knock her angry head then she came free, I slipped the net under her and she was mine.
I woke my boy as this would be his first carp over 10lb he would have seen and his face when he saw her being lifted out of the water and onto the mat brought back memories of when I saw my first big carp and thought thats it I’m hooked. We weighed her and she went 21lb on the nose and we were over the moon. We continued to take the necessary photos and placed her back to where she came from and while my boy went to sleep I sat up for the rest of the night drinking tea until first light.
I wasn’t able to fish for the next couple of weeks due to work but i still kept the bait going in twice a week regardless as i knew that they would be feeding now as the weather was on the up and the fact that you could see them in the edge and around the reeds feeding on my bait.
I was due to go away at the end of May for nearly a month and knew that i would only be able to fish one more time before I went so I chose my session when i knew there would be a new or full moon as i have always favored these times to fish if i could help it. I continued with the pre-baiting and gave the spot that i wanted to fish a big hit two days before I knew I was going to fish.
I arrived at the lake with only one other angler on and to my relief the swim was free, the first thing i did was set the traps and again I was fishing to the far side of the lake so it took a couple of casts to get them right but in the end i was happy. All 3 rods were fished again with 2 glugged dumbbells but this time 2 had XXX on them and the other Live System and due to the big hit of bait i didn’t put any freebies out except for a small stick mix on each just to mask the hook. As i didn’t want any bait out on the spots other than the hookbait I just used Salmon Crumb Pellets coated in Hemp Oil in the sticks just for attraction proposes.
I was woken at 3am to my middle rod screaming off and as soon as I struck into it I knew it was a good fish. The fight went on for what felt like 20 minutes but was probably more like 10 minutes, like my last capture this fish also took me into some pads and I tried with all my might and patients to get her free but she just wouldn’t budge. I decided I had to get in and get a different angle on the line, it turned out to be the right decision and she was soon free. I stepped back to reach the net and slipped it under her, I looked into the net and knew this was a nice fish and possibly a new PB. I took the hook out while she was in the net and let her chill out while i sorted my self as i was now soaked to the skin.
I lifted her out and at that point knew I shouldn’t have given her time to rest as she was very angry and wouldn’t stop flapping about which made the self takes at just gone 3am a time to remember. I managed a couple of good shots and knew by lifting her she was a good weight and possible my first 30!
I got the sling and scales set and luckily there was a big nail in a massive oak tree in this swim which is used to weigh the fish and steady the scales from hand shake. After a very nervous couple of seconds as the needle pointed just over 30 and then slowly settled on 29.04 lb due to the excess of water dripping out the sling the feeling was a bitter sweet one as it was my new PB but also i had just missed out on the 30 by only 12oz.
Never the less i was over the moon and now freezing as i was still soaked, I slipped her back and celebrated how most of us do and had a couple of mugs of tea until first light when i started to pack up a happy man and looking forward to my return.
Until Next Time be lucky
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