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Blog 2 – A Trio Of 30′s & The One That Got Away – Matt Jackson

Blog 2 – A Trio Of 30′s & The One That Got Away – Matt Jackson

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With the winter passing, sun shining and the leaves beginning to bloom, it was fast approaching clubbing season on the fishing calendar. The rivers had shut down for their annual rest and the carp gear was once again dusted off and prepped. Having not really used my Wasing ticket this year, I’d set aside the final three months to have a real good go, and try and bag one of the other biguns that reside in the record breaking Cranwells.

Retuning in April, the lake was a completely different dynamic from the previous season and it took a few trips to get back into the swing of things. The lake depth was a few feet and there was a real outbreak of horrible silkweed, covering the majority of spots I had marked down from my time the year before. It was probably my third outing before I managed a bite, which came off a hump at about 130 yards range, in front of The Point swim. I’d just fired the kettle on for a bit of help out the bag when the rod fished at range, pulled up, completely out of the blue.

At first, I looked out expecting to see the resident family of coots having a free breakfast, but whilst I scanned, the tip had begun to kick round and the clutch began slowly ticking away. I scurried out to the rod and lent in hard, but the fish kept moving, before going to ground in the deeper water behind the spot. It wasn’t budging, so 20 or so minutes of trying different angles and putting the rod down followed, before the fish finally moved and I could begin to gain. I managed a good 70 yards back on the reel, but I just couldn’t get the thing up and off the bottom.

Inevitably, it all went solid again and I was back to teasing and patiently waiting. The same as the first time round, it didn’t give up easily and another 20 minutes stalemate followed. I’d given up waiting for it to swim out of its own accord, and as I was in the process of walking back with the rod at full compression, it began to shift. I inched back as much as I dared to keep it all moving and within a few seconds, a huge black back broke the surface at about 60 yards range and just wallowed like a pig. I breathed I sigh of relief, as in my mind, I’d seen out the worst of the battle and it was now just a case of leading the fish towards the net.

As quickly as that thought entered my head, the fish woke up and sure as hell didn’t like my idea of an easy battle following. The Point Swim fishes up a large channel in between two islands, with the island on the left only running out to about 60 yards. So, of course, this fish suddenly knew exactly where it was heading. I watched as it powered its way across the surface, snaking as it kicked with its top few inches out the water. All I could do was wind as hard and fast as I could in an attempt to steer its head before it reached the end of the island.  I only needed another yard or two and it could have been a completely different story, but in the final second before it reached the island, the pressure was too great, and the fish had won. I was overcome with that sickening feeling as everything fell slack and the lead began to skip along the surface back to me. There’s no doubt in my mind it was one of the special ones, but which one I’ll never know.

I had no more action after that bite, but with a few nights left ahead of me, I moved around to the other side of the lake to get out to roughly the same zone. There seemed to be much more activity at night during this particular trip, so I had been playing around with some special high attract paste hook baits, for maximum pulling power. To make them, I simply crumble up a few tuna bottom baits, add a teaspoon of pure glm powder, and used a dash of liquid glm to bind it into a stiff paste. I then mould a small piece of the paste around a 12mm cork ball, as you would if you were making a corkball pop-up, but instead of boiling the finished bait, I tightly mesh it in some ladies tights. What you’re left with is a pop up that can be pierced and flossed to a rig ring, that absolutely oozes attraction the whole time it is in the water. Believe me, it’s so good, you can see the attractors still pluming off if you drop it in the edge, even after its been out for the night.

I still love a good bright bait too, so when I was expecting action during daylight hours, I was back to the washed out pink Dairy Supremes which have been working great in the crystal clear shallow water. Apart from being an awesome flavour profile, I think they are just that bit more subtle than my favoured white Northerns in that situation, sometimes being fished in depths of just a few feet.

Switching between the two methods and keeping a good supply of the awesome Paciffic Tuna going in, I managed a nice little flurry of fish to mid 30’s, which included a 35 mirror, a 35 common and a 33 ghosty.

Despite looking most days, I only definitely came across one of the big ones I wanted on one occasion. I’d been watching one group of fish for a while when another moved in, and in that group was the big common.

With so many fish now in the swim, it just wasn’t possible to single it out. This is always going to be a downside to such a heavily stocked lake. Funnily enough, though, only one that I definitely didn’t want to catch, the Parrot, was the one that I kept on finding. Normally just milling about, but full on troughing on one occasion. A real sight to see in itself.

I had to have surgery to repair damaged ligaments in my wrist at the end of May, so as I write this with one hand, I’m absolutely clucking to get this cast off and get out again. Still, It should be off just in time for Autumn, so fingers crossed, I’ll be back on the hunt for one of those big commons just in time….


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