I finally did my first session on my new syndicate lake, Kislingbury Big lake, owned by the Stanwick Lakes complex. My ticket started on the Monday and I decided to bait an area ready for the weekend ahead. I went down twice during the week and introduced some Pacific Tuna; whole baits and chops, also a bit of sweetcorn. I arrived on the Thursday night because I managed to get the Friday off work.
I arrived at the lake just on dark, so I didn’t really have time for a walk round to see if I could spot any fish, so I decided to jump straight onto my pre-baited area for the night. I fished hinges over a light bed of silkweed with Tuna hook baits. Unfortunately, the night was unsuccessful, so I woke up at first light looking for signs of fish. Come 9′o’clock and there was not a thing to be seen, so I knew I had to make something happen.
I wound in the rods after the morning bite time and went off for a wander around the pond. Straight away, I found a big group of fish down the opposite end of the lake in a narrow channel on a stale, north easterly wind. After seeing this, I knew a move was definitely on the cards. I rushed back to my swim and packed everything down, threw it all straight on the barrow and decided to set up just off the fish. I knew that they would move out of the narrow channel come nightfall.
I had a quick lead about and found some lovely clear areas which were prime for a bottom bait. One of the areas was a smooth spot covered in thick, sticky clay. I chucked out the rigs on three different areas spread out across the swim to try and cut off any fish moving through. I put a big spread of chopped boilie over each rod and sat back in anticipation.
It wasn’t long before the middle rod was away and after a long, dogged fight, I landed a lovely, male low twenty common. Luckily, my friend arrived as I netted it, so was on hand to do a couple of stills for me. When I got the fish on the mat, the left hand rod pulled tight and another fish had hung itself. This time it was just a small stockie, which came from the entrance to the narrow water.
The evening came and went with no more activity, but the fish were still about. The next morning it looked bleak, the wind had changed and the fish seemed to have done the off. It got to about 8′o’clock, when I text my mate and said it’s looking pants up here now, then out of the blue, the right had rod went into meltdown producing another fish – this time a scaly mirror went over the net cord, which concluded my first session on the lake.
I proceeded to do a few more sessions on the lake, caught another 5 fish, but didn’t really get the buzz I was hoping for. In the back of my mind, I still had a few fish on my mind from Elsons at Stanwick Lakes, so my time was cut short. My first session back on Elsons was quite successful managing 2 fish to 27lb off the surface on a scorching hot day.
The following week my mate asked me if I wanted to have a social and I was more than up for it because we rarely get the chance to fish together. I noticed the wind was blowing south easterly, which blew straight into a narrow bay on the lake and the fish always seem to turn up there on that wind.
This area was somewhere that I had really sussed out. I learnt to know exact bite times so the decision was made. I setup in the bay and while I was sorting out the first rod, I saw 4 shows right on an area I knew was well presentable with a bottom bait. I put the first rod over the the far margin rushes, I overcast on purpose so that it went into them. I walked around with a spare rod and attached the chosen rig. I then lowered it all in with a PVA loop, ensuring the rig was tangle free and presented to its maximum ability.
The spot was like a bowl in shape but the size of a small groundsheet. The fish had cleaned everything off the spot and all that was remaining was a sticky clay patch. I put probably three handfuls of bait on the area, all of which were chops. I feel as if chops are such an edge on a boilie dominated water because nobody seems to do it. The second rod went out into a silty gully around 25 yards out.
This wasn’t really a banker spot, but when the fish turn up on it they’re normally pretty easy to catch, fishing a hinge stiff over about 150 baits spread all around the area. The final rod was a bit tricky because I’d noticed that a lot of fish were showing right down in the corner to my left and I’d never put a rod down there in the past because of the dense Canadian. It just makes it difficult to present an effective rig because most people know I can’t stand chod rigs.
I walked around in the waders and battled my way through the bushes where I knew it was clear in the edge. With all the bad winds we have had, a tree had fallen down in the water which made it a nightmare to get into the lake. I couldn’t see any fish, but something just felt right so I decided to get my little edge out of my armoury. I got back to my swim, picked up my baiting pole and went back to the spot.
I climbed back in the margin and this is when the hard work began. The baiting pole went out under the overhanging trees to its full length, I left it floating on the surface and went back to the main swim again and with a bare lead on another rod, I cast over the back of the pole. Going back round to the spot for the final time with a rig and some bait, I brought the pole in with the line over the back of it enabling me to pick up the lead.
I had a last minute urge to have a look down to my right just a rod length away. With the lead and rig now attached properly I wandered down and straight away I was amazed. The fish had cleaned out a new area and it was rather large. To my amazement, I actually spotted a fish on the area still feeding, then in came another, and another – I was so shocked they were feeding just 4 feet away from where I was standing in the water.
I just knew that this was the area I had to place my hook bait. I waited patiently for the fish to finish their business and leave the area. As soon as they did, I lowered in the rig by hand and trod the lead right into the deck to make it as heavy as possible. Again, I put a few handfuls of chops over the top of the rig and made my way back.
I tightened the rods up so I was fishing tight lines on the first and last rod (right and left) as I was fishing around snaggy areas. Also locking the clutches right up and sticking storm poles next to the rods and big snag ears to ensure everything was staying where it needed to be.
Half hour later the far margin rod hooped over and after a short and sweet fight an upper double common went into the net. I slipped it straight back wanting to get the rod back on the zone. I went into the night feeling confident like you wouldn’t believe. After seeing countless shows all evening, I dosed off quite quickly and after a busy day before I knew it 3:30am had arrived. I was awoken by the carbon of my left hand rod, the one down to my left went smashing into my storm pole and all I could hear was what sounded like a dog struggling out in the lake.
That was it, game on. I ran down barefooted rushing in anticipation wondering what had picked up my rig. Straightaway the fish flat rodded me in what seemed like an instant and went solid in weed. Holding the rod on a mega tight line, I could feel extreme grating through the weed and not feeling like I was gaining an inch. After keeping the tension on for nearly 20 minutes, I tried all sorts of different line angles. I finally felt movement.
The fish gave a violent shake of the head and freed itself first time. It then went kiting straight off down the lake and took 40yards of line from a tight clutch – there was no stopping it. After a real tussle, I finally started gaining line. I waded out to the pads in front of my swim and by the time the fish got close in, it decided it was going to go ballistic under the rod tip, wiping out all my other rods in doing so.
Out of the blue, it hit the surface and I had one shot at getting it into the net. I went straight for it, got it on to the cord but then it started thrashing about again and rolled back out. My heart dropped and I thought I could of blown it. Another minute or two of extreme worry playing it, praying that it wouldn’t fall off. I saw it was one of the “A” team under the light of dawn breaking, but couldn’t tell which one. It hit the surface for a second time and I managed to swoop it right up, this time no hesitation involved. I rested the net in the edge while I went and got my torch to identify which one it was, The Robin Common. A fish I had been after for over 2 years, a once a year fish. To say I was on cloud 9 was an understatement.