After my success in the autumn I had to wait until early the next spring before I could get out again. A combination of work and the weather had put paid to any plans to fish through the winter months.
I arrived in late-March and the weather was still cold, there was an easterly wind blowing and despite the lake being relatively green it still looked bleak and uninviting. We set up on the far bank with the wind behind us, sheltered by a large hedgerow. A large dark fish crashed out almost immediately to our right hand side which filled us with confidence. Little were we to know it would be a while before we saw another fish!
Our pegs were relatively similar; thick marginal weed which cleared up to a silty, choddy bottom for 50-60 yds with thick weed beds dotted around. This then cleared slightly at about 75yds onto a gravelly plateau. Despite this being an obvious hotspot it has good form and therefore would require at least one rod to be fished to it.
I was so confident in my current method that I chose to start with all three rods on the same set up. 12mm White Northern Special pop ups were whittled down and a tiny shot added to the hair so they only just held a size 7 longshank flat on the bottom. These were fished on short, soft braided hook lengthsof around three inches in length. These were fished in solid pva bags containing my potent bag mix.
The bottom inch of the bag was XP fish frenzy spod mix with a heavy glugging of boosted bloodworm liquid to make it damp and heavy and prevent too much rising off the bottom. Small particles still break off and move through the water column but I feel this only adds to the attraction. Using a spod mix in a pva bag had been getting me some funny looks on the many day ticket lakes I’ve taken it to but the results speak for themselves and many of my mates are now converts. Every hour I add another splash of bloodworm liquid, this way the fine particles are constantly soaking up the awesome attraction of the liquid and the mix actually gets better and better as the session goes on.
After this I add an inch of my pellet mix. I make this by throwing a kilo of standard trout pellet in 2mm, a kilo of mini halibut pellet in 2mm and a kilo bag of CC Moore’s Oily Bag Mix all into a bucket together and thoroughly mix it up.
After this goes a handful of maggots and the lead followed by another two inches of the pellet mix. The bag is then tied off as tightly as possible and pierced to ensure is falls through the water as quickly as possible.
Two rods went out to the plateau and one was fished about 30yds out, halfway between the marginal weed and the plateau. And there they stayed for 48 hours!
Despite regular recasts and searching the swims, two days later we were still without an indication. The wind had begun to change and was now diagonal over our shoulders but this had had little effect on the fish and we had seen nothing show, not even through the night.
I had however begun to trickle a bit of hemp and maggot into a reed lined bay that was completely sheltered from the wind. Every couple of hours for the last 24 hours I had wandered down and there a ‘pulted a couple of big handfuls of each along the reeds. Making sure that some went long into the reeds themselves in order to let any resident fish feed freely and build their confidence, hopefully enticing them out onto the bait along the edge.
So after baiting this swim for 24 hours I decided to move in there about 8am on the last day of our session. The rigs were underarm flicked out to the spots, one at about 10yds in the mouth of a small channel and one a little further tight against the reeds. I kept the bait going in, a couple of pouchfuls every hour.
A couple of hours later, around 11am, the bobbin crashed up into the left hand rod and the tight clutch started to give line as a large fish bow waved out of the mouth of the channel. Hooking such a large fish just 10yds out was a sight to see as it threw up larges waves of water as it headed out into the open water. The fish was heavy and sluggish and plodded around in the open water. After the intial fireworks the fight was unspectacular and the fish was soon in the net.
The fish was a big deep fish with very broad shoulders, the photographs don’t really do it justice. On the scales it went 37lb 8oz and the tiny whittled down bait was dwarfed by the size of its mouth. It behaved well and sat still whilst being photographed before being released back into its watery home.
The rod was recast and another couple of pouchfuls of maggot and hemp deposited over the top. For some reason I didn’t feel happy with where the right hand rod was positioned so I recast that rod too. I moved it further up the reeds so it sat just off of the point of the reed bed. Time spent up a nearby tree had revealed lots of underwater obstacles so I was careful to position it between these rather than into them.
I continued to trickle the maggot and hemp mix over the rods every hour until about 4pm the right hand rod blitzed off into open water. The fish kited hard on the tight line before turning and heading straight back towards the reeds. It was a tense fight as a large fish tried its hardest to get into the thick reeds and I had to pull hard on a short, tight line to prevent it from doing so. I was conscious the hook could pull at any second but if it made it into the snags then I would definitely lose it. After several fraught minutes it began to boil right on the edge of the reeds. It then moved back into open water and even though the fight was far from over the remainder would be dealt with in the safety of the open water.
As I pulled the fish over the spreader I could see a large, deep common that could seriously push my personal best. I have always had a thing for large commons and this was no exception. It was a long streamlined fish with a big tail and powerful wrist. On the scales she went 34lb 8oz and was indeed a new personal best common.
It is an age old saying but “a couple of hours in the right place is better than a week in the wrong place” had never been truer! A brace of 30’s in a couple of hours on a day ticket showing just how important location can be and just how valuable a move can be.
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