I seemed to be very unlucky with my timings throughout the winter just gone, every time that I decided to go fishing, virtually every night on the bank I endured minus three or four temperature readings on the thermometer, resulting in two different lakes freezing over on me and arriving at others to also find a lid on them (very frustrating). My last session in the middle of February, I ended up packing down in a snow blizzard, which I have to say was quite possibly the one of the most treacherous and worst pack downs I have ever experienced. So as you can imagine my unfortunate timings meant my campaign through the winter months was the most unproductive yet.
With some milder temperatures arriving and spring fast approaching, my syndicate waters were due to close at the end of March for two month’s, so I decided to really focus my efforts on making the most of the last four weeks available to fish. I work locally, so I had been popping in every now and then to look for any signs of fish moving – any signs of fizzing or showing. I have to say, I didn’t see a great deal but this wasn’t to deter me away, as I knew the fish were in there somewhere! I just had to wet a line so to speak and get some rod hours in, so I could start building a picture of what the fish might be up to.
My first trip was a short five-hour day session on a Sunday. I arrived to find the lake deserted of anglers. This was very good for me as from one particular swim I could virtually cast the distance of the lake, meaning I could keep moving my rigs around hoping to land on a few fish. Unexpectedly, it didn’t take long for me to get a bite and after only forty five minutes my Bug indicator jammed up into my alarm and I enjoyed a 15 minute battle with a stunning, hard fighting 24lbs 7oz common. I was very pleased with this fish, considering the suffering I had gone through during the winter. Unfortunately, that was the only action I had throughout the day but I left the lake with a smile on my face and I couldn’t wait to get back down.
The next trip was most definitely one to remember. I planned to do the following weekend with my lovely girlfriend Samantha for 48 hours; she got a guest ticket for the weekend in search of a new PB. With a good head of 20’s and half a dozen 30’s to go at in our chosen lake at the syndicate, it was a great chance for Sam to beat her 21lb 2oz PB ghostie. I got set up in the evening where I had seen a fish show at around 40 yards, I got cast out just as the sun was setting and Sam arrived later in the evening and got her rods cast out in the darkness where the fish had showed. At 1am, Sam received a screaming run which resulted in her new PB Common at 20lb 7ozs, what a result!
We took some really nice pictures and let the fish go back in to its home and we returned to the land of nod. At 6am, Sam received another take and she was on the rod in seconds, this time she had an epic battle on her hands. Twenty minutes later, she skillfully landed what looked like a very chunky common and I said to Sam: “it looks like a bit of a unit and another PB”. To our amazement the fish tipped the scales round to 28lb – smashing her previous PB!
I was seriously made up for her and she couldn’t stop smiling. Sam gracefully hoisted the fish up for the photos then she released the beast back into its home. Full of adrenaline, we decided to stay up and watch the water for any signs of movement. We didn’t see a great deal, but at around 11am Sam had another take, this time resulting in a smaller 7lb Common. I was getting completely shown up, but on this occasion I couldn’t have cared less, in fact I was buzzing for her and couldn’t have wanted the session to have gone any other way. By the evening though, it was evident that the fish had moved more in front of my swim and it looked like I would get my chance to catch a couple through the night.
I landed mirrors of 16lb and 24lb 8oz during the darkness and at first light I managed to conclude my own brace of 20’s with a 23lb 6oz Common. All of the fish fell to a 12mm pink NS1 pop-ups with a small PVA mesh bag of 2mm trout pellets attached.
Over the next two weeks, I could only manage to get down to the lake for one overnighter in between work each week. The first night I landed a mirror estimated at 15lb from the same sort of area of the lake, they seemed to be staying in the same place, which was very helpful. The week after for my following overnighter it had been a lot warmer, when I arrived to the lake I located some fish in the shallower water down a snaggy margin. During the night, using the same tactics as before, I landed two stocky mirrors of around 7lb and 9lb.
I was really starting to enjoy my fishing again, getting amongst a few fish and having a string of nights above freezing, it certainly made a more pleasurable time on the bank. My final trip on the last weekend of the month, the Friday night I did a guest ticket on a low stocked 3 acre lake, fishing the water for the first time. Sticking with my same tactics which had been producing for me previously, I landed two stocky mirrors overnight of around 14lb and 16lb. Out of eight of us fishing I was the only angler to catch so I was very pleased with my result. I had only planned to do the one night there and on my way back home, I dropped in to my syndicate to find no one on the lake again. I thought it would be just plain rude to not set up and have one last go before the season ended. I got set up in my usual spot and had fish crashing over me all night, much to my amazement I woke up in the morning to find my bobbins had hardly moved. The sun was beaming down and I knew it was time for a change of tactics. I switched both rods over to 6ft zig rigs and they were cast in 14ft of water with a small piece of yellow foam as the hook bait. Little did I know the next hour and half would be hectic – I received four bites and landed three, which included a double take. The biggest of the bunch was a cracking 28lb 4oz Common and an excellent way to end the season on a high.
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