With the reports of spring approaching, I finally have the opportunity to access my new water for the coming year after what can only be described as some miserable attempts. The excessive flooding that has been going on in the south has meant that I have not being able to get within 100 yards of the lake let alone fish it.
The time had finally come for me to make my decision on when to have my last session on my local ticket water in the Cotswolds. I had previously planned to fish my final session in Feb and start on my new water but the floods had put pay to that idea.
My local water is an Eight acre gravel pit with depths ranging from 6ft – 14ft with the lake almost divided into two with one side full of weed and the other side baron of anything but gravel.
I was approaching the end of my campaign on my water in the Cotswolds but knew I had a couple of sessions left. The plan was simple and that was to follow on from my previous years on the lake where I had learnt a lot. My main target was to keep the bait trickling in through the winter and to be consistent with the spots by baiting in tight areas (which was easier said than done with them howling easterly crosswinds punishing you for your efforts). That way I could try and keep the bait feeding on my spots and get them used to feeding on my bait so that when I turned up to fish, the spots would be primed and the carp would have had enough free meals to feed with confidence.
The winter had been a long one and between January and April I had managed Nine fish up to 36lb by simply keeping the bait trickling in and fishing quick overnighters where time allowed.
I had been baiting my spots on a regular basis and although the weather had been horrendous, I had a spare night to play with and got myself down to the like on a Sunday afternoon for a 16 hour session. I turned up to be greeted with what can only be described as the worst weather conditions I could of imagined, 40mph easterly winds with a wind chill factor that must have been pushing the minus double figures.
With only my oval for shelter I decided to opt to fish on the back of the wind and made my return to a swim that I had spent some time in the previous year and I knew there was a fair sized silt patch at about 60 yards which I could just about get 3 rods on before the darkness fell. This is one of the spots I had trickled bait into but not fished for a while. I decided to fish all three rods on the spot and with enough light left, I decided to spod 100 baits over the top and get the oval up before darkness descended.
Throughout the night the winds were horrendous and waking me regularly, unfortunately nothing occurred through the darkness but at 8.30am the hanger on my right hand rod pulled up tight to the rod and I was in contact with a lovely 16lb common.
I quickly slipped the fish back and began to breakdown the rod I had just caught on as I had to leave the lake at 9.15am. I was beginning to put the oval down and an identical take occurred on my middle rod. Straightaway I knew this was a better fish and after a ten minute epic battle the net was being slipped under a cracking mirror which pulled the scales round to a pleasing 36Lb (main pic). I only had five minutes left before I had to be away from the lake, it was an awesome way to end an overnighter and one that will be remembered for a long time to come, not only for the fish but also for the horrendous weather.
By learning the patterns of when other anglers would be frequenting the lake I was able to pick my times to turn up and put my bait in unnoticed, usually every third day and leaving a day in between before fishing my spots.
The baiting was kept simple, half a kilo of 15mm Odyssey XXX boilies on each of my spots followed by 10 small mesh pva bags filled with matching pellets and one boilie inside each as this would be how I would be fishing on the sessions.
By Pre baiting with a pva bag of pellets and one boilie in each I was able mimic my actual presentation whilst fishing
I had also began to learn that that during the 24hr sessions the fish would refuse to feed for 23 of them and then feed for a short period where multiple takes were possible and this would be when fishing efficiently and being prepared would pay dividends.
Moving on to my final session (for now)
I turned up to the lake to find the first south westerly wind since I can remember and with just two other anglers on the lake.
Fortunately neither were near any of the spots I had been baiting regularly. I made my way round the lake to look at the possibilities. It just so happened that one of my baited spots happened to be on the end of the south westerly so this made my swim choice easier.
The swim I had chosen was on the edge of an entrance into a small bay with a big expanse of water in front of me which also gave me the option to set a trap in the channel leading to the bay. My pre-baited spot was at 65 yards range to a silt patch behind a decaying weed bed which was big enough to get two rods on comfortably and the other rod was to be cast on the far margin of the channel into the bay over light silk weed.
My rigs were kept simple, my chosen supple braid hook length at 8 inches long with a loop knot one end and a size 8 ESP T6 raptor tied knotless knot with a small lump of putty 2” from the hook.
The hook bait was my ever faithful critically balanced snowman consisting of an Odyssey 15mm bottom bait tipped with a Hellraiser Mini Bitez pop up to which a nicked a small mesh pva bag of pellets onto the hook.
My rigs were kept simple
Loose feed for the session consisted of ½ kilo of 15mm boilies but no pva bags of pellets as the only pellets put out were going to be the ones tightly grouped around my hook bait.
All rods were out and with a brew in hand I had a look into the bay to my right to find a lovely mid 20 common in the snags (unfortunately unfishable) taking advantage of the years first warm sun. This gave me great confidence that the fish were beginning to move around a bit more and hopefully more willing to feed.
Night fell and I stayed awake as long as possible desperately trying to hear any signs of fish within the area but to no avail. A fishless night until 7.30am the following morning when I received two single bleeps on the left hand rod on the pre baited spot. I moved towards the rod and just as the bobbin hit the top and turned into a one toner. I lifted into the fish and after a short fight I found myself slipping the net under a stunning 24lb common.
nicely proportioned 24Lb common of the pre-baited spot
I managed to unhook the fish in the net and secure it in the margins, as previously noted I knew the feeding spells were short so I quickly clipped the rod back up and with the use of an ESP mini clip link clipped on a ready prepared hook length with pva mesh bag on and managed to get the rod back out onto the spot first time.
Now onto taking the pics of the common and no sooner had I put her back and at 8.15am the same rod ripped off again with an instant one toner. After another short fight I was again slipping the net under one of the lakes gorgeous linears at 26lb.
A cracking 26Lber just minutes after the re-cast
I adopted the same procedure as last time and the rod was quickly put back out onto the spot but with no further luck this time.
As I previously highlighted the importance of getting the rods back out to the spots is paramount and with the use of quick links and ready prepared rigs there really is no excuse to have the rods out of the water for longer than necessary.
A truly great session to finish my time on the local pit (for now)
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