After what seemed like an eternity, Spring is at last in full swing with the banks greening up rapidly and the bird life multiplying at an alarming rate. It had been a long old winter that saw me hang the old carp rods up and break out the light gear in search of a bit of action on the rivers for a month or two, chasing anything that wanted to play ball in such harsh conditions.
In March, as the traditional river season drew to a close, my thoughts turned once again to the carp as Spring was fast approaching, especially when the clocks had changed and the natural world was due to wake up imminently.
At this point, I hadn’t secured myself a ticket for the lake I wanted to spend the year on due to personal reasons and to be honest it wasn’t until the eleventh hour that I signed on the dotted line.
With the decision made and with a rough idea of how I was going to plan out the year tactically, I was buzzing to see how my year would unfold.
I generally only get to fish one or if I’m lucky two overnighters between work per week so while the water temperatures were still very low I would just keep mobile and incorporate a single hook bait approach to any carpy type movement I spotted out in the lake. Typically, as is usually the case early in the year on a decent sized water, the bulk of the shows were within the central area of the lake which is generally controlled by 2 or 3 swims which for this reason were obviously the first to be taken up by other anglers as you can well imagine.
After a couple of eventless overnighters in the less favourable swims, I eventually turned up one evening after work to find a decent peg available that controlled a fair bit of central open water and with a new wind from the west coming in overnight it felt good for a bite.
I awoke early the following morning with a brew in hand and staring in amazement as one fish after another crashed out in the early morning mist right over my middle rod. With no bait out apart from my single NS1 popped up hook bait I was understandably expectant. A whole hour later without a bite and zero shows I felt my chance had gone. With everything packed away and with literally ten minutes to go before I had to depart for work, the bobbin on the middle rod smashed up to the buzzer and just held there for a second before the clutch starting melting away.
After scurrying to the rod, I was soon in full contact with what felt like a very heavy fish indeed as once it was up in the water I began slowly cranking my prize to the awaiting net. All was going to plan and I felt in full control whilst reaching for the net when the rod tip sprung back and all went slack. I couldn’t believe it….my chance had gone!
After falling to my knees, I felt sickened to think what could’ve been. It was for certain a huge fish and bare in mind the water in question contains fish up to fifty pounds you can understand my pain. Disheartened, I threw the rods in the back of the car and trundled off to work with my tail between my legs, but vowing to return as soon as I could in the search for redemption.
I managed to be down the lake again after work early the following week and with a cold north easterly wind springing up I had a hunch that they just might get on it even if it was uncomfortable.
I eventually found a couple of cleanish spots out in open water and my third rod was cast onto a deep silty area right on the end of the ever strengthening wind to my left. A light scattering of Live System boilies were loosely deployed around each rod with an NS1+ pop-up being the icing on the cake.
Around 8pm, just as the light was about to fade the left hand rod gave out a short burst of bleeps that I initially thought was down to the menacing looking tufties that were lurking with intent. To my surprise, this was not the case as I hurriedly dived on the rod as it took on its full fighting curve. After a few hair raising moments ploughing through weed beds, I managed to tame a beast of a fish that was in the secure folds of my net.
A mate from across the lake had seen I was in and quickly came across to help out with proceedings as I held aloft a dark and chunky thirty one pound common for the camera. After a celebratory brew day very quickly turned into night and before I knew it I was up for work but this time with a spring in my step!
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