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Thoughts of Summer by James Smith

Thoughts of Summer by James Smith

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With the country blanketed with snow I can’t help but look forward to the warmer months, now I love the winter and the deserted banks however this winter seems to have dragged on what with numerous floods, heavy snow and frozen lakes – I will glad to see the back of it.

Whilst I was on a uneventful social session last weekend with a good friend talk turned to the summer and what our hopes and expectations were with floater fishing being mentioned numerous times which got me reminiscing about a session from a few years ago which I shared with my mate and thought I would share with you.

It was August 2010 and after battling the traffic to get to my intimate syndicate before it was stitched up – I eventually arrived at 4pm and with the car park soon filling up I grabbed a bucket out of the van and did a quick lap of the lake and whilst standing in the “Trees” I saw a good fish crash out at about 30 yards range “that’ll do I thought!” I dropped my bucket to claim the swim then jogged back to the van to fetch the rest of my kit.

Within minutes I was back in the swim sweating in the afternoon heat, fortunately the “Trees” offered some sanctuary from the sweltering sun and after a quick drink I managed to get my rods sorted for the night ahead.

I placed one of my baits by hand with a good scattering of hemp over the top, the other two were put on proven areas with the ever faithful “Ninja Rigs”, all 3 were baited with black tiger nuts if my memory serves me right.

The next few hours were spent sat under a tree enjoying a coffee and soaking up the atmosphere, it was about 7pm when Pete unexpectedly turned up and after standing in my swim for a good 15 minutes he decided to jump in the swim next door for a social as the rest of the lake was now full.

Just as he was walking back past me towards his car a good fish rolled between our two swims – we both froze and looked at each other and I said to him “You want to hurry up mate or I am going to get a rod on that!” his walk soon turned to a quick sprint and within a few minutes he was barrowing through my swim at speed nearly knocking me into the margins in the process.

Once he had got his rods sorted we put our chairs between the swims and set the stall out for a good social and with a Chinese banquet being delivered to our swim life seemed very good.

After eating much more than we probably should have we sat up late into the night discussing anything and everything Carp related, before moving on and moaning about why we had to spend 5 days a week at work both threatening to become part timers…….the mood soon lifted though when the liners started and the fish started rolling in huge numbers over both of our swims, we both felt that it wasn’t a matter of if but when we will get a take!

The liners continued all night, my sleep was restless to say in the least and a few times I jumped out of the bag and straight onto the rods thinking it was going to rattle off!

I eventually gave up on the idea of sleep at about 4am and rolled out of the bag and fired up the Coleman before going and sitting by the rods

Dawn soon arrived and I was treated to a stunning sunrise, the kind that makes you realise just how lucky we as anglers are to experience these on a regular basis and with the area I had baited with hemp resembled a Jacuzzi – I actually felt like I was in Heaven!

There was fish everywhere, I scratched my head wondering why I hadn’t had a take in the night, I just couldn’t understand it, the only conclusion that I could come up with was that I had been “done” in the night and one of the aggressive liners was actually an aborted take.

I heard Pete’s alarm go into melt down at about 07:30am but unfortunately it resulted in him losing a good fish in the weed, I felt absolutely gutted for him……so much so that I got him to make me a Bacon roll which he reluctantly agreed too!

It was about mid-morning when I noticed a few fish starting to mooch about on the surface, I didn’t have any floater gear with me at all so begged all the bits and bobs I needed off Pete, including some 3mm floating pellets that he had stashed in the bottom of his rucksack.

Within minutes I had managed to get the smaller carp feeding quite confidently close in, then typically just before I was about to introduce a hook bait the seagulls turned up and spooked them off whilst smashing the water to foam – great!

I spat my dummy out and just chucked the hook bait out somewhere into the lake, just after I heard a voice “you floater fishing bud?” it was Ian “dirtydog” Brown, “I’m trying, but I’ve had enough, the bloody seagulls have ruined any chance I had” I mumbled. Ian said “Come on, we will get them going bud!” in his normally chirpy tone.

Ian pulled out a tub of what he referred to as his “magic mixers”, they were about 8mm the same size I normally use (if I had brought them!), these were perfect as they could be catapulted further to where the bigger fish were showing just past the Island, Ian flicked single mixers out one by one for probably an hour, we both sat eyes fixed to the water, they were certainly getting a taste for them so I introduced a hook bait, seconds later I had a decent take but pulled out of it, 3 1/4 TC Torrix`s are really not built for floater fishing!

Ian started flicking baits out again then I introduced a hook bait. it didn’t take long for the bait to disappear and as I struck there was a huge explosion as what was obviously a good fish tried to dig itself into the nearest weed bed, I applied as much pressure as I dared but it was soon stuck solid in the middle of the lake – Pete appeared behind me, he had watched the action unfold from up a tree so quickly wound his rods in to give assistance, I didn’t even need to ask him…..he just said “I will go and get my waders!”.

As soon as Pete had returned he helped me get my waders on whilst I kept pressure on the fish then we waded out to the Island all whilst Brownie began documenting the fight with my SLR, within a minute we were both safely on the Island and with a bit of persuasion I managed to get the fish moving briefly before it weeded itself up once again, this continued for a good 20 minutes….my Torrix was at full battle curve and all the while I was expecting the rod to spring back with line hanging limp from the tip but luck was on my side and inch by inch I managed to get the leviathan towards the bank – time stood still for a few seconds and in a dreamlike state of mind the fish and half a tonne of weed was expertly netted by Pete, we both knew at this point that it was “The Snub Nose Mirror” as Pete had caught it a few months previous, I actually photographed it for him and said I would love to catch her one day, now it was my turn and I was chuffed to bits!

We both waded back to the bank feeling like heroes that had won a battle – Pete carried the fish as I was still sweating from the fight and gasping for my breath!

She behaved like a perfect lady on the bank and we weighed her at 31.08, the photographs were soon done and she was safely returned to her watery home.

Pete left me to compose myself and went back to his swim to flick a couple of baits out for the last few hours and within 20 minutes I heard his alarm screaming for attention as he hooked into another powerful fish but again he lost it in the weed……I really felt gutted for him now, losing a fish is never nice but two on the bounce is awful!

Despite Pete’s unfortunate lost fish, it was an awesome session and one I shall most definitely remember for the rest of my life – writing about it now has made me all excited as the memories come flooding back.

I had a weakness at the time in the form of my floater fishing as I was never patient enough and gave in too easily however after a brief lesson with the “Master of the Art” I found myself cradling a new floater PB.

To share that kind of memory with friends is very special and I hope to repeat it one day. 

Until next time,


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