Up bright and early for work at 3am, I was partly thinking about the long shift I had ahead of me but mainly about what might have been caught throughout the night on Yateley North Lake. As time went by and I could see the sun starting to beam through the window, I knew I had to get the down the lake ASAP.
A quick drive home for a change of clothes and the gear was swiftly loaded into the car – I was off to Yateley. At around 12.30pm I was going through the gate and was on my way up the track to the lake; all I had to on my mind was fishing a swim known as Basil’s. When I got to my favoured plot I was relieved to see the swim was free so felt I was in for a good shout. I had forgotten there was a swim directly opposite, which I soon realised had been taken by my good friend Tom.
I dropped in to see Tom and after having a chat and the customary brew I went for a lap around the lake, seeing most of the fish sunbathing in the Islands Swim catching a tan in the Spring sunshine. Whilst the Islands Swim was taken I opted to fish the swim next to it known as The Channel, which I have fished during previous sessions.
The Channel swim
The sun was high in the sky but with changing pressure and dark clouds in the distance, I knew it wouldn’t be long before the rain would arrive. Once the bivvy was up everything was under it, it was time to get the rods out.
The left hand rod was cast towards the second island on the left, just off the shelf of it in 5 – 5.5ft of water. I was using a simple knotless knot rig, 8 inches in length with a size7 Arma point SSC hook with a small piece of shrink tubing on the eye and a small piece of silicone tubing on the shank of the hook. This was then baited with a CC Moore Live System hardened hookbait and then tipped off with a piece of black buoyant sweetcorn. My right hand rod, using a hinged stiff rig, was fished using 20lb X-line straight down to the lead. I was using a size 6 Korda Chod hook on 20lb Mouthtrap and for the boom section I attached a section 25lb Hybrid stiff in brown. The rig was then baited using a 15mm Live System pop up before being cast out at the same range as the left hand rod (40-50 yards) but was placed straight up the middle of the swim.
Time slowly went by that afternoon so Tom and I spent it drinking plenty of tea and having a good laugh at the historic venue as there were no appearances from the fish. I was still confident due to seeing the fish still holding up in the islands and as the night drew in we got news that a 27lb mirror had been caught. The lead went down with a very soft thud compared to the left one that absolutely cracked down. Once the rods where out and I was happy with both of them I proceeded to apply my loose feed giving each rod 3 full spombs of Live System bottom baits.
A few bleeps during the night had me awake so I knew there were fish within the area. At 4am the light started to increase and I was up bright and early again hoping to see some sort of a sign that I again had fish out in front of me. Having seen no shows or the tell-tale signs of bubbling from feeding fish I thought it was going to be a long morning leading up to my ‘last knockings’ of 11am when I had to leave.
After being awake since 4 am and still with no sign of fish in the swim, it was 10am and time for one last tea before starting to pack up. At 10:27am I again looked out into the swim to see if there was any fizzing taking place and finally THERE WAS!! The fish were clearly moving in over the right hand rod that had been cast straight up the middle of the swim.
Everything was slowly packed away and loaded onto the barrow and then, as I’d hoped, a viscous take came, gave me the welcome sound of a one-toner on my receiver. The fish tried to get around the back of the island, but I gradually managed to bring her round to my way of thinking. When she was finally under control she then weeded herself up at about 30 yards range which actually made the battle much easier. I slowly and carefully worked her back towards me, over the net cord and she was in the net!! I knew it was a good fish and hoisted her up onto the scales; with the needle stopping at 32lb it was a new PB and my first 30!! I was over the moon with the weight and to have such a stunning fish as my new PB.
The pictures where done by Tom and she was slipped back into her historic Yateley home.
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