I thoroughly enjoyed my winter campaign at the ReserveLake but have been looking forward to getting back to the Park Lake this spring. It is a magical place, set in beautiful woodland and the carp show themselves far more readily than they do at the other water. The Reserve Lake observes the traditional close season, whereas the Park Lake is only closed for the duration of March, making it ideal for my spring fishing. This is my 4th season on the lake and in each of the previous 3 years my first session had resulted in a blank and I was beginning to think that these first sessions were cursed. Here’s an account of my first session, I was determined to break the curse this time…..
The lake opened on the 31st March which was a Saturday. As usual I was working all weekend but took the Monday off work and arranged to start late on Tuesday enabling me to do a 2 night session. As it had only been open for a day or so I expected it to be extremely busy, however I was pleasantly surprised to find only 7 anglers on the lake when I got there on Sunday evening. It transpired that only one fish had been caught on opening night, and sod’s law it was the most sought-after fish in the lake, The Dragon – hence why a few people had pulled off.
With plenty more to go at I spent a good hour or so walking round and watching before I saw what I was after – in a vacant swim at the top end of the lake a big mirror silently poked its head out and slipped back into the water. I was round there in a shot and saw a couple more fish show as I was tying on the new rigs. I plopped 2 single pop-ups into the area where the fish had showed, laid my rods on the floor and stood watching the water, expecting one of them to go at any minute. I had a great view almost of the entire lake from here and I saw several more fish show in my swim, and virtually nothing elsewhere. Confident that I was in the right place I set up my house for the night and watched the fish show into dark. I was disappointed when I woke just before light after a blank night – I had been really confident of a take. A little later I found out that 2 fish had been caught from the swim next door in the night (he had now left), and later that morning a mate caught a lovely 32lb mirror a couple of swims further down. Even though they had showed in my swim it was clear that they had drifted out and fed elsewhere. I packed all but my rods away and made my mind up to move to wherever I saw fish. It turned out that I didn’t need to move far as a little later a fish showed at range in front of the swim next door.
I moved straight away and spent the day fishing at range towards the island where the fish had showed. Early in the afternoon another angler arrived at the precise time that a few fish began showing in the swim I had vacated earlier. Needless to say he jumped in there. I sat quietly smiling to myself, content with the knowledge that they had shown there but not fed the previous day and was confident today would be the same and I had made the right decision to move. No more than 30 mins later my confidence was called into question when matey in the next swim caught a small common straight after casting! During the late afternoon and early evening loads more fish showed in the same area and sure enough he had another one, a mirror of around 29lb. I was now kicking myself for moving and wondering what I had done wrong the previous day – it was obviously the dreaded curse!
It was getting dark and the only shows were in the swim next door. I was as close as I could be so I stayed put. It seemed everyone was using single pop ups so I decided to use bottom baits on both rods for the night and introduce a bit of bait. I decided to fish to the back of a bar at about 60 yards range but as I was stood with my rod in my hand preparing to cast a fish poked its head out right in front of me, no more than 20yrds out. About 0.1 seconds later my lead followed the fish into the water. I felt the lead down and as I did so I felt it actually hit the fish during its descent! It obviously spooked it as a huge patch of bubbles came up to the surface. Just my luck to finally see a fish and then accidentally bash the
poor thing on the head with a 1.5oz lead! Once again my thoughts of the curse came back to me….
In the absence of any other shows I left that rod where it was, spread about half a kilo of bait around the area and cast the left hand rod to the bar with a similar amount of bait. Nothing happened during the night but I was woken just before light in the best way possible – the right hand rod
I was on it in a shot and played the fish gently as it plodded about in open water. It didn’t feel particularly big but I didn’t care; as long as I could get it in the net I would break the curse! Sure enough a few minutes later a rather odd looking common was safely in the net. Once I had
recast I got the fish onto the mat, it was a long thin fish that weight an ounce under 25lb and it had a “parrot” mouth. I decided not to take any pictures, so I slipped her back and watched the fish that had finally broken my opening session curse swim steadily back out into the lake
I sat with a brew watching the mist rise off the water and everything spring into life. Shortly afterwards I packed up and went to work,
content with my result and itching to get back the following week….