A week after breaking my “first session curse” I was back at the lake in the evening on Easter Monday. The lake had been really busy all weekend and a handful of fish had been out. Unfortunately the lake was still really busy with about 14 anglers staying that night. The lake is about 15 acres in size and there are about 18 swims so needless to say I didn’t have much choice. Due to work commitments I could only fish one night this week, though I did have the Tuesday off work so I could fish all of the next day.
Although there were very few swims left, there are 3 swims next to each other that cover the area between 2 islands. All these swims were free so I opted to fish the right hand one of these as it covers the central area of the lake where the fish tend to head when under pressure – at least I would have a fair bit of water to go at. As with many lakes, the fish behave completely differently when under pressure here and unusually I did not see a single fish show that evening. The night was a blank and due to the fact that I only had a day session ahead of me, I was up well before it got light determined to make the most of it. I packed all my gear apart from the rods away ready for a move if I saw anything. The day started with very little activity fish activity but as the early morning sun felt quite warm I moved a couple of swims along and cast 2 single baits to the shallow water that was catching the sun on the margins of an island. I scanned the water for a few hours and eventually saw a couple of shows near the car park. This was the only other area of the lake that hadn’t received any pressure the previous night so I moved around there and quietly plopped 2 baits out with very light leads, hoping not to spook any fish that had sought sanctuary from all of the lines in the water. A few lads pulled off but a few more arrived and the lake remained busy through the day. I found out that a few fish had been caught from the swims opposite where I had fished the previous night. Also a guy who had just arrived in the swim opposite me now caught a fish almost straight after casting. As is always the case when other people are catching and I’m not, I began to question what I was doing wrong. Was I trying too hard? Should I have stayed put? Just then a fish launched itself out in the swim next door so I quickly moved into the 4th swim of the day and again put out a couple of single baits to the area where the fish had showed.
The swim I was in now covered a bay which contains an out of bounds area that had been roped off. The area was out of bounds because it had a large snag in it. The reason for the snag is a whole story in itself but in summary there was a land slide a couple of years previous which was the result of some over-exuberant use of a digger by someone who will remain nameless (Clue: his first name is Rob and his second name is Nunn!!)
The roped-off area is extremely shallow and as the sun got a little warmer it became full of fish. At one time I counted over 40 fish in there, it was so frustrating not being able to get a bait to them. After a bit of head scratching and watching exactly where the fish entered and exited the bay I hatched a plan to catch them from open water. Now I’m afraid I need to play my cards close to my chest here because my plan worked remarkably well and if other people on the lake catch on to what I was doing, it is sure to blow before I have another opportunity to try it. I will go into detail at a later date, once I’ve had chance to fully exploit the method! I can also assure you that everything was legal and at no time did I cast over or under the rope (green eyed monsters are bound to assume that!!)
So with the plan hatched and the baits in position I sat back and relaxed, enjoying the sunshine. As I’d been up since about 4am I started to nod off but was awoken by a take on the right hand rod. A few minutes later possibly the smallest common in the lake was in the net. For the record she weighed 14lb. Oh well, at least I’d caught one! It started to get cloudy and think this helped as more fish seemed to drift out into open water. Less than half an hour later the same rod went again, this time the culprit was the second smallest common in the lake, a 15lb’er! Again, I was just happy to have had a bite though couldn’t help wondering if my plan would only work on smaller fish. I didn’t have long to wait before I had another take. This time it felt a slightly better fish and after a good old scrap a very familiar common was in the net. Again not huge, just under 25lb, but the strange thing is that it was the same “parrot mouthed” fish that I had caught the previous week! This time I did her the justice of taking a picture before slipping her back.
I was well happy with my result, 3 fish in just over 2 hours. A couple of guys came round to generally take the mickey and accuse me of casting into the out of bounds. As they did so I had yet another take! The name calling and mickey-taking continued for several minutes, as did the fight with the as-yet unseen fish. After about 5 minutes we still hadn’t seen the fish, and every so often a big boil would come to the surface. Everyone started to go quiet as we all thought I had something a bit special on the end. Eventually the fish tired and we got a glimpse of a decent sized mirror, though I think we all though it was a little smaller than the fight had suggested. I netted the fish without any more drama and after quickly flicking the rod back out we weighed her at 27lb 8oz. I have to admit, if I had lost that fish I would have said it was much bigger, nevertheless this was still a cracking fish and capped off an unbelievable flurry of activity that lasted less than 4 hours.
I stayed well into dark but after I’d slipped the 27 back I just knew that it was to be my last chance, the swim just didn’t feel “carpy” any more. I went home exhausted; my girlfriend always wonders why I’m so tired after fishing. I tried to explain about getting up early, constantly watching the water, moving swims several times etc and whilst she nodded approvingly, the look on her face told me exactly what she was thinking:– you’re bloody mad you are!