Although my job is very demanding I am lucky in that ordinarily i get to take a day off during the week and therefore fish at times when the lake is quieter. I do get the occasional weekend off and I have a deal with my girlfriend (who is incredibly tolerant of my obsession with carp) that I spend these weekends with her. Unfortunately work commitments had conspired against me after my first couple of sessions back on the park lake and I had to cancel my days off for 2 weeks in a row. I squeezed in a couple of quick over nighters but these were both blanks and a number of fish were being caught during the days. I was itching to get back for a “proper “ session and eventually I managed to secure a Monday and Tuesday off work following a weekend off meaning that if i went on the Sunday I could get a 3-night session in. Rachel had made plans for us to see friends on the Sunday afternoon but I was hell-bent on getting to the lake at lunch-time when the weekenders would leave. Basically I was a complete arse for the weekend which caused quite a bit of friction, ending up with her cancelling our arrangements, us having an argument and me ending up at the lake in a bad mood at lunch time on Sunday!
I will get on to the fishing in a moment I promise but before I do I must also mention my car. My old Audi A4 was in for a service on the Friday before my long weekend and required some work doing to it that they were unable to finish. When they called and asked if they could keep the car overnight I explained that i was “going away” for a few days the following week and they would have to lend me an estate or similar for several days. The phone went quiet for a few seconds before the nice lady on the end said “no problem Mr Evans, would an A6 be ok?!” I gave it the obligatory 0.00004 seconds thought before casually indicating that it would indeed suffice! So for the next few days I would be in possession of what i can only describe as the nicest car I have ever driven; a brand new, all-singing, all dancing Audi A6 estate complete with every optional extra you could think of.
So I arrived in style at the lake on Sunday afternoon and as expected the lake was quiet, with most of the weekenders already left and the lads who normally fish Sunday nights not yet arriving. After a good walk around I had seen only one fish and that was at range in front of a swim that I normally avoid like the plague. There are about 4 swims very close to each other on the wooded bank of the lake that fish to the middle island. The swims are the most popular on the lake, and although they do produce a good deal of fish their popularity seems to be as much for social reasons than anything else, meaning that can pretty much guarantee that someone will fish next door to you leaving you with very limited water to fish. Nevertheless all 4 swims were free and I had seen the only fish here so far here so I set up in the first one which also gave me a good view of the lake. I cast 2 single boilies 100+ yards to the area where I had seen the fish. Everyone seems to be using pop ups at the moment so I opted to fish very simple bottom bait rigs, with about 10ins of 25lb florocarbon hooklinks notless notted to a size 6 Connect 4 Hook.
Over the next hour I saw 2 more fish in the swim next door. Ordinarily I would have simply cast to them from where I was but the swim next door was the most popular on the lake and it was likely that someone arriving would go in there so I moved along one swim. I cast both rods again to the area where I had seen the fish and made myself a brew. Shortly afterwards Rachel came to see me, I apologies for being a grumpy arse all weekend and we made friends again so all was well with the world. The good karma obviously brought me some luck because shortly after she left the right hand rod signalled a take. Moments later I was doing battle with an angry carp that was trying its best to stay in the margins of the far island. Gradually I began to gain line and the fish plodded around in open water for a good 10 minutes before finally giving up and surrendering to my waiting net. I nicely proportioned scaley mirror was secured in the net while got the rod back out and fetched a guy who was further along to do pictures. He recognised it as a fish which rarely gets caught that he had last seen about 2 years ago at 29lb. The fish had not put on much weight during those 2 years as it weighed 29lb 4oz, however it was another stunning fish from this magical lake and I was proud to have her in my photo album.
I remained in the swim overnight but something just felt wrong. Although I had seen a couple more fish, I just did not like the swim and felt like I was just jumping on a bandwagon by fishing it. Eventually I spotted a big fish crash out in a swim opposite. I wouldn’t normally move to a fish that was “crashing” out as I don’t feel they are feeding but I was so desperate to get out of this swim that I quickly loaded the barrow and shot round there. To cut a long story short I remained in that swim for 24 hours and did not see a fish. Meanwhile a bloke turned up in the swim I vacated and caught a fish straight away!. By lunch time on the Tuesday I decided I needed to move, but had seen nothing. I reeled in and went for a walk and stopped to chat to a guy who was just setting up in the car park end of the lake. Within 10 mins I had seen about a dozen shows, all in the swim he was in. Michael had also just arrived and had bagged the swim opposite him. I was kicking myself for not seeing the fish earlier. It would not be fair on the 2 guys already in the car park to join them as the fish are easily spooked here. Nevertheless I had to get at least close so opted for the swim I had caught 4 from a few weeks previous. This swim was as close as I could get without completely taking the p1ss, but to be honest was just not close enough. Just before dark I saw a fish show in the very first swim on the lake, less than 20 yards from the gate it is a swim that usually gets overlooked and I have honestly never seen a fish show there in all my time on the lake. I was round there i a flash and flicked 2 baits out less than a rod length from the bank, setting my bivvy up as far as possible away from the lake and remaining as quiet as I could.
I was mega confident but unfortunately it was not to be. I packed away and headed to work in the luxury of the A6 for the final time reflecting on my session. Matey who was on the fish eventually caught a small one after I had left, though how he didn’t catch more I will never know. Another bloke went into the “popular” swim i vacated on the first morning and of course he caught also!
So, a few valuable lessons learnt:-
1. It’s not illegal to fish the most popular swim on the lake, and indeed I believe i would have caught more if i had stayed put.
2.The argument was worth it because if I had arrived any later on Sunday I wouldn’t have caught at all!
Oh and 3, if I ever get a spare £45k I know exactly how I’m gonna spend it!