Our first night passed uneventfully and surprisingly light on sleep especially
for George who spent most of the night scanning and listening for fish,
occasionally moving a rod over a new spot in order to put it on fish. I stuck to
my spots however, as this was my first night on Rainbow, and I had already had
my first fish, so confidence was high. As the fish here move around a lot, its
not unusual to have baits fishing for 48 or even 72hrs before they are picked
up, with many anglers swearing that their baits are not really fishing
effectively here until they have been soaking in the same position on the lake
bed for a few days. Not my way, or George’s, who likes to keep moving spots more
I didn’t have to wait that long though as my number 4 rod exploded into life at
first light, much as George had predicted! I dashed out of the bivvy and clung
onto the rod as it was jumping around in the rest. I whacked the fish and felt a
carp on the line, and jumped into the boat with George. Keeping a tight line on
the fish we headed off to the first finger bay, in hot pursuit. We rounded the
corner and spotted the fish trying to push further up the bay into a big snag
tree. I was having none of it though, after realising it was another small, but
spirited male – this time a Common of about 17lbs, and was soon netted. We
slipped him back, changed the rig and dropped the bait back in before heading
back to base for a brew!
About an hour later George had a take, and was on his way out before I knew it,
like a rat up a drain pipe!
I had switched all my Radar DSr alarms off for a few minutes to re-tune them in
the correct order to the DSi receiver; and just as I was on rod 4, it ripped off
again. I jumped into the boat, struggling, I must confess to do everything, that
with the 2 previous fish, we were both doing – keeping the fish on a tight line,
turning the boat and heading off on the correct line, while frantically reeling
in to stay in contact with the fish. The technique you have employ is to sit on
the bench seat, facing the bows with the rod jammed between your legs at as high
an angle as possible, winding the reel with one hand and steering the boat with
the other! My heart was pounding as went out, thinking this might now be a
better fish, a possible giant of this place. I managed to get to the corner of
the finger bay with the fish still attached, working round each of the corner
posts; but could see that the fish had shot at least 10 yards back into the
snags! I could see the timber work moving in the water off to the left of where
I would normally slip a short mooring rope to fight the fish. I had no choice
but to play the carp from the boat in free water, and would need to apply a lot
more pressure (of which I had plenty), and a lot more boat craft (of which I had
none!) in order to land this one.
I kept a steady pressure on the carp while I made my approach and as my boat
glided over the fish, I could see a big Mirror straining to get further into the
snag tree. it was impossible to control the boat without the motor running, I
kept shunting it around in either forward or reverse at low speed trying to peer
through the snag and get the right angle on the fish to either pull it back out,
or lead it through, and then cut and re-tie the line on the other side.
Thankfully I managed to suss how it got in the snag, and bullied it out on a
short line of about 10 feet. It then shot off to my left back down towards the
opening of the 20ft finger bay, and straight into another huge snag tree, towing
the boat slowly in the shallow water, as she went. Mercifully, all that remained
of this tree was a couple of sturdy boughs of about 10 inches diameter and a
trunk. The fish swam straight through the vee in the snag, so I applied maximum
pressure to turn it before it had chance to swim through, dive down and turn
back on itself, effectively lassoe-ing itself round the tree, and leaving me to
pull for a break. The fish rolled and twisted underneath me and I could see how
deep she was; that left me praying she wouldn’t fall off after all the capers
she had put me through. My tactic worked and as soon as her head popped out I
sank the net from the wildly spinning boat and she slid straight in ! I took a
look in the net, estimated the fish at a comfortable mid 40, and then cut the
hooklength, rolled up the landing net, secured her to the side of the boat, and
headed out of the bay, victorious with my prize.
While this was going on, George had unfortunately lost his carp in a snag out on
the back of one of the islands, but was pleased as punch for me that I had not
only managed on my own for the first time, but with a decent fish too.
I had passed my first Rookie test with flying colours (well apart from the fact
that I nearly trashed 1 of my other lines coming back in!)
We quickly unhooked her and got her up on the scales and tripod, and I was
whooping with joy when the scales settled at 52lbs exactly. A new PB Mirror
weight for me by 2lbs and an ounce; and within less than 24 hours off arriving!
Photos done and back she went to her lair to sulk.
I set the bait again on number 4 and sat back to relax and review the photos,
which George had done a great job on! (To be posted as on my SLR)
George was starting to pick up Bream so upped his bait size to try to avoid
them. The day passed without further action, other than more Bream, and we had a
good meal and a celebratory beer each!
We sat up on the rods until about 2am, but George was still working hard in the
boat, setting new traps, when I woke at 4.30!
He is relentless!
Catch you later
Be lucky too.