My time had come to move on, i’d just ended a three and a half year chase after a fish i’d worked hard for which saw me enter the realms of insanity. The chase of a mirror in a lake full of commons , the chase which will allways go down as the most dedicated i’ve ever been in my angling life and one i saw right through to the very end. Seeing my prize laid in the net is a moment i’ll never forget.
I’d pre emted my last capture and allready put the feelers out for a new ticket on another complex, luckily the ticket was granted and i set about researching my new water ready for a June 1st start. The thing that appealed to me about the new lake was that it held a stock that was predominantly mirrors, something id been lacking in my photo album for years and around seven of these mirrors were over the 40lbs barrier. The lake was tiny in size compared to where i’d just been but its depth was around 23 feet in places which gave it a volume of more than 4 times the size of an average 8ft lake. One end of the lake was deeper than the other which played a great part on where the fish and anglers chose to be located at certain times of the year. The deeper end would generally fish better in winter and the shallower end better in summer. You still didnt rule out the margins in the deeper end at any time of year as the fish certainly moved from end to end in summer in the upper layers and oppurtunities of bites from the margins were allways possible.
The lake was to prove one of the busiest ive ever fished with weekend anglers often turning up on a thursday morning and staking claim to the most favoured positions for the forcasted conditions. The lake only had around nine permanent swims and each friday evening would see a car park full of cars and i sort of knew every week where id be pushing the barrow to……the deep end.
This in a way suited me, i knew i’d more than likely get the same swim each week and i could at least walk two rods down the margins and position two baits perfectly without thrashing the water to a foam. These margin spots did throw up some bites for me , i’d feed a small ammount of chopped baits each time i fished them, just enough bait for a bite and not enough to create a large blatant spot for all to see and to blatent for a wary carp to avoid like the plague. The plan was working and i was getting bites off the smaller residents , it had to be only a matter of time before the big girls started to appear.
I arrived the following friday and was greeted with the same busy car park, my usual margin swim was free, i set up the margin rod which consisted of a large flat pear lead, short hooklinked snowman rig baited with two half baits , i broke a few baits in half dropped them into the pocket of my chesties and walked through the overgrown trees which lead round to the spot. I could get in through the trees drop into the lake and then walk the rod back round to the swim through the water. this was perfect as i didnt disturb the bottom as much and it gave me a considerble ammount of time to see the rig down and position the lead into the weed and the hookbait just poking out onto the clearer part of the spot.
I waded out and was met with a gleaming spot three times the size of when id left it the sunday before, i was gutted, someone had obviously fished it midweek and put smaller food items all over area. The culprits for clearing the spot werent carp but tench, i’d learnt the lesson on that bank a month earlier when baiting up an area with pellet and hemp. I had returned to the spot the day after baiting it to find all the pellet and hemp gone but larger boilies left. I sat in the tree watching handsized tench rip the spot to bits and playing football with the boilie which they werent big enough to take. sometimes all that glitters aint gold.
Im certain as i watched the carp many times from up the tree that they would pass over large cleaned spots without batting an eyelid, it was obvious talking to seasoned lads that spots they had caught off in the past didnt produce anymore , the fish had and were seeeing pressure like they’d never seen before, they were choosing when and where they would feed and there was nothing the angler could do about it. The lake and the style of angling started to feel like a lottery, the option to watch the fishes movements and move onto them just wasnt possible due to all the swims being taken, it was frustrating and beginning to take its toll, the long drive down the A1 each friday knowing what you were up against.
I had two weeks off work coming up in august and was planning on spending every minuite of it down at the lake , a mid week angler i would become for two whole weeks.
My plan was to go down on the Friday evening as i normally would , have a social with the lads and then wave them goodbye on the sunday and settle down to five days of serious angling, i had areas of the lake in my mind where i knew the bigger fish had come from before on a few occasions, these areas id seldomed fished before and were located up in the shallower end.
I arrived for the marathon session to be greeted with a full lake, i wasnt in the slightest bit bothered , i had a plan and was sticking to it….social time first. My good friend Greg Myles and owner of RG Baits ( my bait sponsor) was in the first swim , a very fanciable area , a great area also for a social as it was the closest to the gate where the chinese would be delivered. We chatted for a while as we had on my way down the a1 via a text message conversation. Hed informed me that hed had three fish overnight , i never asked the weight….i later found out one of these fish was one of the biggest in the lake at 47.02. Even more reason to celebrate, it also confirmed my choice of a swim up that end come sunday.
For now though it was back down to the last available swim in the deep end , drop a couple of rods in and head back for the social.
Sunday came and the masses started to leave, i thought id give it a few more hours and then start to pack down and make a move up the other end but over the next few hours id started to see fish travelling down towards me, the more i looked the more i saw, even the big girls were here venturing into the corners of the deep margins, the freedom of the lines seemed to give them a new found confidence, something id not been acustomed to seeing before at weekends. my preconcieved plans were about to do a u turn, i wasnt going anywhere but sitting tight on two margin rods. over the next 24 hrs i had two fish sitting in the sling, one being a mirror around 30 lbs the other a common of around 25. This was my first common from the lake , one of only a handful i knew of in the lake. Id had my fill on the old lake of commons and i was focussed on catching one of this lakes really big mirrors.
I had managed another two fish by thursday and it was obvious that they were on the move again as i’d seen more and more fish leaving the area and makeing there way up to the other end. The last angler on the lake was leaving from this area on his way home and decided it was now time to get up there before anyone else turned up and staked their claim to the area. The weather forecast was of a massive low pressure moving in with 2 days of torrential rain also turning up. I got set up in a swim called lower point, to the left was a 30 yd wide channel where they had to come through to get into the open area of the lake. One of the rods was definatly going in there and one out into open water my side of a visual weedbed. The spot down the channel was at the bottom of a marginal shelf in around fourteen feet of water, the bottom wasn’t clean ground but thin silt , a little harder than that around it, a few spodded chops and both rods were set.
I sat back and waited for the rain to come, funnily enough no cars came and as darkness decended i found myself being the only one on the lake on a thursday night, unbelievable. Just after turning in for the night around 10pm i recieved a bite on the open water water spot, a stunning linear , after a few self takes i was back in the bag messaging a good friend of mine, Craig Murkin, he must have seen me online and messaged me as im sure he was fishing elsewhere back up north. Now craig has a knack of predicting fish that i will catch and this night was one of those times, he informed me that i would have one of the “A” team by morning, its uncanny that every prediction has come true, i should ring him every week really lol. I went to bed hoping he was gonna be right.
Through the night the wind picked up and the rain arrived, the forcasters had got it bang on and the rain became louder and louder on the brolly. Just before first light i recieved a liner on the channel rod, picking up to the top and then resting in its original position. Another three liners saw me out of the bag and perched on the bedchair hoping the rain would stop before the rod burst into life, no such luck, the rod pulled round to the left and i was out getting a soaking, the fish halted as i leant into it, it started to come back with ease the more i pulled, this suited me down to the ground , get it in , leave it to rest in the net and stick the kettle on…as soon as the fish approached the net cord it woke up and ran me ragged for what seampt like an eternity, wiping out the other rod and getting the upper hand by using the stray line as an obstacle. i hadnt seen the fish by this time as i hadnt used the head torch as it was still sat on my bucket under the brolly, id forgotton to put it on. It made its last lunge for freedom towards an overhanging tree and i knew that if it made it to the trees it would be all over, i held the fish on a tightened clutch and luckily it turned towards the waiting net. In it went, i pegged the net down and shot back for shelter and my head torch. On went the kettle and head torch and i headed back to the net to open my prize. I looked down into the net expecting one of the a team mirrors to be starring back at me, but this was a common…..ey……it looked huge and to my knowing the only two commons that this could be was one named dumpy around 37lb which was a regular visitor to the bank or one known as spot. Spot had gone on the missing list for nearly 3 years, it was presumed dead by alot of members and some had given there tickets up because they thought it was no longer catchable. I can honestly say i never thought of it as a target fish, i became pre occupied with the big mirrors that were at the top of my list, id gone along with alot of the rumours that it had passed away. Spot was distinguishable by a hole in its dorsal fin and upon inspection in the net it was confirmed that spot was alive and kicking , but currently sulking in the bottom of my landing net. It looked pissed off as all caught carp do, thinking how did i fall for that.
A good friend of mine , Chris Foers travelled from home some 20 miles away before going to work, in the pouring rain to do the photographs of a very special fish. Cheers mate
Craig Murkin is still predicting my captures aswell, another one of the “A”‘ team……long may mine and his physcic bond be strong.