Travelling to Wraysbury during the morning, I recounted the season throughout the hour and a half journey. We had managed to qualify for the final for a second year running and as pleased as we were, I knew the draw needed to be kind. The frustration yet fairness of the draw at the final, is that it is out of the bag. How match fishing should be in my opinion, as a watercraft draw is always tough on those that seem to have no luck in these lottery moments. Needless to say, nerves were not as tense as they may have been, and we awaited our fate. With our name being drawn 12th, many of the swims we fancied had already been taken. Realistically only two swims on the end of a south westerly wind, which had sprung up during our travels would have been of preference. As dad walked up to pick the peg from the pot, I grimaced slightly as peg 1 was read aloud.
An average swim in our opinion. It was in the area the fish had been last year, but the regulars we knew had commented on the amount of fish the other end of late and that any clear spots may have been hard to identify in our area. Still, we set to work and even after watching at least 100 shows down the other end, still tried to motivate ourselves that we could give a good account if they decided to move. The lake reacts oddly to pressure and anything can happen, or so people kept telling us.
It took me at least an hour to find three presentable spots. One in particular was solid gravel, the other two being small strips of silt in between masses of weed; the like I had seldom seen before. Only a handful of fish had shown in front of us, and we expected nothing really until the cover of darkness or early hours. This was the time we had been advised would most likely do us some bites. Low and behold by the time the early hours came we had witnessed a stupid amount of carp showing down the other end and realised that framing from this position would be very difficult.
We were confident of a couple of fish however and at 3.00am the following morning the left hand spot ripped into life. I had been sat up for a couple of hours listening to a few fish showing and although it was out of the blue, the take was half expected. Playing the fish on braid was fun and it didn’t scrap a great deal at all. Surprisingly, a ghost common popped up by the name of ‘Ray-Ban’ and all 25lb of it was duly scooped into the net. We were pleased to get off the mark and replaced the rod. The morning hours grew on and three fish showed close to the small island positioned in front of us. 6 casts found a spot at 18.5 wraps and a solid was placed here, alongside three spombs of bait.
Nothing further occurred and by mid-afternoon we had seen nothing. Fish were being caught in the middle of the lake where we had seen them showing and it seemed that no change of conditions or angler pressure would move them towards us. Again we baited the rods appropriately and this time kept a rod at distance. The weed was bad, but we had prepared for this and the tackle was up to it if and when it was required. Through the night we had a few liners and by the time the bite came on the left hand rod again at 3.30am, we were fully expecting the take. Immediately I hit the rod and the minimal resistance gave me a strange reception. I am sure it was a tench or something small, but bearing in mind it came adrift only seconds later I will never know for sure. Dad was down beat, but I simply laughed and got the rod back out. We sat and contemplated through the dim morning light, but at 4.30am the middle rods began to signal some liners and shortly after a take had us fully concentrating once more. Long story short, the fish weeded me solid for around 30 minutes and a range of pressure, slackening off and pulling left to right eventually bundled a beautiful looking 33lb 12oz mirror into the net. We knew it was consolation for the lack of fish in our water and by the sound of the final hooter, we had made a respectful fifth place finish.
We were pleased ultimately and identified the positives from a tough weekend. A huge thank you to everyone who showed us support and the tremendous generosity of the companies that provide us with bait, tackle, rods, bank wear and once more their support, it is invaluable to us and greatly appreciated. Until next time I suppose, but whatever happens we will always enjoy the journey and keep striving for the rewards.