October 04, 2016 5 min read

I took a few days from work recently, knowing there was every chance one of the larger residents may slip up as the weather cooled and the nights drew in. Arriving at the pit I had a good walk. With it being so early, most anglers were still tucked away in their bags and I walked the banks listening for any signs of fish activity. It was actually fairly busy and with nothing showing during two entire laps of the lake, my swim choice was dictated by angler pressure and a new prevailing southerly wind that was due that morning. Plotting up with a few suspicious clouds above, I ensured the house was stable and organised before turning to the rods. I had not fished this particular swim for some time and as a result did chuck a lead around sparsely before finding two presentable areas at differing distances in front of me. I would place two rods on a small gravel area at 17.5 lengths and a third alone on a bar which protruded away from me at 13 lengths. Due to the clarity of the lake bed, I was happy to use bottom bait rigs consisting of 7.5 inches ofN-trap soft in a weed green, a size 6 kurv and simple Hybrid lead clips along a length of Kable leadcore. Bait was also kept simple and trusted, with me using a Tails Up pro Marine critical along with a 10mm stinky squid pop up to present a ‘snowman’ style hook bait. This was fished over a mix containing mixed size pro marine boilies, some HindersSalmon Pellets and a covering of Hinders Fish Pro andTuna Oil liquids.

With an ample amount of bait spombed out to each area, I have to admit I was a little tired after such an early rise and got my head down around 10am. Shortly after I was awoken at 10:30 by a fast take on the left hand rod, fished at the further distance and proceeded to land a charismatic 22lb mirror. The action continued through the afternoon with a hectic double take around 2pm. Once the rods were all untangled and some semblance of normality in the swim, I weighed in a pretty 28lb common and a 32lb 8oz mirror. With a few Spombs after each fish, the spot produced its final fish of the day around 7pm and again a nice low twenty graced thenet. The next morning and with the previous day’s action fresh in the memory, I redid the rods as soon as I could see the lake clearly enough in the dim morning light. With tea in hand the left hander once again produced a morning bite, an upper double being the culprit. The rigs were working well of course, but I felt when inspecting the hook hold that the rigs may have been a tad long. I stupidly left the rig on as it was working so no need to change it, or so I thought. That afternoon at 2pm when the expected take occurred, I lifted into the rod for around 3 or 4 seconds before it promptly fell off. Rig replaced, shortened and bait reapplied. I’ll learn to trust my instincts a tad more I think.

Only 60 minutes later that same rod produced a nice battle curve as I lifted into an impressive fish. The swims margins were ridiculously shallow and so every fish demanded landing with the use of waders. With the fish boiling at my feet, I lifted a large common into the net and noticed immediately it had a black eye. With only one common having a black eye as far as I was aware I knew I could have a lake record common in the net. The bailiff was called and whilst I awaited his arrival the fish was secured and rod recast. With the arrival of my photographer and weighing assistant, it was indeed a new lake record common; the ‘big common’ at 43lb 2oz. I was chuffed and although nothing more occurred overnight, I was happy of the sleep quality again. Morning came and went and just as I was getting twitchy the long spot produced two fish again in the afternoon. The fish were really enjoying the bait and with the slight rig adjustment to better suit the baiting strategy, the hook holds were much more central in the mouth and to my mind more secure. That evening I felt the swim required it, so baited with a bit more bait than usual and went to bed fully expectant of another good night’s sleep.

Low and behold morning broke and this time I decided not to re-cast early. This produced two fish in the morning. Both were small, however and there was a distinct lack of fish activity. The lake had become very busy, with 13 anglers on and this must have had an effect on the fish’s movements. Even so, there was very little being caught elsewhere and what was being caught was only small. I was happy to stay put. The final full day’s angling produced one fish in the morning and another pretty mirror carp was pictured before being quickly returned. A friend was fishing next door and came for a chat as my dad arrived to catch up. Sitting in the swim, the distance rod began to show signs of feeding activity and we awaited, hopeful of a take. It came around 30 minutes later and I instantly remarked that it felt a good fish. We joked about how it would probably be another small fish but I think I knew with its power that it was a better one. As the fish neared, my friend’s rod signaled a take in the neighbouring swim and he quickly made his way from my swim to his. With dad donning the waders and taking the net to the margins, the fish surfaced to show us both it was indeed a better fish. With a few last minute attempts for freedom, I watched dad lift the ‘Auntie Albert’ fish from the water and onto the mat.

At 35lb it was growing nicely having spawned heavily for the second summer running. With no action happening at night, I knew I had the morning bite if it arose before packing up the following day. Needless to say the heavens opened to produce a wet pack up after a mostly dry session and right in the middle of a downpour the rod signaled my final action of a 14 fish hit. A 23lb mirror culminated a thoroughly enjoyable few days, which involved two of the lakes prized possessions and a step closer to the final fish on the hit list. With it not gracing the banks for a year now, this winter will necessitate all of my efforts to try and track him down before anyone else does.Josh