After finishing work early on Tuesday I headed down to Franklin's lake to see if I could find the fish. There was a very strong Southwesterly wind blowing and after a walk around the lake and a chat to a few anglers it was clear that no-one had really seen many carp showing since the wind had changed that morning. I decided that I would set up in the shallower end of the lake, right in the face of the wind in the hopes that it would push the fish down towards me throughout the evening. I had fished the weekend only managing a few tench for my troubles but was convinced the carp would be moving out of the deeper water with the temperature climbing.
I had a lead around with a standard distance lead until I found a smooth spot between the weed around 20 yards off of an island. I cast out a grappling lead and found the area to have a light layer of silkweed but I knew the pop up rigs I fish would still be effective over the top. I despatched around 15 Spombs of Crushed Nut 365, the new test bait, Sweet Corn, Hemp and a big glug of the Nut 365 Liquid into the wind with a bit of difficulty. Opting for smaller particles that would take the local birdlife longer to clear out and keep maximum attraction in the swim for as long as possible.
I fished a 12mm Cherry BonBon on one rod and a Fruit Salad on the other. I didn't see a single fish show throughout the afternoon and was soon awoken by my alarm clock at 6am to pack up for work. As I stepped out of the bivvy the right-hand bobbin bounced up and down a few times indicating a typical tench bite. Sure enough a 4 or 5lb tench was the culprit and I was soon on my way down the M4 to work.
Throughout the day the temperature soared to around 25 degrees and I felt sure the fish would now be in the shallow end I fished the night before. I worked through my lunch break and left earlier than usual, stopping off at home for a quick shower and change of clothes.
I arrived back at the lake and the swim I fished the night before was empty. I could see carp drifting lazily under the surface all around. As I was still clipped up I soon got the rods back out and put another 10 spombs out. This time I added a decent amount of hinders pellet combo, little gems and some hemp oil to the mix hoping with the rising water temperature the oils would draw them down to my spot. At about 7.30 I decided to really go for it and put another 15-20 spombs of my mix out thinking the fish would be more likely to stop for a big patch of bait that they could really get their heads down on. I recast and soon started getting liners.
I was sat in the bivvy drinking a cold beer around 10pm when I received a twitchy take on the cherry bonbon pop up. As soon as I struck into it I knew this was no tench. I soon had my first mirror carp of the session wallowing in the net and at just under 20lb I was happy to be off the mark. After some photos I got the rod back out using the far treeline to find my spot in the dark. 20 minutes later and the same rod was away again. This time a 17lb 3oz mirror was the culprit.
I soon had the rod back out and changed over to cherry bonbon popups glugged in the new fruitz haze. I decided to put some more bait out, as I knew there was already fish on my spot. This time I put out 2 kilos of whole 10mm boilies, a kilo of corn and half a kilo of mixed pellets to keep them in the area. No sooner had I put the spod rod down and got back in the bivvy the rod was away again. This time with a small mirror of 10lb exactly. The rod was quickly recast and as I stepped toward the bivvy the same rod was away again. I couldn't believe it so soon after the recast and actually checked to make sure the fish I just released hadn't swum through the line on its way back out to join it's mates. I soon lifted into another carp. After swimming through my other line I eventually slipped the net under another stockie of 14lb 8oz. By this time it was almost 2am and I had to be up for work in 4 hours so I decided against putting out any more bait.
I was soon asleep dreaming of one of the bigger 'carpy' residents of the lake. At 5.30 my right-hander woke me with a screaming one toner. I got out the bivvy and lifted into what was certainly a better fish. It stayed deep and took line steadily for a good 10 minutes. I finally managed to get it close enough to see it in the rising sunlight and was pleased to see the back of a decent looking common carp. After a few hairy moments where it tried to swim through my other line, I eventually eased it over the cord of the net. The guy in the next swim kindly came to take some photos so I didn't have to use the tripod and remote again. Looking at the fish in the cradle I thought it had to be close to 30lb and almost certainly my new PB common. Sure enough, the needle swung round to 29lb 13oz and although slightly gutted not to have caught my first 30lb common I was chuffed none the less.
With the fish released I was running late for work and quickly got the gear packed up in the van and set off for work buzzing with one of my best sessions on a lake I'm still trying to really figure out. I learn something new every time I'm out on the bank and can't wait to get back out and try for one of the A-team. Hopefully, I won't have to wait long for that elusive 30lb+ common.
The water is getting warmer every day and the fish are getting on the feed more and more. Thanks to Steve and all the guys at Hinders for the top quality bait as always and good luck to anyone out on the bank.