Friday, 21 May 2010

The Bay

Friday 21st of May, another hot weekend was forecast so spawning was obviously a possibility. I arrived at the lake at 2pm, went for a wander around the lake all the way I kind of had my mind on the Bottom Bay swim I got to Golf Tees and looked across the lake, my favoured swim choice was unoccupied, result! I trotted round to the swim, dropped my bag, had a little look around and then popped next door into Dalymore’s swim for a catch up. He’d had 2 fish but was moving out that afternoon which was good news as the lines across from the Garlic swim kind of cut of the bay. After a cuppa and a chat I got back to the car, got the barrow loaded and returned to my swim.

The Bottom Bay is a little bay of around half an acre, right up my street with overhanging trees, snags and bushes all around its margins. Also, I’d heard that a few fish had been visiting it during the day, just the news I was hoping for. After a quick ead around I settled on 3 spots, 1 to the left along the margin at the end of the bay, 1 across to the far bank just off the tip of an overhanging tree and the other just off the big bush to my right, it was nice and gravely here and shelved off quite steeply. I visited each spot and was able to feed a few freebies by hand from the bank. After loading new line onto my reels I attached Sausage criticals to each rig and got the wheels in motion by gently casting onto each spot.


It looked good, most of the lake was covered with white fluff that had fallen from the trees but the bay was one of the only clear areas on the lake. The sun was shining, the breeze mild and it felt like a proper summer’s day.

At 6pm, as I was getting stuck into pasta and meatballs, I had a few liners on the middle rod. Just then a fish rolled just behind the tree I was fishing to, promising signs. There was talk of a bit of trouble occurring from some Horses nearby running along the paths in this corner of the lake, this pleased me no end what with my past experiences with Horses and rods! The plan was to build a barricade so that if they did come along they would be directed behind the bivvy and away from the rods.


By 8pm the rods remained fairly quiet but I was optimistic, I felt that if any fish visited the bay they would need to come within sniffing distance of my baits. The sun started to dip behind the trees making things feel just a little bit cooler. 10pm and night had fallen, the moon shone through the trees and Bats littered the sky. I lay in on my bed listening to the creatures of the night, which included a few Carp rolling in the bay. I continued to get liners, mainly on the middle rod. At 2:30am the middle rod tore off. I lifted the rod and immediately felt a solid resistance, the fish tried to gain the sanctuary among the snags I was fishing to, but steady pressure saw it clear. It charged left and right and I wasn’t sure at this stage if it was a Carp or a Cat. It kited right and found a weedbed, all was solid for a minute or two but I kept the pressure on and suddenly it started moving again. A good scrap was endured and I slipped the net under a fine looking Match Lake Mirror Carp. On the mat she behaved wonderfully, I weighed her at 23lb 10oz and called Spike to come round and assist with the pictures. He did a great job with the camera and we shook hands as we watched her swim back to her watery home. I recast the rod, had a cuppa and sat back with a huge smile on my face. Just then I heard a Cuckoo.

First Blood……

I woke at 5:45am, looked out and could see that the cast in the dark the previous night had been across some floating weed rafts so the line lay was all wrong. I wound in and recast, this time sinking the line nicely, closely followed by half a dozen baits on the spot, time to make tea. The sun was just peering through the trees but I could not see the sunrise. I walked along the bank and found it across an adjacent field, it looked splendid!


At 6:45 am the middle rod was away, for a second or two it managed to get into the snag branches but they were only very spindly twigs so it was easy to guide the fish out. Then it kited to the left under the weedbed, I steadily pulled until it came free once again. Soon enough a pretty Mirror was safely with the folds of the mesh. A gorgeous half linear which weighed 17lb 2oz was photographed and returned. I was on top of the world.

At 8am whilst eating breakfast I saw a Kingfisher fly by, then the floating white fluff slowly started to drift into the bay, not good! At 8:20 I saw a coot acting funny, it was looking into the water just a few metres off my middle spot but suddenly backed off and looked spooked. A minute later he was back but once again saw something he didn’t like. A few minutes later the bobbin on the middle rod rose half way, dropped a little and then pulled up tight. I hit it, felt a resistance for a second or two but then it was gone, perhaps a strong liner?

At Midday the sun was high and hot, I started to spot more and more fish visiting the bay whilst perched up my little observation point, one group in particular caught my eye; it was a group of 6 fish, 4 dark fish and 2 much bigger Ghosties. The Ghosties go well over 30lbs!! They swam towards my middle rod spot by the overhang, as they got directly over the spot they sank out of sight, just then the bobbin on my middle rod raised a little and my heart was pounding! I jumped down and crouched over the rod, the bobbin raised some more and then fluttered for a second but dropped back to its original position. Just then I noticed some of the group swim off, I quickly wound in my right hand rod, attached a 6 foot zig and cast out to where the fish had been patrolling. Just as I put the rod on the sticks the middle one screamed off, I struck and went through the same routine as the other two, snags, weed and everything it could find. Eventually with my heart racing I netted a nice Common of 22lb 2oz, I was ecstatic. It had a bit of a humped back and some irregular scaling, an easily identifiable fish. The snaps were taken, the fish returned and I was wondering what I’d done to deserve such a session. I cast the rod back out and made lunch of pasta with Tuna and Sweetcorn.

At 4pm I decided to rest the swim for a while and stretch my legs. I visited a couple of friends and soon got stuck into their tea supplies. A quick tour of the lake and by 5:30pm the rods were freshened up and back on their spots ready for the night. The afternoon was a scorcher and I was looking forward to the cool evening. At 7:30pm I was stood at the edge of my swim doing something I’d done on every session so far but failed, floater fishing. I love surface fishing so always firing out a few mixers has been the norm, only on this occasion something promising happened. From nowhere a Carp cruised through happily chomping on the mixers, followed by another. By 8pm I had 6 – 8 Carp all feeding strongly. I cast out my rig and watched in anticipation, they were being their usual selves, being cagey and taking all but the hookbait, although I did received a few swirls behind the controller which made my heart skip a few beats. Then, just as I thought that one was going to slip up at any moment in came 2 Swans!! Game over, not a happy bunny!!! It was 9:30pm when I packed the floater gear away, I had to rely on the bottom baits which, to be fair, had served me well so far. I’d just have to try with the floaters again tomorrow. All that was left to do was make some tea and nurse the 6 million Mosquito bites I’d just gained.

At 12:30am I woke to a liner on the middle rod, 5 minutes later I was sleeping and didn’t stir until 5am when I had another liner. Apart from the 2 liners the night was eerily quiet, nothing showed, the bay was almost devoid of fish. I wound one rod in and attached a zig, just in the hope of intercepting any fish that may swim into the bay. The rod on the far tree line and the right hand margin were freshened up and at 6am I made tea. The morning was chilly although another sunny day was on the cards, with no fishing next weekend I was prepared to fish on later than usual hoping to have another crack at the surface fishing. The sun peered through the trees to my left causing columns of light penetrating through. Once the sun had climbed above the trees it felt so much warmer and again the bay was visible.

I waited eagerly for the groups of fish I’d seen yesterday, maybe the bay would remain quiet, I’d just have to wait and see. Deer ran through the wood and I was visited by another Kingfisher. By 10am the sun was very hot and the breeze had blown the white fluff back into my swim. I heard a lot of disturbance coming from further down the lake, upon closer inspection I saw what I didn’t really want to see, Carp spawning!! The odds were now stacked up against me. The white fluff also brought lots of floating weed and within an hour the swim was unfishable.


I wound in and went for a walk to see a few friends and try to decide what to do, I couldn’t fish my swim and the frolicking fish didn’t seem at all interested in feeding. After a chat I decided to move to the swim to the right of the bay, the Garlic. This swim controlled a lot more open water and had lots of fish cruising around; maybe some of them would be up for it.

Getting Ziggy With It!!!
It was just after midday and I cast out a zig with a yellow popup. The lead landed and I feathered it down, put the tip under the water and started to sink the line, just then something felt weird and I felt this strange pulling sensation on the rod tip. It took me a few seconds to take in what it was but I was in!! I struck and the fish charged off up the lake towards the middle of the road swims. I couldn’t believe the fish had actually taken on the drop!! After a short burst all went horribly solid, the fish was stuck fast in the weed. I kept on the pressure for a good while but nothing budged, I wasn’t even sure if the fish was still on. I pulled one last time and everything was gone.

I retackled, recast and started to set up a second rod. Whilst tying up another zig I had a screamer on the one rod that was fishing, although when I lifted the rod I felt nothing. I eventually managed to get 2 rods out and put the kettle on. At about 3pm I was again into a fast swimming fish, and again it got stuck fast in the weed and was lost. One thing I learnt from that afternoon was the fierceness of the weed from that swim and that I’d have to step up the BS of my line. It got to about 5pm and no more bites were forthcoming. It was far to hot and I decided to slowly start packing away and heading off home.

On the way back to the car park I spotted a few fish cruising about in front of the Stumps swim. I stopped, grabbed the catapult and starting firing a few mixers out. Within half an hour I had them feeding really well, I tackled up a rod and began to try to catch one, just then Stewi arrived and couldn’t believe what he saw, me, sat there with my controller out among a fair few Match Lake Carp, some small ones but a good number of better fish, in the sunlight they were so visible. Again they were being very cagey and we sat catching up on our weeks watching these amazing fish swimming along in front of us. At 7pm Stewi decided to find a swim for the night and I was looking forward to stopping off at KFC on the way home. I left the lake quite happy with a weekend of highs and lows but most importantly having learnt so much more about the place. I’d be back in two weekend’s time; hopefully they’ll have got all of the love making out of the way by then and its back to the serious job of trying to outwit an Original or two.

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