Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Copsey is mine

Wednesday 8th September. I had the week off work and had initially planned a week away with my good lady. In the end we decided to just spend a few days out together and she, to my surprise, mentioned going fishing with me for a day. We had a chat and settled on a night on The Match Lake from Wednesday through to Thursday with me then staying on until Sunday, was I happy with that? Not Many!! We shopped that day for food and supplies and also a new bivvy, I was due a new one and this was just the excuse I needed, although the deal was that she was to sleep in it for the first night………….

Starting on Wednesday afternoon meant not too many would be there so I was confident of getting in The Birches, a swim I’d had some success in and one I thought might produce the goods once more. We pulled into the car park around 3pm and found only one car, although that angler was, you guessed it, in The Birches!!! I had a quick chat with him and it was confirmed that he was leaving the following morning so I could at least get three nights in there.

We set up camp in The Point, another productive swim and not too far away when the time came to move I fished one rod to the island overhang, one just out from the left hand margin and the other into the bay behind me. Up to now I’d not seen much visit the bay but a few anglers had been putting a bit of bait in there and during setting up I heard three fish crash there. First job was to clear a channel in the floating weed and introduce some bait. I didn’t want to over do it with any of the spots as I had planned only to do the one night, and fish for one bite. The weather had been grim in the morning but by afternoon the sky cleared and through the evening the stars were visible. 
Set up in the point
Someone's camrea shy!!

I drifted off to sleep and woke at 2:15am when the rod to the island was away, I stormed out and saw the bobbin near the alarm I swept the rod back but felt no resistance. I wound in, checked the hook point and recast. As I settled back down I heard two fish crash in the bay behind me and two more out in the lake.

I woke up at 7am, Corrinna and I had egg and bacon rolls and whilst eating breakfast I noticed the guy in The Birches packing away. We started to break camp and got ready for the move. At 9am I was set up in my new swim and started work with the marker and rake. Once the spots were cleared and the rods clipped up, Corrinna drove me to the shop for more supplies. She dropped me back to the lake and as she left for home I thanked her for her company. It was now time to get down to business….

The first thing I did was to make up some spod mix; this consisted of Vitalin, hemp and particles, sweetcorn and a few crushed boilies. I baited each spot and popped over the Sandhurst to meet Ethan, I said I’d take him for a walk around The Match Lake also allowing me to rest my baited spots for a while.

We strolled around the lake whilst I pointed out the swims, features and spots I’d had success from. A quick stop at my bivvy for a cuppa and we continued round the lake and back to Sandy. I got back to the swim at around 4pm, baited the rods and began fishing. During the afternoon we experienced a few heavy showers but they were brief and mostly it was a pleasant sunny day.  
The Birches
Darren moved into the point that evening, we sat, drank tea and spoke a while and at 10pm I readied myself for the night, I was soon asleep. I woke at 2:30am to a run; I leant into the fish which became heavily weeded. I kept on the pressure until finally it started moving towards me nodding occasionally just to let me know it was still there. I netted the whole mass not knowing what I’d caught and getting quite excited. On the bank I peered through the weed and there, in the bottom of the net, lay a Catfish. It wasn’t a big one, maybe twenty pounds or so but I did feel a little disappointed, I really thought this one could be a Carp. I unhooked it in the net and released it into the margin. The rod was re-baited and recast and I climbed back into the bag. I lay there for a while listening as small raindrops speckled the bivvy roof and the church bells rang out three times.

At 6:30am I woke to the alarm on my right hand rod, definitely not a Carp or a Cat as there was minimal resistance upon reeling it in. It was, of course, a Bream, it weighed 9lb 8oz and after returning it I recast and felt now even more desperate to catch a Carp. In the Birches that morning the breeze strengthened and was blowing from behind me, with it came leaves, lots of them and the lake surface was peppered with hundreds of them. It was quite sad to see autumn taking a firm grip.

Through lunchtime and into early evening the wind increased, the sun shone from time to time and I watched a pair of Nuthatches in a nearby tree searching for food. Jays flew by from one side of the lake to the other and it was a very enjoyable day, although the Carp, which continued to show and fizz, failed to visit my hook baits. I had baited the day previous against the far weed bed in front of the mangrove. Fish showed here but I wanted to leave that area for a last gasp attempt on Sunday if the going was tough. The spot looked good for a bite but the weed between there and me was very thick. I sat by the rods for half an hour watching a Great Crested Grebe who was doing much better than I was bagging himself  a decent few fish. At 6pm I decided to make my tea, Minted Lamb burger with cheese and onions. Then Spike arrived for his weekend session and pitched up in The Point.

At 8pm it was dark, the rods were freshened up for the night and I awaited my favourite time of day. Two nights to go I found myself in much the same position as my previous session, half way through the session and still yet to have a Carp on the bank. It felt good but still, in the back of my mind, I didn’t really want to leave it until the last night to hope for one. If I could get one on this night the pressure would be off and I could relax for the remainder of the trip. 
Trusty Yellow Popups
At 8:30pm the right hand rod was in action, this rod was fished with a yellow pop up so I felt sure it would be a Carp at last. At first it was weeded but gradually it started to move kicking all the time. As it got closer the kicking turned into fast bursts and I had a horrible feeling it could be another Cat. Half way in it took off and the rod hoped over, Catfish!! In the net I could see it was a hefty one, I zeroed the scales, hoisted her up and read 37lb on the dial. A quick picture and I let her go, all the time scratching my head wondering how I landed it on a size 10 hook!!!

Size 10 hook???
4am and the same rod received a few bleeps, I stood by the rod for a few minutes but nothing occurred. Back in the bivvy I sat for a while looking out into the darkness, listening. 4:45am came and so did the first of the raindrops on the roof.

I rose a little after 7am; Saturday morning was dull and breezy but dry. As the morning wore on a couple of light showers came along but by early afternoon the sun shone well. The fishing was slow but the relaxation and peacefulness was lovely. The rods were freshened up and some bait was introduced to each spot. There were bubbles appearing near to the spots so I felt confident of a take on the last night. All the time I threw a few baits over to that far weed line ready for a hook bait or two on Sunday

At 2pm it was right and sunny and the chance of an afternoon bite looked grim so I had a snooze. I woke at 4:30 just in time to see a Carp crash out near the Mangrove. I kept watching as two more fish cruised through under the surface. That was enough for me to reel in the middle rod and put a bait over to the far weed line. After twenty minutes a great raft of weed drifted by and wiped out that same rod, I wound in and recast it to its original spot.

At 745pm it was starting to get dusky, the Bats appeared and the Swans took up their evening positions. It was a chilly night but nice and warm in the bag. At 1:30am I had a run on the middle rod. When I got to the rod it was still taking line but when I picked up the rod there was nothing there. On reeling in I found that the lead had been ejected and the silicone pushed high up the hook shank, a fish was definitely the culprit. With the rod back out I returned to the warmth and sleep.

Five am and I was back out to the middle rod, this time I found the alarm actually stopping the rod from being pulled in such was the violence of the take! I picked it up and wound down, pulled upwards and it immediately pulled back down. Another Catfish for sure, all I could do was hold the rod and watch on as the line was ripped from the spool. After those initial first runs I pumped back to shore and netted a 35lb 8oz Cat, did a few snaps and made a cuppa whilst listening to the Owls and the Donkey.

Whilst tying a new rig I looked out across the lake and decided it would be a good morning for a sunrise shot. I awaited the moment and at first light cast two baits over to the far weed line, it was time. Then I finished my cup of tea and sat with the camera. During that wait I penned these words……….

“A cold but enchanted morning the thought of catching fish became a distant memory. The spectacle before me took precedence, a land of deep olive and pale orange stole me completely. Blanketed by bird song I studied a world awaking, I had found my heaven. Mist hurried across the surface spiralling higher and higher before disappearing into the warmer air. Ever so slowly the distant glow became increasingly prominent, taking over as the deep olive faded into a lighter shade of blue. Dark silhouettes became trees with foliage of green as colours stolen by the night were returned. Robin, Wren, Crow, Goose and Chaffinch were picked out in a moment, the shrill of a kingfisher and a flash of blue followed. More colours were brought to life by the ever brightening sky, Lilly pads from grey to green, the silver Birches and even the lake itself. It was then, before the sun had even risen that I realised normality. This was now the lake I knew, the one I’d seen before, still beautiful and still wondrous but it was this brief transition period that captivated me the most”.

I sat and awaited the sunrise eagerly all the time remembering that early transformation with a smile. So, the morning had arrived, four nights, three Cats, one Bream but no Carp. With the best times gone I was wondering whether to sit it out until tea time or call it a day early.

The wind changed direction at around 8am and started blowing left to right, it looked good. It was still quite cold so I got into the sleeping bag, and once warm, dozed off. At 9:10am I woke to a very peculiar sound, a ticking noise coming from outside. I had heard this before, it can be caused by two branches rubbing together causing the sound like a spool revolving. I poked my head outside anyway and saw the right hand rod across to the far weed line was bent hard round and the spool WAS revolving. The receiver was on but was making no sound. I ran out, lifted the rod and the fish surfaced, a Carp at last.

I pumped her towards the bank but she kited left into some weed, as the previous few occasions I prayed the size 10 hook would stay in. Slowly the weed came towards me and I finally netted a fairly big ball. Not knowing what I had I called out to Spike for assistance. Once the scales were once again zeroed, mat wet and bucket of water filled I opened the net, cleared some of the weed and couldn’t believe what I saw….there, laying in the bottom of the net this time………..COPSE LAKE SCALY!!!!!

We weighed her at 29lb 4oz, up from her previous two captures so a good sign. Spike took some pictures and I thanked the old girl for giving me my first Match Lake original. After all that I wasn’t too eager to get the rod back out, I just made tea and chilled for a while.

At just after 10am, with all the rods back fishing, Dick popped round to congratulate me and have a cuppa and a chat. Dick is another proper legend; he fished the Savay syndicate in the eighties with Rod Hutchinson etc and even has a chapter in Rod’s book about particle fishing!! Anyhow, we were talking for what seemed like ages until we were interrupted at around 11am by the middle rod bursting into life. This fish kited left, then right and I felt sure it would miss the weed bed. Just at the last minute it went left again and got stuck fast in a floating raft the size of a car roof!! While I heaved the heavy mass ashore I felt no kicking so was almost certain the fish had gone. With the weed bed in the margin Dick and Spike started pulling lumps off and then there was a kick, it was still on!!! Spike netted the fish, a gorgeous dark Mirror and it weighed 20lb on the dot, maybe an ounce more but I was happy with 20lbs.

We took a few photos and returned her to the lake. Nothing for four nights and then two in a morning, the wind change had really helped me out along with the steady baiting of that far weed line and my trusty yellow pop ups.

2pm came and it was time for me to start getting packed away. The rafts of weed were being blown towards me more frequently and line lay and bobbins jumping up and down were a nightmare.  I’d had a result; I couldn’t visit for the next two weekends so I suppose this was the lakes idea of a send off. I said farewell to my favourite place and headed off home, happy!!!

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