Looking Back Over 2020 Part 3 of 6
Welcome back to my looking back over 2020 feature as part of my Podcast series and will feature multiple trip in one long podcast, from pike to carp fishing and easy lakes, to the big water I love to fish so much.
I fully expected to be at home this weekend; as the family had been away for Half Term and then the wife was away for two nights. However, as luck would have it, one of my wife’s friends wanted to come over for a chat and a catch-up, so I got a hall pass if I liked! Hmm, let me think… I definitely like!
I arrived down the lake Saturday about 1030 to find one-weekend angler and one other setting up with a third going home. This is why I love this syndicate so much, where else on a Saturday could you find a lake like this?
With the swim I’ve been fishing a lot in occupied, I headed for the closest swim to the area which has also been producing the fish for me. The best one is underwater and I’m sure that will stay that way for some time to come – probably after the syndicate closes at the end of March.
As I’ve fished this swim many times before, with varying degrees of success. I did have a run of carp from a lovely spot to my left. So, with that in mind I flicked out the marker rod and the area was still clear, but as I’d been having a lot of success over patchy areas of light silkweed, I adjusted my position accordingly, in the hope that this would produce a carp. I loaded the swim-up with Classic Corn and fished my normal set up over the top. I’m so glad I’m organized and my kit is always ready to go, as I only found out last night I could go, oddly I’d spent some of Friday reducing down my kit for the Airfield lake, which opens on the 15th March. You need to barrow your kit more on that lake, unlike this where 50% of the swims you can park in.
I was all done by 1300 (which is how I like it), this gives the swim time to settle down, other anglers to arrive and push the fish my way.
As the day passed, the wind picked up and oh boy did the temperature drop?! We even had a couple of hail storms, the only thing which was in my favor is that the pressure is brilliant – 987 Mb. We shall just have to see what the night brings (as this is when most of the action is occurring).
My first take happened just after midnight to the right-hand rod, as the rods had been cast 20 feet, apart I had to be very careful not to pick up the other rod and be mindful of the overhanging margins as the carp got closer to the net. This was all going to plan until the last few feet when I picked up the line from the other rod. I soon got out of that, which was lucky, I would still need to recast the other rod. However, the carp was now safely in the Nsr50 and looked like another 20 to add to the list.
23lb 5oz Common
That will do me nicely. With all things sorted, I was back in the bag, with two fresh baits on I was feeling confident and that I was in with a good chance of another take later on in the night. There was plenty of feeding time to go.
I awoke to a hot bivvy and bright sunshine beating down onto it, what a difference after yesterday’s hail storms. It turned out that I only had 1 take in the night, which was fine by me. I wasn’t feeling the love later yesterday afternoon, it was very cold and bleak (to say the least), but the night did bring success again to me and I must be grateful for that.
Its time to pack away and head home for a nice family day. I was very lucky to be able to fish last night as well and I will be back soon.
Location – School Lake
Hours Fished – 5 hours
With Spring here, Monday will become my only free day for fishing (with the odd Friday).
When I arrived this morning, there were two other guys set up, so I thought it would be best to head for the island area as a starting point. I would watch and listen for any signs of carp. This has been a slow process here during February and it is normally mid-morning before they poke their heads out and give away their locations, if at all some days.
I’m very confident with the spots I’ve picked today and if I end up sitting here all day, I should pick up a bite.
I’ve adjusted the left-hand rod, to along the margins to my left and in front of another swim where I’ve had a few pickups before. It’s 11.30 now and I’ve not seen or heard anything, the conditions are pretty favorable I will have to see.
Around noontime. I was pacing about wondering whether to move or not. I just didn’t feel right here, but there was just nowhere better, so I settled on staying in this swim. I’m glad I did, just before 13.00, the left rod was away, which was the one I had repositioned and I was into a very hard fighting carp. It felt bigger than the average-sized ones I normally get. Once I had got it around an overhanging bramble bush, it was sticking to the bottom, I finally had my first glimpse and was hopeful it may make the 20 lb mark, but I wasn’t sure when it rolled into the net.
18lb 2oz Mirror
It was close and still very happy with that result on such a hard period on the lake at the moment. Hopefully, the warmer and longer daylight hours will get them to move, as I’ve still not seen a thing.
With only 20 minutes to go, I started tidying things away, I was surprised that the island hadn’t produced a run. I’m going to have to put a bit of thoughtfulness into tomorrow’s session and hope there aren’t so many anglers when I arrive.
Location – School Lake
Hours Fished – 5 hours
I’m making the most of days before the gardening starts up and I’m back on the school lake for another 5 hours today. It’s a different swim to yesterday, but a similar area where I can still keep an eye on the island end. There are other anglers down the popular end of the lake, which is ok as I’m quite convinced that the bigger carp will keep away (hopefully) and they will hang out here.
I’ve using tiny PVA bags with crushed CC boilies and a small scattering of 8mm Catalyst pellets, with my normal wafter/popup hook bait combination.
It was just before 10.00 when the right rod rattled off with probably the smallest carp I’d had from here, but it’s still a carp and its not a blank!
Which I’m always grateful for, as you now have the knowledge that you picked the right swim and presented the bait correctly.
With another bag on, I sat back and enjoyed the sunshine. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long as the wind picked up and the wind arrived – I even had to get the brolly up. I nearly moved around noon time again, but after seeing a small fizz up, I opted to hang on here again. It was still the most sheltered part of the lake and there were no other signs of carp about, not even off the island. I’m starting to think it could be worth a go down the other end of the lake, I spotted this morning that the pads had started to grow and the carp certainly love that time.
With only 15 minutes to go, it certainly looks like that the small carp, was my blank saver today.
I was given the opportunity to fish two nights this weekend. I’d originally planned on arriving Saturday am, but after a friend asked if the youngest daughter would like to come over for tea straight after school. What else could I say, but YES! Oh, and thank you.
I quickly sorted some kit out, popped to the shop on the way down and arrived at noontime. I was completely shocked by the volume of anglers on the lake, must be Spring.
After a good think and a chat with the anglers, I opted to move in after someone packed up. I felt it would give me the best option. I wasn’t 100% convinced of my choice, but it put me closer to where I thought the bulk of the carp were held up. I did see a couple of flicks on the surface and the spot I had picked had produced carp before for me.
I flicked the lead about looking for the spot I was after, I also looked on the Deeper Lakebook for something different in the area. Once this had been located, I piled in a good load of Classic Corn and Particle blend, I also put on some new Ronnie rigs I’d tied up in the week at home. I’ve been using a combined style for most of the Winter with great success, 6 inches of Sf Chod filament and 1 inch of soft Fin skin, with a size 4 curved shank turning point hook, a Classic Corn wafter with a 12mm pop up on top. This sits up perfectly and the hook hold is pukka.
Just before 3 am, I had a couple of bleeps, the bobbin pulled up to the top and held there, I picked the rod up and pulled into a Tench. It was a nice one at that, probably should have weighed it, but it was freezing and I just wanted to get the rod out there on the spot again.
With that, all sorted it was time to grab some shut-eye.
With another Tench sometime in the night and getting an absolute belter at 0830 that the hook pulled out of, it was a sleepless night with not much reward. Once I got my head together after a brew – at least I was fishing a feeding area. I had the potential to produce more takes, this is definitely a good sign, rather than a complete lack of action.
I rebaited both rods after I lost that one and then topped the swim up with more bait just before 1000. This would do me for the day and night, hopefully, with the lack of disturbance over the next 24 hours, it will produce me a carp or two. The weather is getting warmer and there’s some rain overnight. The pressure has risen a lot over the past 24 hours but will drop back over the next 24.
Just after 1715, the left-hand rod screamed into action and I gently pumped in the Carp towards the margins. It kited both left and right, I very nearly lost it on the overhanging tree to left.
It rolled between the truck and the two other branches, I just had to maintain the pressure and draw the carp away. Once it was under the rod tip I could relax and then just wait until the time was right to draw it into the awaiting Nsr50.
That will certainly do me. It pulled the dial round to 17lb 5oz – not the biggest but another carp falls to the CC and a blank saver (depending on how the night goes), it’s always nice to get a carp in the net as you can relax a bit and focus on the next.
About 1815 the right-hand rod gave a few bleeps, dropped back and up again. Oh no, it’s a bream. But as there was still plenty of light, I was able to get the rod back on the spot.
Just after 2015, the right rods belts off and after playing the carp halfway in, the hook pulls again. This has now got me thinking and I’m starting to feel that it’s the smaller Carp e.g the Stock Mirror’s that were put in the other year. There may be a good possibility that these fish have softer mouths and with the Ronnie rig, the pickup rate goes up. Unfortunately, there is a small chance that you are likely to not get a perfect hook hold every time and I could just be a bit unlucky. The 2 fish that this happened on, all felt a similar size to each other including the one I landed. You know when you have a lump on and these certainly all felt like that.
Let’s hope the night brings me better luck.
Around 0315 in the middle of a heavy downpour and the wind that goes with it, the left-hand rod was away. This time, it was certainly a better size fish. After what felt like a lifetime in the pouring rain and a close call with the reeds to my right – glad I’d put my waders on, I had an extra 2 feet of depth to get out there! A lovely Common graced the Nsr50.
24lb 9oz Common
That was a nice surprise and probably the first carp that I’ve had in the rain for a long time. With the photos done, it was time to get the rod back on the spot. It’s not so simple in a gale that is blowing a crosswind but I was happy on the third go. You have to be happy with your bait presentation – 75% will not do.
Let’s see if I can get my head down for a bit. It’s been a rough night so far.
It was certainly one rough night with not a lot of sleep, glad I banked another carp, can’t complain too much 4 takes and 2 landed, these things happen.
Now, its time to prepare for the Airfield Lake, it’s opening next weekend. Unfortunately, I think my catch rate will drop because of the size of the water and the nomadic carp.
With my time on the Meadow Lake over for until October, it has been an amazing start to this year from this lake.
20 fish in total
4 x 30s
11 x 20s
This has to be my best start to a year for a long time. It will help me move on to my next challenge full of confidence, which is definitely a boost.
Location – School Lake
Hours – 5 Hrs
It can be a bonus arriving at 0900 after everyone else has arrived and set up! You can head straight for an area away from everyone else. This also reduces the chance of being disturbed by others. I find this key to success on club lakes. However, there is a bit of a pattern forming, yet again I’m in the same swim. Lucky for me, I quite like and today there appears to be quite a few carp about and they are on the surface. There are a few ducks on here, which could cause an issue but I may just have to bring the floater kit with me or even try zigs. But today I’ve gone for bags. About 2-rod lengths out and filled with Catalyst pellets soaked in the Catalyst syrup for the past few months. They are lovely and sticky/gooey, just perfect for attracting the carp down to feed. I’m still using a Classic Corn wafter, they just love them. At 0945, the right rod bursts into life with a reasonable carp on, that is until the hook pulls out. That’s not the best start. With the opportunity to move up to the island, the angler who was up that way has gone home. After seeing a nice lump in the snags, it must be worth a go and I can still put a bit into the area where I was previously fishing. It’s the best of both worlds. Now, this trip is really not going my way, I’ve just lost another carp in a snag which I didn’t know about. This has really hacked me off and has almost made the island an area I’m not prepared to fish anymore. Fish safety should always come first and if a swim has a snag that clearly is unfishable, I just don’t fish there anymore.
I’m now casting off the end of the island and on to the spot where I was fishing first thing this morning. I need to put some thought into my next option. As I’m pretty close to going home time, as my head is not in the right place and it needs to be for these short sessions. With 2 hours left to go and change of swim, a fresh start can’t be a bad approach and if I’m lucky I could save a blank. Just after 1300, the left rod was away and amazingly this one made it to the net, I was bordering on packing but felt there wasn’t much else to do, I’m glad I stayed.
That’s much better and even a chance of another one, that would be nice.
And as luck would have it another carp graced the net! They are certainly waking up in here and it may just be worth another trip before the end of the week. I’ve only got another 30 minutes to go. It certainly does prove that you can turn a disaster back into a successful session.
With the Airfield Lake opening at midnight and the opportunity to set up at 5pm, just for old time’s sake, I thought it would be nice for a change.
By the time I had had a quick look about, it’s still getting dark by 1830 and it was a pretty grey day, I just about got the spomb on the money and the rods clipped up for the midnight chuck. The rest of the kit was all done in the dark, there was no rush. I’d set up in an area where I hadn’t fished before. However, I was very confident that the carp passed by a few times each day. There had to be a good chance of a take. It does tend to be incredibly slow on here at the beginning of the season, the fish have spent since the end of last September feeding on naturals. We then spend the next six months getting them back off. This year we are very lucky and are able to fish until the end of October, not wishing time away, but I can’t wait.
The night past with no action and no signs of carp. This lake is not like Meadow Lake and is a hard nut to crack each new session. There will be a few blanks ahead, a good deal of soul searching and deep thinking going on over the next month or so, to pinpoint the feeding areas they are preferring this year. They always show on the far banks amongst the tree, but I’m convinced this is because they feel safe there and just show less in open water. This makes the mindset of fishing here hard work, you have to be able to fish an area that’s showing no signs of carp when you are watching carp showing way across the lake.
After seeing a few carp showing at the range, it was time to get the marker rod out. I firstly investigating my Lakebook page and roughly worked out where they were. I soon located the feature I was looking for and then set about getting some bait on the spot before the rain arrived; this was done in the nick of time. The other rod was also rebaited but still on its original spot, I’m pretty sure that it will produce a take over the next 24hrs.
The sun finally arrived, the late afternoon and early evening were gorgeous, there was even a stunning sunset.
The night past by peaceful (as normal) and I awoke to a lovely frost.
It’s certainly looking like it will be a lovely day, with plenty of sunshine. This will make a change after the dull and damp weather at the weekend.
I was a bit surprised that I had not caught, but then again its always a slow start.
With a few hours this morning, there is still a very good chance of a carp.
I stayed until 1230, but they just were not out there.
Location – School Lake
Hours – 3.5 Hrs
Please note that this session was completed before the current Coronavirus lockdown.
With a few hours of work done and a few hours free before the kids get home, it’s time for some bank time.
And I was soon at the School Lake – and then heading back home to collect my Ridgemonkey bucket that has everything in it! Doh! Luckily, I only live about 10 minutes away and I was back in no time. This did give me the time to contemplate my opinions, there was a fellow angler in the hot swim and one up by the island. So my opinions were plentiful, but limited, as I didn’t fancy going to my normal area or fishing open water just yet. I had a look at the top end of the lake and the lilly’s were starting to show, this was brilliant news as I love putting large PVA bag in amongst them. I didn’t fancy casting them across the lake, as I like being quite accurate with my baiting still. So, by sitting on the other bank, dropping the bags into the margins and then scattered tiny handfuls of pellets and broken boilies about, hopefully, any passing fish would get their heads down for a quick feed.
I very nearly moved around noon as the man who was fishing the island end of the lake headed home. But, I thought I needed to stick with this and see how things pan out and I was rewarded by a bream at just after 1330. Which was nice. I managed to unhook it in the margins and quickly get that rod back out. Ironically, a carp rolled near my spot as I was rebaiting the rod, but with an hour left on the packing up time clock, there is a good chance of a carp.
I was very hopeful after seeing another carp, but it was not to be
Location – Airfield Lake
Hours Fished – 38 hours
With the schools shut now with the ramping up of defeating CV19, I’m the chief homeschooling man at the moment and my short day sessions have vanished for the moment. All being well, I will continue to get out each weekend for some social distancing from the world (not the family I must add) or my editor will go on strike!
This place is just gorgeous and with so many options. This year, I’m concentrating on the Bottom lake; regardless of angler pressure. In the past, I’ve pulled up and there had been 3 cars in the car park and I would move on. I feel that this may not have been the best move and could have cost me some good fish. It’s hard as I don’t particularly like that style of fishing, I would much prefer to be on my own at the other end of the complex. The cold east wind helped me this weekend as there is a large forest behind this lake which has reduced some of the strong winds to a little breeze – in all honesty, I very nearly stayed at home, but with the current crisis, you never know what’s around the corner and I need my nature fix.
I planned on baiting a few areas in an attempt to get the fish off naturals and onto boilies asap. With the extra angler pressure, I’m sure that helps on this lake and could be the reason for the bigger carp being down here.
With no real need to mark the spot, I got the spomb rod out and dumped 3kg of dead maggots, Classic Corn boilies and particle blend mixture out. I fished both rods on wafters in the same area, I didn’t fish the margins as there were a few anglers who were doubled up in swims. This would create more disturbance and push the carp out into the middle more, as its only the second weekend of the season.
Once all that was done, I got a brew on, had a bite to eat and then time to get my head down.
Morning arrived with no action and no signs of carp. The Friday night anglers drifted off home and 3 of us remained. With the pressure finally heading down, there should be a good chance of a carp, there is still a very fresh east wind about.
In the afternoon, the wind was from the east so I took the opportunity to drift the Deeper over the parts of the swim that I had previously not mapped and over the area I was fishing.
This is just the perfect feature the carp will use to travel around the lake and the perfect interception point.
With both rods back out, it was time to relax in the warm sunshine and out of the wind.
At 0400, the right-hand rod ripped off into the distance and a long hard fight ensued with my first Airfield Lake carp. It was doing its best to get into the overhanging tree to my right but didn’t succeed. By then, it didn’t have the energy to cause me too many worries with the left-hand tree’s. It did, however, manage to pick up that line at the last minute, but the carp was soon in the net with no more complications.
24lb 9oz Common
I was absolutely over the moon and a nice start to the season here. Long may it continue.
With both rods back out and it was 0500, I nearly stayed up, but thought better of that and got back into the bed for a few hours.
0800 arrived and it was time to head home and do some homeschooling. Unfortunately, no days sessions for me for some time, but all being well, I will be out again at the weekend.
Location – Airfield Lake
Hours Fished – 18 hours
Well, where do I start? Sad times indeed but hopefully we are now heading in the right direction. I’m sure COVID 19 has changed the world, maybe for the better, but I don’t think I will find this out in my lifetime. Well, my garden and garage are all pretty tidy and homeschooling is fun, I take my hat off to all teachers.
With Lockdown eased and angling on the ok to-do list, I was soon on the bank. I was not going to join the mad rush; my syndicate isn’t like that. Social distancing is not an issue as most swim are 30 meters+ apart. In fact, there is only 32 ish swims on 64 acres of lake, with plenty of hideaway car parks. I really had no idea where to go, when this is the case, I returned to the swim I had been fishing before lockdown. I felt it was the best option and a good place to start from, I knew the spots – in fact, my spomb rod was still clipped up, from my last trip.
I also had new rigs on and were set up with 2 Classic Corn pop-ups, my rods were soon back on the mark. Brolly was up and normal service could resume. I find with fishing, I’m locked away from the rest of the world in my own little bubble and I’m so fixated with catching, everything else fades away (until I’m back in the car). I think the next few trips will do me just perfectly and restore some order to my mind. It was nice seeing the sunset over the lake this evening, it certainly feels like a long time, since I have seen this. We are due a cold night and the pressure is 1018mb, so you never know, there may be a chance of a frost as well. As we are in May and the carp feed to fill up before spawning time. I had a couple of bleeps in the night but it was over too soon and a frosty pack up was underway.
Location – Airfield Lake
Hours Fished – 65 hours
I didn’t expect to be out so soon again. The wife and kids were happy for me to go out again, so I’m happy too and back down the lake again.
I did fancy going in the swim I fished last time, but just too many people on that lake, as there is plenty of room – 64 acres to play with, it seemed a bit silly.
After what felt like a life time of confusion and not really feeling the love for anywhere, I settled for a swim on one of the island. This definitely conforms to social distancing! There is only one swim one island – sorted!
By the time I has decided this, it was getting late, so I refured back to my lakebook for the readings from around the island and was very happy to find a lovely gully off the side of the island. This felt like a perfect interception route.
I baited this area pretty heavily with a mixture of particle and Classic Corn boilies, and fished two wafters over the area. I had baited the front of the island all the way along, where this gully was – in an attempt to hold any carp moving through.
I enjoyed another lovely Airfield Lake sunset and drifted off to sleep. I was awoken by a belter of a run on my left rod, which proceeded to find one of the many boulders which litter the Airfield Lake, one of the remnants of its past life.
With the rod re done, I was back in my pit with the stove on and a brew underway. I was enjoying the fresh, but stunning start to the day. I lost a carp to a snag this morning, so I’ve disided that I’m going to move that rod to a different spot where I’ve bank carp from in the past. I will leave the other rod where it is.
After a great deal of marking, getting the Deeper out and viewing the data, there was clearly no point in casting to the island. There is a 2.5ft bar dropping down into the 5ft gully I had found – no wonder I’d lost a fish. A lot of the bars are littered with boulders and your line gets drag under them; there’s to much wildlife to use braid. So, I’ve gone back to a couple of old areas that have produced and fingers crossed for another take, we shall have to see what this afternoon/evening brings.
The rest of the day passed by with no action and I watched another stunning sunset and I headed into my second night. This was pretty peaceful, but as the morning slowly dawned there was the odd crashing carp and I felt there could be a chance this morning. It’s pretty over cast at the moment, the last few days have been particularly hot and sunny.
Some more thought needs to go into today’s options stay, move or go home.
Do I moved rods around again? Seems pointless as would be adding more bait to the swim. But I need to find a productive spot and area on this lake, as I’m planning on being on here all season this year.
One change was made today, I moved one of the rods off an area, where I was getting plagued by the Tufftes and there was just no point in trying to keep them away. This rod was moved into the margins and I added 2 spombs for attraction, and just rebaited the other rod. I wasn’t going to put any more bait out, as I felt there was no real need, fingers crossed for the last night.
The night passed by slowly, there was plenty of carp activity all about, but just no action on the rods. This was a shame as I was really confident. I was up pretty early as it was my last morning watching the lake – it had gone quite again. There was a gentle blow from the south west and the prospects of another hot day. The pressure also up to 1025mbs, so it was never going to be an easy fishing weekend. To get a take the first night and lose it wasn’t very helpful, but as I haven’t been fishing since the 22nd March who could a complain? 3 nights on an island away from the world and only spoke to two other people at a safe distance, was just what I needed.
Part 3 of 6 will follow in a couple of weeks
Until then Richard