Nearing the end of May, the weather had picked up just in time for a 3-night trip to the Cotswold’s. I arrived late on Friday and things were fairly quiet on the fish front, but knowing the weather was forecast to be sunny, but still cool, I took a risk on the swims that were available. There were three free that controlled some shallow water, and I knew that the fish loved the shallows when the sun was out, and the other options were on the end of a really cold Northerly wind.
I put my gear in one of the shallow swims and went for a look on the windward end of the lake. It felt very cold and I saw nothing so I decided to have a bit of a lead about in the three shallow swims. The first swim had a fair bit of silk weed on the bottom and I found nothing clean to suggest that fish had been feeding there. I’d been told that an anger had pulled off there that morning, having put in 10kg of boilie – I really didn’t fancy the prospect of fishing a swim where the bottom was not clean, especially if there was still 10kg of bait lying around.
Whilst I was in this first swim I received a phone call, so sat scouring the water and spotted a good fish show off the third shallow swim. I took my gear round there and saw another two show in quick succession. They were topping in a manner that led me to believe they were taking insects up in the water so I started out on zigs. Before casting in I had a quick lead about and found two areas to present baits on, one a nice clean gravel spot and the other a patch of low weed. Both areas were roughly at the range I had seen the shows.
My plan was to fish zigs until Karl from Wychwood arrived for a catch up and some feature content, then reel in to meet him at the gate, and then switch to my two bottom spots. He arrived just before dark so I wound in the zigs and clipped up my rods, one on a bottom bait rig for the gravel spot, and a pop up for the patchy weed spot. I’d already put some bait in, particle and boilie on the patchy weed area and just boilie on the gravel.
After an evening of chatting and talking business (we were technically working), we retired to bed. The night was quiet, which wasn’t too much of a surprise as the area tended to do bites in the day, so I was up at first light looking for fish. I saw nothing in front of me but did see a few over the other side of the lake, in an area that was busy, but one swim was due to come free later on Saturday. I was keeping my eyes and my options open.
Just before 11am I saw a fish show fairly close to my left hand rod so things were looking up. Karl had to be away so I wound in to see him out of the gate and put fresh hook baits on. On my return to the swim I recast but didn’t put anymore bait in. I kept an eye on the other shallow swim to my left and by early afternoon, there were too many fish there to ignore. I moved my gear round and fished a solid PVA bag with S-Core pellets close in with a 14mm S-core hook bait, and a standard bottom bait as a single hook bait on the other rod. After a coot had picked me up twice on the PVA bag rod, I recast with a fresh bag at about 2:30pm.
An hour after the recast the PVA bag ripped off. Following a short battle, a very large framed fish rolled into the net, which weighed in at 35lb 4oz – a great confidence boost as despite trying on numerous occasions, I’d never managed to get a bite from that swim before.
The rest of the afternoon passed without event and I fished further out for the night at about 50 yards. I found an area of thin weed for one rod and a clean gravel area for the other. I spombed in some hemp, corn and pellet mixed with boilie and within an hour of doing this, I was observing streams of bubbles rising from both spots. Despite numerous liners through the night it wasn’t until 8:30 in the morning that I received a bite from the thin weed spot. This fish came in over the plateau but then ran towards me. As I was winding fast to keep in touch, the fish just swam at speed and buried its head in the back of a weed bed on my side of the plateau. I noticed a bow wave come in closer past the weed and thought that another fish had followed the one I was attached to on the way in, however, after 15 minutes of being stuck in the weed with no kicks on the end of the line, all became clear; the fish was off and it was that which had bow waved past me in the margins, taunting me almost.
Later in the afternoon, the fish were really ripping up the bottom in the shallow bay where I had put some pellet. My first bite came from a tench, which spooked some carp when I hooked it. A couple of hours after that I finally got a bite from a carp. I’ve never been a huge fan of very short links fished in a PVA bag, and the reason for this became clear after a minute or so when the fish slipped the hook – I was gutted to have lost another.
After my dinner I was contemplating whether I would stay put for the night or move to where I’d seen activity the last two mornings. I only had the Sunday night left as it was back to work on Monday morning, so I needed to work out the best chance for a night bite. I glanced across the far side of the lake to an area where I had seen nothing over the last two days and it soon became clear that there were a group of fish feeding in the area. I saw several shows and they were bubbling up on the bottom, presumably rooting around in the silk weed – I packed down and was round there by about 8:30pm.
I had a few casts with a lead and found one cleaner area, clipped up to this, and decided to fish a chod rig on the other rod as I felt that I was on the verge of doing too much damage leading around.
I fished singles until dark and then put a few handfuls of S-core in the area with the throwing stick and allowed myself two small spombs of boilie over the rod on the clearer area. I had a pop-up on a hinged-stiff rig on this rod – if I had another bite I wanted to land it and I have massive confidence in the hook holds from this rig.
I had a few liners in the night and just as first light was breaking the rod on the clearer area was away, which resulted in a hard fighting 30lb 8oz common. On inspection of the hook hold, it was nailed!
I quickly got the rod clipped up with a new rig, and with a fresh pop-up on, got the rod back on the spot. I topped up with one spomb of boilie (around 25 baits) and then got some photos done. Shortly after this I had a couple of liners, then the same rod was away again. This fish felt a bit better than the last and when it got into the margins, I could see it was a much better fish. I gentle coaxed it over the draw string and lifted the net folds around my prize.
The fish was an immaculate common of 37lb 8oz. I was really pushing it for time now so quickly packed up and headed off to work. The move was well worth the effort and I went off to work very happy that morning.