Duncan's October Diary

Wednesday 29th November 2017, 09:11AM Feature

My first trip in October actually started on Saturday night of the 30 September. Initially I was planning a dawn start for Sunday 1st, but ended up going late on Saturday arriving just on dark.

I set up straight out of the car park where I had a good view of the lake and got 2 rods in position by 8:30pm. It was a wet night with a stiff southerly breeze blowing straight at me. I wanted the bivvy facing the lake so I could watch the water from first light but due to the wind and rain, it was a door down kind of night.

 I had a decent kip and was awake just after 6am, an hour before light. Thankfully the rain had stopped so I opened up the door, dragged out the stove and kettle and watched out over the water as daylight started to break. I was focussing on the far end of the lake into some calm water off the back of the wind, scanning for fishy signs. By focussing in the distance, should anything pop up in front of me I would also spot it.

I saw one fish top just behind my long rod and a couple close in to my right. But I had not had a liner all night and it was clear from my observations in the calm water at the other end of the lake that there were a few feeding fish. I had seen 5 or 6 show. I sat tight for an hour after seeing the fish behind my long spot, and made sure to have my breakfast early and tidied everything away in my bivvy. An angler had come in through the gate on Sunday morning so I knew I needed to make a fairly swift decision. Glancing over the water, I saw another fish show over the far side so that was decision made. Everything was packed down and I shot round to the other side before anyone else spotted the fish and had a similar idea.

It was about 8:45 when I arrived in the new swim. I had fished it 2 weeks before so simply clipped up to two marks in my notebook where I knew there were clear areas and cast out. Both rigs landed with a lovely clean thump on the first cast. I opted to put one spomb of bait over each rod, Cell and hemp, and was really pleased that both casts, bang on top of the respective rigs. The casts couldn’t have gone better and I was fishing with minimum disturbance. I left the lines to settle and started to put my brolly up as it was just starting to rain.

I had just got the brolly up when I heard a faint alarm. It took me a second to register, but it was my right hand rod signalling a steady take. I grabbed the rod and connected with the fish. The fish was coming in steadily so I reached across to the barrow to get my waders. They weren’t rolled down so getting into them was going to be a challenge. I kept the fish moving and about halfway in I managed to get the waders on. The fish was still coming in nice and steady, but then it bogged down in weed. Try as I might, I just couldn’t shift it. I had slackened off, pulled as hard as I dare and everything in between but nothing gave. During this time, I had set everything up under the brolly and tidied the swim up. Every time I tried heaving a large plume of bubbles would hit the surface, but nothing would move. It was now and hour or more since I’d hooked the fish and I hadn’t felt it kick for much of that. I didn’t know if it was still on, but was worried that there could be an old tree branch wrapped in weed, or some old line and needed to be sure nothing was tethered. I had no option but to call a bailiff and ask for the boat.

Around 15 minutes later Don came to my rescue with the boat and we slowly headed out to the area. We got above the area where my line was snagged and there was a huge weed bed. Pulling hard, it all started to hit the surface. I could see the tail rubber of my rig, but no fish. I had just said to Don that the fish was gone, when the weed rocked and the fish kicked down. I picked the rod back up and got the huge mass of weed back to the surface. But the weed just wouldn’t free from the line. In the end I grabbed the net and shoved the lot under the weed and then tried to break the weed up to bring the draw cord around the other side. After a few minutes of trying I eventually had a net full of weed and a fish in amongst it somewhere.

We got back ashore and after a lot of weed clearing were looking down on a lovely long common. The fish weighed 32lb 4oz and after a couple of quick photos was returned safely.

After all that excitement, by the time I got the rod back out it was 11:30am. I put a couple of spombs of bait over the top of it and settled back. I didn’t see anymore fish show but had a couple of liners on the recast rod. At about 2:30 in the afternoon the bobbin of the rod hit the blank and the tip wrapped round. I grabbed the rod and lifted into the fish. It had swung left but I really kept pressure on to bring the fish up in the water as I didn’t want a repeat of last time. Thankfully there were no dramas and after 5 minutes, I was looking at a lovely mirror in the bottom of my net.  

I set the camera up and went through the routine of firing off test shots to get the framing right, before bringing the fish to the mat. The fish weighted 25lb 12oz and was not one that I recognised from the hundreds of photographs I had seen of the fish in the lake.

The fish was returned and the rod re-cast to the spot. I received a couple of liners before dark so confidence was still high. The night was extremely quiet though with not a single bleep coming from the alarms. I was up at first light watching the water. I saw a couple of shows just behind my right hand rod but I only had half an hour before needing to pack up for work . Nothing materialised before I had to pack up but I headed off very happy with my result. The lake had fished hard all weekend, and to move on to fish as I had done and get two quick bites was very pleasing. Due to work and family commitments it was going to be a few weeks before I would get back on the bank.

My next trip was mid October for a day and night. I arrived at first light on the Sunday hoping to see some fish activity. Very little showed, and that which did was in front of occupied swims, none of which were due to become vacant. After speaking to several anglers it became apparent that fish had been heard boshing in front of a vacant swim the night before, so I set up in there. I have never liked setting up off other people’s word, preferring to see things with my own eyes. However, it was the best I had to go on.

To cut a long story short, nothing occurred through the day or overnight, and I had no bites, no liners nor did I hear any fish show during the night. I was away just after first light to get to work knowing that my visit would be for my annual fishing holiday, all six nights of it!

The trip started late on Saturday evening, arriving just before dark. I opted to fish at the far end of the lake, mainly because it was fairly quiet at the end of the lake as it had not really been doing any fish. However, past experience told me it was a good area at this time of year and it gave me a good view of the lake should fish show elsewhere. It was dark by the time I had 2 rods in position, one on a gravel area that had done me bites earlier in the year and the other at close range on a pop up over some choddy ground where a fish had showed.

The night was quiet but I did see a fish on Sunday morning not a million miles aware from my right hand rod. I wasn’t confident fishing over the choddy ground on my left hand rod so I repositioned it to another area of gravel that I had caught from earlier in the year. Sunday drifted by and the night passed without any action. However, on Monday morning I received a drop back on my right hand rod.

Winding down I made contact with what was clearly a carp and started to gain line. This fish simply surfaced and enabled me to slowly bring it to the waiting net. Once on the mat, I immediately recognised it as the last mirror that I had caught at the beginning of the month. This time it weighed 25lb 2oz and was slipped back after a couple of quick photographs.

The rest of the day was quiet, but the following morning at almost exactly the same time, the right hand rod burst into life again. I connected with the fish and got it moving towards the bank. I had seen a decent set of shoulders break surface so was convinced it was a better fish. As the fish edged closer to the bank I got down into the margins to ready the net. This process just gave the fish enough leeway to burry itself deep in some marginal weed. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it moving again. It was only 25 yards out, but the margins went down to 5 or 6 feet so wading was out of the question.

Thankfully there was a bailiff fishing so with his assistance, the boat was launched. I wound out to the fish and managed to coax it to the surface. It bore down deep again and there was so much weed on the line that I was struggling to gain control. As the fish and weed surfaced for the second time, I pushed the net down deep under the whole lot and bundled it into the net.

Back ashore, the fish was unhooked and weighed at 31lb 12oz. After a few photographs, it was slipped back to fight another day. I should say at this point that, just before receiving the bite, I had packed everything away in the bivvy planning a swim move just after breakfast. I had seen very little in front of me but a few fish had shown in a corner to my right and felt that would be a better option. However, the lake was fishing very slowly so with 2 fish under my belt it was a no brainer that I should stay for a fourth night. I would have to move on the Wednesday anyway due to a time restriction rule.

Tuesday was quiet but I stuck to my spots, confident that if the fish fancied a little feed, the areas were good for a bite. I was asleep early on Tuesday night but was awoken at 10:30pm by another drop back bite, this time on the left hand rod that had done nothing for 3 days.

I wound down and connected with the fish. After the boat episode with the last fish, I was taking no chances and kept steady pressure on to keep the fish moving high in the water. It bogged down briefly close in but after a few minutes of steady pressure, I had it moving towards the net. The fish and weed were scooped up and a quick glance revealed a 30lber in the net. I fetched the retaining sling and shuffled the whole lot into the sling whilst I sorted out the weighing and camera gear. As it rolled on its side into the sling, it was clear that it was a decent fish, probably 35lb plus.

I got everything sorted on the back and went to bring the fish ashore. I checked that all fins were flat against the fish and lifted it out. It was then that I said to myself that this had got to be 40lb plus. I had the net and some weed in the sling with the fish, but it felt so heavy it just had to be. The scales proved me right when they settled on 41lb 12oz. I was elated with my fifth forty of the year. It was really what the whole week’s holiday had been about, having the chance of an autumn big’un at the end of October.

Sleep didn’t come easy after that as I was buzzing all night. I had to vacate the swim by 4:30pm but once midday arrived with no signs of further action, I packed down and moved to the corner where I had seen the odd bit of fish activity.

I settled in after a trip to the shops to get some fresh supplies fishing both rods at close range. Two spombs of hemp and Cell completed the traps and I was ready for the night and morning feeding spell. All was quiet through the night with nothing showing. It took until 10:30 in the morning to receive my first line bite to indicate fish in the area. A fish topped twice over my left hand rod in the afternoon, but no bites materialised.

I risked a recast in the evening to put fresh hook baits on and topped up the spots with one spomb of bait each. Whether that pushed the fish out or not I don’t know, but I had not further liners nor did I see any fish in the morning. I gave it until 10am but then packed up to get home and catch up with the family. The lake had been fishing slow and it had been a right result to get three fish including a 40lber. That would be the last trip for a few weeks so next time out the water temperatures would be really starting to cool down on the lead up to winter.


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