My spare time is limited at the moment, so I sneak in a few overnight sessions. I try to make the most of my time on my syndicate by picking the right swim because the venue is quite shallow and the cold nights can quickly change how the swims fish. The first session didn’t go to plan. Yes, the fish were there, but liners and a dropped run was all the session produced, so I changed my main line to something with better concealment properties, because this came into my mind. I knew that it probably wasn’t the problem, but I prefer to do something rather than nothing and it was the only thing I changed. I hoped that the evening would be fruitful, but the wind changed, the temperature dropped and the swim went very quiet. I’d missed my opportunity.

After the session I was scratching my head and feeling very annoyed with myself. It was time for a rethink! I checked the wind direction and the evening temperatures, and the days were forecast to be warm, but the nights cold. It seemed that there would be a warmish wind, and so with this change, I’d fish with the wind in my face, and a couple of nights before, I baited up a couple of previously productive spots. I was working on the Thursday morning, but hoped to get down to the water by early afternoon, after work commitments.


Skipping round the lake

I arrived at the lake and I was the only one there, so I sprinted around to the swim with a skip of excitement in my step. The rods  were out with 24/7 scattered around the spots, and the faithful supple-hinge rig; one rod with a twist that I wanted to try – a new Ian Russell original  Peach and Black Pepper pop-up – and the others with 15mm 24/7 pop-ups.

It wasn’t long before the left buzzer sounded, and the fish was locked up as it hit the surface next to the pads, but after a short, hard fight, a lovely 25lb 2oz mirror was in the net. What a start!

The rod was back in place and I was just topping up the bait when the right SNZ buzzer leapt into life. There was a massive swirl on the surface, and as I picked up the rod, the fish tried to get into the newly-growing pads, but after some side pressure, the fish moved into open water and then tore off. Once it had turned and began to come toward me, after steady pressure, I knew it was a big fish. It kited left under the middle rod so I applied more pressure and it turned back. This was one hell of a fight, and there were a few heart-stopping moments as the line ‘pinked’ on its fins.

It gave one last gasp, I slipped the net under this fantastic fish, and my heart was pounding as I lifted the net onto the unhooking mat. I removed the hook, sprayed Steri 7 onto the hook hold, and checked the fish before slipping it into the weigh sling.




The scales hit 41lbs 5oz, and after deducting the sling it weighed 38lbs 7oz. What a fish! There was no one else on the venue, so it had to be self-takes, and once I’d slipped the fish back and recast the rod out onto the spot, I settled down for the rest of the session with a big smile on my face. I didn’t care what the rest of the session held, I could sleep well now.

All was quiet until 2.30am when the left buzzer sounded. There was a big splash on the surface, the rod snapped back, and the hook pulled – just one of those things that can happen when you have to give a lot of pressure to keep the fish away from the pads. I was still happy, though, and looking forward to the next session.