Off to a flier!

The weather wasn’t looking great for the weekend, but whatever it was going to do I was bank bound. I’d looked around the lake a couple of times in the week, but had seen no signs of fish each time, so it was going to take a bit of guesswork and I decided to choose a swim from where I’d have a view of the whole lake, in case I saw fish and could move on to them. It was raining when I arrived at the lake and setting up in a downpour is rarely a pleasant experience, but it’s one of the things we do for our fix. To make things even more convenient, the swim I’d chosen couldn’t have been further from the van. Oh well.

Rods out
I cast two rods near some trees on the left, one in just 2.5ft of water, and I held the third rod back as a roving rod, ready to go in case I saw anything. To avoid problems with the lake’s silty bottom, I used flat, 1oz leads and 12-inch hooklinks, terminating in my preferred version of the supple hinge rig, This comprises a size 6 XC8 hook, 33lb Pro Chod mono at the pointy end, with a 15lb Gladio link, a combination that has served me so well since I applied a few vital tweaks to it. The choice of bait was, as always, a 14mm Sonubaits 24/7 pop-up, with about five pouches of 12mm glugged 24/7 boilies over each rod.

First night
At about 11.30pm on the first night, the left R2L alarm sounded, the rod pulled around and I landed an 18.5lb mirror – not a bad start, and it gave me massive confidence because I still hadn’t seen any sign of fish. It all went quiet once the rain started again, until late afternoon when the same alarm sounded and a strange bite occurred. The bobbin lifted, the rod tip flexed, and then the bobbin just dropped. This happened again so I checked the rigs, but it all seemed okay. Could it be just the way they where sitting, or the fish approaching? Hmmm. Well, at least the rain had stopped.
Around 11.45 that evening the bobbin lifted with a steady pull, and the rod looped around. I exerted some gentle but firm pressure and the fish swam into open water, and a few short lunges later, I had it in the net.

Smiles all round
As I shone the head touch into the mesh, I found myself focusing on a fine mirror, and this was no pastie, either. Now on my knees, I popped out the hook, checked that the carp’s fins were safely folded under it and lifted the fish onto my waiting cradle, smiling as you do when the weight of a decent fish registers on your arms. On the proper scales the mirror weighed in at 30lbs 2oz and my smile spread right across my face. Self-takes are never easy when the fish is a bit lively, but I think they turned out okay.
A great winter session and a very happy start to my season. Here to more of the same for all of us.
Tony