Dave Sacker, A Wet and Windy Weekend
Posted on 9th April 2019 at 15:10
There’s been a lot going on with the Successful Baits team setup and my own fishing activities over the winter months and this has meant little time for me to sit down and write up an actual fishing report, despite being on the bank a number of times. Some of you may have seen the fishing vlogsI have been creating for my YouTube channel, these are something I want to do more of over this season but it is always nice to put some of my activities into writing so I thought for this session report I would go back to the blog format again.
We have many group chats going on within the team and one of these started up between boss Uwe, team member Steve Ball and I regarding the possibility of getting together with former teammate Henry (who has recently taken up a full time work position with Nash) so that the 4 of us could have a couple of days away fishing somewhere fairly central for us all. After looking at a few options across Herts and Essex, the Chigborough Fishery was suggested and agreed upon so I started to take a look at the information available online to get a more in-depth picture of what we could expect, and start considering the tactics I may employ. Having found what limited information I could about the 3 day ticket lakes on site, we were presented with one large lake of around 16 acres and 2 smaller lakes of around 4 acres each. All of the lakes were known to be weedy so I started to consider what rig I may employ. I normally fish a wafter or critically balanced snowman setup on either a KD or D rig which sits just above the lake bed. However, with the possibility of quite thick weedy conditions I wanted an extra option in my rig arsenal so also planned to have some multi rigs available so that I could fish a pop up an inch or two off of the bottom, and hopefully above the blanket weed. Anyway, my usual bait prep was undertaken, my rigs were ready to go and the day finally arrived for Uwe and I to head south to Chigborough. We were fishing Friday to Sunday and decided to head to the lakes early so that we could hopefully secure some good swims on whichever lake we ended up choosing. We were fairly sure that we wanted to fish one of the 2 smaller lakes, so on arriving on site the pair of us had a wander over to them, but still took the opportunity to have a look at the large lake too. This seemed to be by far the busier of the lakes and was made up of some snaggy channel swims in one area of the lake and then some large open water swims in the other half. The lake did look nice but we were still intent on trying our luck on the quieter and more intimate smaller lakes, so made our way to look around them next.
Both lakes presented some very obvious challenges, they were really snaggy, weedy and clear watered, so much so that we could see the bottom in a number of areas, however this also showed us some clear spots to aim for. After an hour of looking over the lakes we chose to fish the lake furthest away from the car park area, not brilliant for transporting our gear to the spots but it was the one that intrigued us the most, there were also a few day ticket anglers on the other lake so this gave us the best opportunity for securing a group of swims for the social aspect of the trip. After 3 trips back and forth to the car, and with my 10k steps already hit for the day, I finally had everything in my swim, I’m not sure Uwe was so enthused with our exercise levels so early in the day!!
One of the first things I noticed were what appeared to be feeding bubbles coming up from 2 areas of my chosen swim, very close to what appeared to be clear spots, so I threw a few VNX+ freebies in to those spots to see if they would stay in the area whilst I set up my rods. I then cast a lead around the rest of the swim to see if I could locate any other clear spots. Much of the swim was heavily weeded with a mixture of Canadian pond weed and blanket weed so I knew that it was going to be tough going, especially if I was fortunate enough to hook a carp. I also cast my new Fishspy around the spots to mark the depths and see for sure what it was I was fishing over.
The maximum depth I found was no more than 4 feet but I had indeed found some lovely gravel spots to fish to. The clarity of the video was excellent and also showed that away from these clear spots were indeed vast beds of weed. I marked the distances for the spots and baited each of them with some VNX+ or the new Seafood boilie, depending on my chosen hookbait for that spot. These are very much my 2 favourite baits now and I can’t wait to see how they perform across the year, having already had a number of fish on both across the winter months. With each rod cast to its spot I then went about setting up the rest of my gear and tidying the swim up, it was then a waiting and watching game to see if anything would give us an indication of where they were feeding.
Uwe had set up in a swim on the opposite bank and the rest of the swims were available for the other guys as and when they turned up. Heavily weeded, snaggy lakes is a type of fishing that is quite new to me so I was very much learning as I went, and very much out of my comfort zone. Fortunately there is a plethora of information available online about tactics to employ, the pitfalls and things to consider so I spent some of my afternoon reading through articles online, if I could find one or two gems that I had not considered then it would be worth it. I knew the basics, fishing lightly secured leads so that they would easily drop off on a bite and therefore reduce the risk of the carp getting snagged up. I also knew that targeting weed is a great choice in the day as it releases oxygen into the water so Carp will look to feed off of natural baits held amongst it whilst benefitting from the oxygen enriched water, but conversely it removes that oxygen at night so fish will move away in the hours of darkness. The one thing I was surprised by was the sheer amount of natural food sources that inhabit the weed. One of the articles told you to have a look next time you bring in a sizeable clump, so I did just that after reeling in my marker float setup. It had a nice bit of the Canadian pond weed on it and that was covered in blanket weed, a quick look through this and there were dozens of beetles, bugs and snails contained within it, all ideal food items for a hungry carp and proof that weed beds would be a perfect place to find them so definitely somewhere not to be ignored in my future exploits.
I’ve just joined a club lake that has similar features of this type so will definitely have that in my mind as I target this new water. As the afternoon progressed we were joined by Steve and then later Henry. Steve elected to fish a snaggy swim just around the corner from me and Henry actually chose to fish the other, higher stocked lake. As daylight hours were quickly coming to an end Henry took the opportunity to target some fish he had seen in the snags of the other lake and was quickly rewarded with a double figure common carp taken off the top, whereas the rest of us had hardly seen any activity at all. My heart raced at one point as my alarms started screaming into action, however as I approached my rod I could see a swan with its head down on my spot and this was clearly the culprit. Unfortunately this is the negative to fishing brightly coloured attractive hookbaits in shallower water, the bird life can be a menace but it’s something many of us anglers have to accept, much as it pains us, this is after all their home. Other than that the evening and night passed with nothing to mention on a fishing front but it did at least give Steve and I a chance to catch up on a social side of things. The conversation was varied and best left lakeside but this is something I love about being part of the team, fishing is always enjoyable, but fishing with mates is always better!
As morning broke I was up early and looking over the lake again for some signs of feeding or moving fish, but this was probably the least active I have seen of any lake I’ve fished. Steve and Uwe were thinking the same and took a walk over to the other lake to see if that looked more promising for our 2nd 24 hours. Henry had been messaging us saying that there were fish moving where he was, however it seemed the whole complex was fishing very slowly as there was not much coming out anywhere. As Steve and Uwe returned it was clear they had made up their mind to move. I did consider sitting it out for another night but after being pestered by the bird life again I decided that I would also move and try the less weedy, deeper other lake. I packed up some of my gear onto the barrow and walked it round to the new lake. I had noted a couple of preferable swims the day before and hoped one of these would be free, it was and so I dropped off my gear and headed back to collect the next load.
Within 30 minutes I was in the new swim and had a check around it with the marker rod. I could cast to the far side of the lake easily and found some nice clear spots next to a partially submerged tree and reed bank so chose to fish to those 2 spots. My third rod was placed in the near side margin alongside another overhanging tree, all spots were baited up with some whole and chopped boilies and I was ready to go again. Within 30 minutes I had a few beeps on my near side margin rod and already felt more confident of fish in the swim, although visual activity was still very limited. As mid afternoon came the dinner bell was rung, unfortunately it was Uwe, Steve and Henry ringing it, however I certainly wasn’t complaining, after 30 hours with very little food I was certainly ready for something so the Pizza run was done and we all got together in my swim for a few drinks and a lot of food.
As the evening approached I freshened up my baits and recast to my spots, a multi rig with the new pink Seafood pop up on my right hand rod by the far bank tree, a pink VNX+ popup and Traveller bottom bait fished snowman style on an IQ D rig to the reed bed on the middle rod and a VNX+ wafter on the left hand rod, again on an IQ D rig. As we moved into the evening the wind dropped and the lake became a mill pond, still very little in the way of fish showing but it all just felt right for a bite.
As the darkness started to approach I had a few beeps and tugs on all of the rods, likely that these were liners but there was nothing really positive. You’re always unsure whether to strike into some of these as they could be a timid fish taking the bait without bolting, or could just be a fish swimming into the line. I decided to leave the majority of them but when my near side indicator kept lifting up more and more I decided to see if there was something there, this can be the calling card of a Bream and I wanted to be sure I hadn’t hooked into what we lovingly (yeah right) refer to as a snotty. Fortunately there wasn’t anything there and so I recast the rig along with a fresh PVA stick of glugged boilie chops and sat watching over the lake for the remainder of the daylight hours. There was still very little activity going on anywhere across the lakes but I was hopeful that would change in the coming hours so I headed into the bivvy and bed.
I wasn’t sure whether I had been sleeping for 5 minutes or 50 but at 1am I was awakened by my right hand rod signalling some action, an initial couple of beeps was followed by the line tightening up and then starting to be taken, I wasn’t fishing fully locked up but was certainly tight enough to know that this could only be a carp. I was on it quickly and walking backwards to ensure that the fish couldn’t get into the snags of the tree. The lead was dropped within seconds and this helped with playing the fish as it spent much of the fight in the upper layers. I’ve certainly had harder fights but in the pitch black and on a snaggy lake I was happy that this one was taking it relatively easy, bank side lighting can only do so much to show you where the fish is heading so when it’s a night time capture you don’t mind when they come in fairly straight. After 10 minutes of the fight and having contested with snags in the water and the carp taking out my other 2 rods I was very pleased to get the fish into the net. My 3rd session of 2019 and my first fish, it was definitely worth waiting for, a 13lb 4oz mirror carp coming on the Seafood popup, a bait we are sure will be right up there as one of the top catchers. With the fish rested, weighed, pictured and safely returned I could start the task of rebaiting and recasting my rods. Fortunately, I had marked the distance up earlier, unfortunately there was no light at all and no way of seeing any of the marker points on the opposite bank so all I could do was cast in the general area I believed my free offerings were. This always takes so much longer than you think and it was gone 2:30 before I was back in bed, obligatory social media posts done and I started to drift off around 3am. Despite another couple of beeps on my rods there was no more activity of note across the remainder of the morning and with an incoming storm I began the thankless task of packing my gear away and transporting it back to the car.
Unfortunately, there had been no real action across any of the lakes but at least Successful Baits proved yet again what a fantastic range it is, the new Seafood bait is a must in my armoury from now on and coupled with the VNX+ I have two baits for the season that I have the upmost confidence in. A difficult session but it ended with a great result, and it opened up a whole new dimension in my fishing which can only help me to prepare for the challenge of my new club water.
Tagged as: David Sacker
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