Jack Moulds, April Sessions
Posted on 9th May 2018 at 20:20
In recent weeks I haven’t had much time to get out on the bank due to work commitments and working what feels like every hour under the sun. However, in the past two weekends I have managed to squeeze in two quick overnight sessions down at a syndicate complex local to me, where the majority of my fishing will be taking place this year. The ticket that I decided to purchase includes two of the many lakes on site, one of which is considered the runs water, and one is trickier water with some incredible fish to be had. The main focus of my fishing this year will take place on the trickier water after some of my target fish. But this wasn’t to be for the first session I'm going to tell you about.
I arrived at the complex around 7 o-clock on a Friday night after work, and fearing that the place would be fairly busy, I did not hold much hope of getting onto the lake that I wanted to fish but I set off on a lap of the lake anyway. On my way round I realised that I couldn’t get into any of the swims that I wanted to fish, so I turned my attention to doing the night on the runs water. On my way up to this lake, I stopped to talk to a couple of anglers who said that they had seen fish showing all day along the far margin. With this in mind as I approached one of the first swims, I stood and watched the water for a while, and it didn’t take long to see what I was hoping for. With the recent warm weather I had no doubt that I would see signs of fish, but I had never expected to see so many shows in such a short period of time. The fish were head and shoulders out of the water all over the place.
I wasted no time in getting back to my car, reversing it up to the chosen swim and unpacking my gear. After previously picking the brains of a couple of mates that had already fished these waters, I was fairly certain that all along the far margin, and the same areas that I had seen showing fish would be a fairly clean drop, but I felt the need to check anyway. With a total of 8 casts with a bare lead I had found three spots which I had clipped up to and wrapped out, all with a clean drop and all tight to the overhanging bushes and trees. The left hand rod went out to a spot 14 and a half wraps in between two over hanging trees with a 16mm Red Spice Fish pop up, the middle went to a spot on the front of the overhanging tree at 13 wraps with a 16mm VNX pop up, and the right hand rod went out to a spot on the right of my swim, tight to a bush also with a VNX pop up. All of the rods were fished on a low lying multi rig presentation over a generous amount of free offerings all along the margin. Once I was happy with the placement of my rigs, I made sure to lock the clutches as tight as they would go to try and prevent a fish getting into the snags if I were to get a bite.
As darkness fell I had finally finished setting up my bivvy and bed chair and decided to put some food on, and crack open a well-deserved beer and then get my head down for the night. After being absolutely shattered from work I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and was awoken by a take after what felt like only a couple of minutes, but in reality was a couple of hours. As I came out of my bivvy I saw that the bobbin on my right hand rod, the one I was fishing the Red Spice Fish pop up on, had been pinned against the alarm, so I struck into the fish and walked backwards to prize the fish away from the snags. The fish put up little fight for the majority of the way in, swimming towards me most of the way, until it got under the rod tip where it stayed deep and fought its way into every snag possible. I managed to slip the net cord under the fish and let out a breath of relief. It had felt like forever since I had last had a fish on the bank, I was over the moon with this. I left the fish in the net while I set up my cradle and phone to take some pictures. The fish was a clean common of around 12lb with a decent sized tail, which I felt the force of under the rod tip. Unfortunately, in my excitement of landing this fish I didn’t manage to get any photos, as I forgot to actually set my phone to take them, but by the time I realised this I had already released the fish back into its home. I couldn’t believe it and prayed that this fish wouldn’t be the last of my session.
I got the rod back out onto the spot, set an alarm for the morning so that I wasn’t late for work, and got my head back down to sleep. The rest of the night passed by uneventfully and I was woken by my alarm in the morning. As I lay there watching the water, with only a few hours of my session remaining I made the decision not to re-cast and bait my rods and to get some food and a coffee on. The kettle had just boiled when my middle rod hooped round to the right and I was bent into my second fish. Like the first, this fish put up a mega fight under the rod tip, trying to fight its way into the trees to my left and the reeds to my right. But before long I slipped the net under a clean leather, which is a first for me. What happened no one could have predicted and I can only describe it as chaos, with another three commons landed almost one after another, all of around the same size of 12- 14lb, all falling to the VNX pop ups. I never had the chance to drink that coffee!
Before I knew it, the morning had flown by and I had to reel the rods in and pack away my bivvy. Although I wanted to stay, I couldn’t risk being late for work, so I threw my kit into the car and shot off, with the intention of getting back down to the complex for another session the following weekend.
The following week at work dragged on as usual, but the time finally came around for me to get back out on the bank. I arrived on the complex again at around 7 o-clock on the Friday evening, this time not to fish, but to drop off some supplies to a mate. To my delight, when I stopped by to talk to him he mentioned that he had seen fish showing, all good signs. I had a quick walk around the lake and as1 walked down an area known as the back channel I got half way down before spotting 4 patches of fizzing in front of a flooded swim tight to the far margin amongst the snags. With this area in mind, I could not wait to get back down in the morning.
I arrived again at the lake on the Saturday morning and to my surprise the lake was relatively free. On my way around the lake I stopped by the swim that my friend was fishing and was buzzing to hear that he had had two fish in the early hours of the morning, and that he was packing up to leave in a few hours. Now with two areas in mind I had a tough decision to make. Knowing that the lake can get very busy on the weekends I didn’t want to miss out on a good swim, so I kept the conversation brief and continued my lap of the lake searching for signs of fish. As I visited the back channel once more, again I saw signs of feeding fish. Not quite as obvious as the previous evening, but enough to sway my decision to fish this area. I almost ran back to my car to get my gear as I did not want to miss out on this spot. Although I could not quite fish the area of the fizzing, I knew that I still stood a chance of a bite if I could get a rod close to this area.
The swim that I had chosen had access to the main body of the lake behind me, where I planned to find a spot and place one rod with roughly 10 spombs of bait over the top, and the back channel where I planned to fish two rods on individual spots with only a couple of handfuls of boilies over the top. The first rod went out with a 16mm VNX pop up tight to the overhanging tree straight out in front of me at 3 and a quarter wraps. The second went out to my right close to where I had seen the fizzing, again with a VNX pop up. After some leading around I found a spot in the main body of the lake along the margin to my right, about a rod length off the bank on what I thought to be a gravel patch, again with a VNX pop up. Over the two rods in the back channel, I under armed maybe three large handfuls of VNX boilie over the top of each rod, and over the rod in the main body of the lake I spombed out a mixture of pellet soaked in VNX activator liquid, and VNX boilies, crushed, chopped and whole.
Being absolutely shattered from work I laid on my bed chair and before I knew it I had fallen asleep and woke up at half past 7 in the evening. I put some food on and had a walk a little way down the bank over my right hand spot to see if I could find any signs of fish, but unfortunately I couldn't see anything. I decided to stay put as I had heard that this area was prolific for bites throughout the night and during the early hours of the morning. With this is mind, I ate my dinner and got my head down for the night.
I was awoken at midnight by a single bleep on my left hand rod in the back channel, and as I lifted my head from my sleeping bag to peer out, all hell broke loose. Before I knew it my rod was viciously hooping round to the right and by the time I had got my shoes on and made it to the rod, the buzz bars had been pulled straight, the reel was smashed against the alarm and the rod was hooked under the right hand rod. I’d never had a take like this before and I was questioning whether or not this was really happening. Thank God for snag ears!
As I struck into the fish I soon came to realise that I had hooked in to something big, and all that was going through my head at the time was ‘this could be a new PB, take your time.’ As the fight went on I had still not seen the fish but I was starting to doubt it being a carp, because of the way it was fighting. 20 minutes in I still had not caught sight of what was on the end, and I was only fighting at three wraps, but I was starting to feel well and truly beaten up. Whatever it was, was putting up a scatty fight, but staying deep and taking me into every snag possible. I could sense the fish was starting to tire as I was slowly but surely starting to gain some line, until I caught a glimpse of the fish when it took off again. I had been warned that within the area that I was fishing during this session, that if I hooked into anything it was going to be a hit and hold fight, but there was no way I was landing this fish without it taking some line, as the rod was already doubled over and being pulled closer to the water with me being unable to do anything about it.
Finally I managed to gain some line and get the head of this fish up and ready to net. The net slipped under the fish on about the third or fourth attempt at trying. As I peered in to the net, the realisation of what I had just achieved hit me and I had to sit down to recover. I had just landed one of two known catfish within the lake. With the fish recovering in the net, I set up my cradle, sling, scales and camera. As I lifted the fish out of the water and onto the mat I realised the true size and weight, and that I was looking at something of at least 35lb. As I lifted the scales I was surprised to see them go just over 41lb and I was buzzing. I’d caught my first ever fish over 40lb from my second session on my new syndicate, completely missing out the 30’s. Granted it wasn’t the species I was after, but after catching the biggest fish in the lake, I can’t really complain. With pictures done (with some struggling) and the fish being released, I had to re-bait both rods and place them onto their spots again.
Not the best picture in the world I know - but I really wasn't prepared for such a monster
It was gone half past 1 before I returned to my bed and got my head back down again, only to be woken at half past 2 by another vicious take, this time on the rod out in the main body of water. As I got my shoes on, the bleeps stopped and as I ran to the rod I saw the bobbin laying on the floor motionless. Thinking that it was a drop back I picked up the rod and reeled down into the fish, to find nothing on the end. Literally nothing, no rig, lead, or leader and in my state of tiredness I was absolutely baffled as to what could have happened. I decided not to re-rig this rod and to just get my head down again.
As I woke in the morning and started to pack down to head off to work again, I could not stop wondering what had happened to my line the previous night. I looked at the end of the line and saw that it was a clean cut, not stretched or frayed. The only reasons that I could think for me loosing that fish last night was that the fish had taken me into a snag before I reached the rod, or that it was not a gravel patch that I was fishing on, but maybe a patch of muscles. 11 o-clock came round again and it was time to leave for work, now more keen than ever to get back down and land my first carp from this lake.
Until next time.
Tagged as: Jack Moulds
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