Mark Jordan, August 4 2017
Posted on 31st August 2017 at 19:53
July 2nd was a day that I won’t forget in a hurry. I was preparing to go fishing, sorting my gear out making endless trips in and out of my shed, loading my car up and then traipsing back to the shed for yet another piece of gear. It seemed never ending. I was on my 5th or 6th trip with an arm full of tackle stepping out of the shed when I heard an almighty crack and found myself laying on the floor face first in a metal bin full of glass bottles. A few expletives later and in some considerable amount of pain, I managed to lift my torso out of the metal bin, checking to see if I’d slashed my arms to bits on the glass, which to my surprise I hadn't, only to realise as I tried to stand up that I’d broken my left ankle.
I had my worst fears confirmed after I visited the hospital and they told me that I wasn’t allowed to weight bare for at least 3 weeks and no driving for 8 weeks. NO FISHING FOR ME THEN!!! The next 3 weeks I spent perfecting my rig tying. Well, perfecting is probably not the right word, more like birds nesting/wasting copious quantities of terminal tackle. However, I still managed to get some decent rigs made up in preparation for the time I would be able to get onto the bank.
I’m very lucky because I have wonderful friends. Friends that don’t mind picking me up and carrying my gear to the swim so that I can go fishing, thank you Leon Smith you’re a diamond. We were at Holland wood in Abbotts Ripton, our local syndicate lake that a few of the team are members of now. There were fish showing everywhere, streaming about like cruise ships up and down the lake and around the island like a little merry go round.
I set up my two rods, one with zig rig and one with a floating dog biscuit on a controller. Having limited movement due to the fracture boot on my left leg I got the rods out where I wanted them and then just perched myself down. It was just great to be out in the blazing sunshine, listening to the gentle rustling of the wind in the trees. Leon set about making up a sticky mix and dog biscuits and was very active in his approach. He was also fishing with a zig rig and a controller with floating dog biscuit. The only difference was that he was putting a lot of bait in and was keeping busy trying to keep the fish in and around his baits.
Within 5 minutes Leon's Zig rig ripped off and he was attached to a lovely common of around 12lb. It was a hairy battle with Leon having to bully the fish out of the reeds on several occasions before he could slide the net under it. After the obligatory photos he slipped his quarry back into the water and reset his zig rig. I made a cup of coffee for us both (about the limit of capability I had due to my incapacity), and watched Leon bouncing around like Zebedee, staying busy, keeping the fish feeding in his swim. Off ripped his surface bait this time. It took him right around the reeds and into a bay. All he could do was keep a tight line and apply pressure (Leon doesn’t like getting wet so getting in the water was NOT an option). 20 minutes later he had a stunning 16lb 4oz Mirror. He had been soaking his floating pellets in VNX+. This was the order of the day, me making coffee and Leon bouncing around and pulling in carp alternately on either rod. I have to say that I did catch something though, ‘The Sun’ I was like a beetroot, a beetroot wearing sunglasses!!!
The day ended with Leon catching a superb 6 fish and losing 2. He biggest was a beautiful looking Mirror weighing in at 18lb 7oz and the smallest was the common at around 12lb. A great day with lessons learnt. If you stay active and keep the fish busy then you’ll be rewarded. If you break your ankle and just make cups of coffee, you’ll be netting fish for your mate all day !
August 4th My fracture boot was off and I had a little bit of freedom, although I still couldn’t drive. My wife (and carp widow) Sarah, drove me to my local syndicate, Wild Goose Leys, so that I could have a 24hr session and a little bit of me time as work had been hectic and things were starting to get on top of me. I decided to fish swim 4, which was fairly tight with willows and a lot of weed in front of me in two rows from left to right. There was about 20ft between the two rows of weed and then a further 10ft of clear water between the far row of weed and the lily pads. It was tight but I knew the fish were there and would be feeding in amongst it.
My first rod was set up on a chod rig using a 18mm CalaFrutti soaked in activator and a small PVA net of stick mix with added chops and activated pellets. First cast, perfect, right on the money between two sets of lillies and the far weed bank. I sprayed a few whole freebies out over the rough area as the carp tend to patrol up and down that far bank and I just wanted to try and get their heads down.
I placed my right hand rod back over the far weed bank and left it for the night, hoping it would snag me one of the big fully scaled Mirrors that I had seen earlier when I had gone for a little wander. The left hand rod, I pulled in and re-baited with a CalaFrutti snowman soaked in CalaFrutti dip. A small flick and it was in the channel that I had been baiting all day. I set it on the alarm and settled down for the night, taking in the stunning sunset with a coffee in my hand and the birdsong as my comfort blanket, intermittently interrupted by the thundering of the P’boro to Kings Cross fast train!
The lake has a railway line that runs about 100m away from the bottom side of it and it is the mainline from Peterborough into London Kings Cross. It's very busy and throughout the day there was train after train thundering through. I knew that the trains stopped around 1am so I would be getting some unspoilt sleep, albeit a little later than I’d want. It was about 11pm, the sun had set and I had snuck into my sleeping bag. ‘Beep’ ……… ‘Beep’, I undid my bag and sat on the edge of my bed, ‘beep’ I wasn’t sure what it was. I put on my head torch and stood next to the rod. ‘Beep’ just a single little knock on the rod again. I had an inkling that there was a small fish that had hooked itself so I lifted in and pulled what I thought was a plastic bin liner through the water…….. Bream!!! I had forgotten that this lake had a head of bream in it up to 10lb. Unhooked, replaced and reset, I zipped up my sleeping bag again. The trains had stopped now as it was almost 1am, dream filled sleep was just moments away.
It turns out that they had a maintenance schedule booked in for the Railtrack over this weekend and I was not going to be allowed to sleep. Loud metallic banging combined with mechanical grinding and the odd ‘Beep’ from my alarms was my evensong until 4am……. 4am!!! I was gradually drifting off when my left hand rod tore off. I’d given this a little bit of slack line due to the fact it was in more open water and away from the weed banks. It was a cracking fight lasting about 15mins. My prize?? A gnarly old mirror that looked like it was covered in armour. It weighed a surprising 15lb 6oz. A really old original estate lake carp…. really dark on the top and built to fight.
I settled in after arranging my bivvy and tackle so that I had easy reach to my stove and kettle. I made a coffee and settled in for the day. It was decent day with a little bit of cloud cover, a slight westerly breeze and the odd shower. Warm but not hot, yet not warm enough for me to take my hoody off. I was watching fish playing around and jumping out of the water throughout the day, they were like kids in a playground without a care in the world. I slowly drifted off into a light slumber and started to dream about my alarm clock going off. Alarm clock??? It was my bite alarm and it was going mental. I jumped up and lifted into an absolute lump. Game on, errr no….. first lesson learned, it was that weedy that I had to be tight onto them with no slack so that they kited away from trouble. I eventually pulled my line back in and took a massive amount of weed off the business end. Lesson learned I put it back on the same spot, small pva net with stick mix and chops to supplement my hook bait of CalaFrutti bottom bait.
Throughout the day I was feeding a line that was about a rod length out on my right hand side, in line with an overhanging willow tree. I had chucked a lead about and found a few hard spots under there and after using a marker float, established that there was what seemed to be a small channel about 2 foot across and about a foot deeper than the lake bed. I thought I’d feed this through the day and use it at night due to the fact that the cast to the far bank would probably result in the loss of temper and leads cast after cast while it was dark. Now all I’d have would be a little flick and I’d hopefully be into the fish.
A cup of coffee and a bacon butty later and I was back in my unspoilt world of peaceful ponder. A single beep from my right hand rod drew my attention back to reality. I sat watching the bobbin and the line in the still water.
Another single beep followed by an absolute steam train of a run. Luckily I had tightened down so that it couldn’t torpedo itself straight into the lillies, this meant that it would kite either left or right and give me a couple of extra seconds before it found weed to start burying itself into. I lifted into and then battled for 10 minutes to get its head high enough to guide it through the lighter weed on the surface before slipping my net under it. A gorgeous mirror with scales like apple slices weighing in at a healthy 16lb 3oz. I took a couple of pictures and then slipped it back into the water thanking it for gracing the bank and allowing me the pleasure of its company.
I couldn’t help but notice that all of the fish that I had seen coming out of this lake were absolutely stunning. A real old estate lake with some proper stunning, really dark, old English carp. True warriors of the watery depths. Before night drew in I banked a couple of small commons 11lb and 12lb 3oz.
The rest of the night passed as it had begun, with single beeps and 3 more bream. So not a bad night with 3 mirrors and 3 common carp all in excellent condition, as well as 4 Bream. All caught on CalaFrutti Snowmen, 2 on a chod rig and the others on a standard DF blowback rig. I was tired but I was happy. My head was clear from all of the rubbish that work life and daily life fills it with……
I’ve got my next trip all planned and booked in for Oct 8th at the Willow Lake on Fenland Fisheries, Earith. A lake with some big fish, Carp to 40+ and Cats to 80+ …….. I’ve never caught a Catfish, Maybe, just maybe, I might have one to show you in my next blog! Stay safe a and tight lines……. Successful Baits UK…… It’s the only way, the real way.
Tagged as: Mark Jordan
Share this post: