Shaun Dennis, Early April Session
Posted on 1st April 2017 at 20:09
Having kept in touch with the members since my last outing, whilst not actually managing to get down the lake due to a shed load of overtime thrown at me at short notice, I had a good idea as to what had been caught in the few weeks that had passed.
Itching to get myself out and currently not having the capabilities to be driving due to a knee injury and awaiting an operation in the near future, along with juggling my family life having a missus to please and two beautiful kids. Due to this I have no option but to plan my next venture in advance.
This does bring its advantages, but more disadvantages. I seem to never fall lucky with feeding sprees or, most importantly, the weather! Having had a few weeks of good fishing weather for early spring the fish were well on the munch on our family run syndicate, with around 30 fish caught since the 3 I had on my previous session.
I timed my trip midweek purposely knowing the new members would probably fish the weekend after their ticket started on the 1st of April. I quietly expected to see a few faces, but to my amazement, having been kindly dropped off at the lake at 6am (first light) by a good friend of mine, I found the lake to be empty.
Peg 1 is the closest swim to the car park, offering some great margin spots, also a bay which has been roped off providing the fish a safe haven to be at peace with angling pressure and, most importantly, to sulk and recuperate following a capture.
Having crept into the bay and up the ladder, I really wasn't amazed at all to see plenty of fish in the out of bounds. As I sat patiently waiting, seeing if any were up for a feed, I couldn't believe my eyes when I counted 46 fish in the bay alone, this got me thinking. If 30 odd fish had been landed, not counting the ones people have hooked and lost too.. could they be not having it?
Cut a long story short, after an hour of deciding what to do I decided against fishing peg 1 and to go try find other fish. If there were 46 fish in the bay there had to be another 40 or so swimming elsewhere in the lake, probably up for a much (secretly hoping).
I had a good mooch up ladders and scaling trees, visibility wasn't very good at this point as a strong north westerly had moved in. Having known the spots I had the fish from on the last trip I headed that way, down to the far end of the lake, and thought it would be a good starting point in hope the wind did push the fish this way, even if there was a slight "bite" in the wind. This was not uncommon in this lake the fish move that quickly in there you really have a chance in any swim at some point in the day.
By this point 3 new members had turned up and occupied pegs 1 3 and 5. I saw this as a promising sign. I also decided to fish the last peg but not actually set up in the last swim but move further round with my lines facing up the lake. I wanted to intercept any fish moving into my corner before they managed to suss there were lines in the area. By midday I hadn't seen anything, having sat up a overhang overlooking two spots, until two large fish moved over one of my spots. This filled me with confidence going into the evening/night. After seeing those fish I decided to have a midday snooze having been knackered from work. I woke around 5pm.
Keeping a close eye on the water whilst trying my best to keep out of the bitter wind I didn't see anything going into dark.
The night passed without a single beep, therefore I felt it necessary to wind the rods in and go see if I could find some fish. Throughout the day I found groups of fish around the lake. Baiting small areas with chopped and crumbed VNX+ and nasty shrimp, along with a small handful of hemp.
By this time I must have done 10 laps of the lake and could not get any fish feeding although they were active and I was seeing them regularly from above, they just didn't seem interested in a feed at all.
Having had a chat with the new members it wasn't only myself struggling. None of them had caught anything and, looking at their spots on the far margin, all bait was still visible. I wondered whether the sudden drop in temperature had maybe switched them off, but still in the back of my mind was how active the fish seemed to be. Surely using this much energy they'd need a feed at some point!
Having tried stalking a few in the edge I opted to set up stall bang in the centre of the lake. With the hope that I could intercept fish from either end of the lake seeing as the new guys had now left leaving me the lake to myself.
Also this area had done a few of the better fish so far this season, so possibly an area the better original stock felt more comfortable feeding. This was also the area I found a decent group of fish and tried stalking from the far side.
Having set my stall again, I positioned two rods on the far margin roughly 2 rod lengths off in the deeper siltier water where the weed hadn't quite started to regrow as of yet. I baited with a throwing stick in the hope I could get fish grubbing from a larger area than a tight bed of bait. The third rod was positioned down the right margin next to some snags I'd also seen a couple of fish milling around in earlier on in the day.
Around teatime my brother popped down to bring me a phone charger, then my dad turned up for his daily mooch around the lake. We were seeing fish show for a good hour therefore, I repositioned a rod in the area I'd seen the fish show. This can be a good tactic on the water, especially early on. Once the weed is up it's virtually impossible unless you know your spots, in which, like every lake, spots change year after year.
I got in the bag confident that something would happen during the night or, at the very latest, early morning.
I woke to motionless stows, completely frustrated as I'd worked my butt off for a bite which hadn't come. Last chance saloon was moving up to peg 1 where some fish were still in the bay, in the hope I could nick a bite before my lift came for me.
I opted to fish washing line style, I felt this be my best chance to slip one up as the pressure of the last few weeks had clearly shook the fish, also I think the change in weather did play a big part, they just weren't having it! Nothing I tried worked, although looking back I felt the session was a complete disaster. It actually wasn't, I learnt a lot on this journey.
I watched fish move, I studied patrol routes, I found them in areas I had never seen them in previously.
If fishing was easy, it would soon become boring.
Even leaving the lake on a blank, frustrated and beaten down, I will return and fish exactly the same on my next trip. The lake had seen serious angling pressure, many fish hooked, landed, some lost. I dare say every fish in the bay the first day were those hooked and landed or lost.
The thing I will never do is question my ability to catch carp. I definitely didn't angle badly, if anything I pushed the boat out and stayed active, moving when most would sit behind their rods.
It's going to be a few weeks now until I'm next on this lake. I'll keep bait trickling in on a couple of spots ready for when I return. I have a stag do pencilled in for a very close mate of mine next weekend.
My next trip will be on the 20th April, visiting a fantastic day ticket venue and the best in our area known as Old Mill. Having done bits over the winter, breaking ice on a daily basis just to wet a line, I feel the place owes me one. Surely the carp gods won't allow two blanks on the bounce, or will they?
Until next time, tight lines people, take care and be safe.
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