Keep on rolling

Tue 28 April 15

 

Well it’s unusual for me to start my blog with a photo, even more unusual for it to be of a weigh sling and retainer but that’s how the Easter weekend session ended. Yes believe it or not I finally caught from lake on the Medway Valley Fisheries that I’ve been struggling on for a couple of years now.

So the photo is from early Monday morning, but the start of the blog goes back three weeks earlier.

I have always been a firm advocate of pre-baiting where possible sadly over the last few years, time and finances haven’t allowed me to do this to the level I had wanted. This year with the new job I decided that I would make sure that on at least one evening, either Tuesday or Wednesday I would get to the lake and put bait in some swims. The Saturday after I got back from France saw me head down for my first proper look around the lake, as the weather was still cold I wasn’t surprised when I saw nothing despite looking in all the known and obvious spots.

I made a decision to concentrate on an area of the lake that was largely neglected in previous years and having fished the swim once last year I had a small idea of what was in front of me. I still turned up armed with my marker rod and set about finding the spots I would start to bait up. That done each area got around half a kilo of either boilie and particle or just boilie. This process was repeated on the following Wednesday, then Saturday and then Tuesday in preparation for me starting back on the lake.

So Thursday night rolled around and at 7pm I pulled up in the car park, later than in the past but with the new job not finishing until 5:30 it’s the best I can manage. Despite the clocks going forward I knew that for the first couple of sessions light would be limited so I set about getting up to the swim as quickly as I could. I managed to get my left hand rod out on the spot but when I started on my right hand rod some 20 yards down the margin the light had already dropped to the point I struggled to see my marker float. I cast out in the vicinity and when I felt a solid donk I knew that rod was close enough to at least be in the game for that night. The middle rod on the other hand was a pub chuck towards the spot, despite knowing where it was I hadn’t remembered to measure the distance so ended up guessing.

By the time I finished setting the bivvy up it was nearly 10pm, despite doing it many times before the fact I hadn’t been fishing in the UK since last November meant I was very disorganized and wasted a lot of time. So a late dinner a quick cup of coffee then straight in to the sleeping bag. Throughout the night I had beeps off two of the rods but nothing more. I woke around 6am and watched the water for a while whilst lying in the sleeping bag, then dozed back off. Now I have often said I am not an early riser when fishing but the next thing I knew it was 9:45 and it was definitely time to get up. I sat still feeling quite groggy with the kettle on when the bobbin picked up on the right hand rod and the tip bent round. Still half asleep I managed to turn off the stove as I got up to the rod and I was into a fish! (Yes saying that on this lake still shocks me)

To start with the fish did very little and I thought it may have been a tench, until it got about 10 feet from the bank when it woke up and started scrapping, after another few minutes the fish slipped into the net and I peered in to see what looked like a mid-upper double mirror. I popped the fish into the recover sling whilst I waited for one of the guys fishing down the bank to come up and do the photos, we then weighed the fish and it went 21lb 4oz, so not only a fish on my first trip but my first twenty from the venue.

As we were doing a little bit of work that weekend I brought the other two rods in and headed down to help out a little. As the guys were swim building and with me having very basic skills I just tried to stay out of the way and grab things for people as needed. Anyway around 3pm I returned to my swim and set about getting the rods back out with more accuracy than the night before. The wind had swung round to north easterly and was blowing directly at me, which made for a chilly afternoon and evening.

The following morning I had to nip back home to take my girlfriend back to the specialist to have the stitches removed after her foot operation. I got back to the lake around 11:30 and popped to help with any work being done, I stayed until around 2pm when they called it quits having decided the best way forward now that the framework was in place was to build pontoons as these would stand up to the weather better.

Back out went the rods, however, with the wind being strong and cold I decided to zip the door down to get some respite from it, at 3:30 with no pre-warning the middle rod went into absolute melt down. My first thought was that the alarm had packed up as it was just a single tone, but quickly realised that whatever was on the other end was heading off in the opposite direction at a serious rate of knots. Being the middle of the afternoon as the fish went into the net I heard a few cheers go up round the lake from the other guys fishing, it was common which looked bigger than the first fish and on the scales she went 26lb 12oz.

That was it for me as far as fish were concerned, I stayed until Monday lunchtime and another guy fishing opposite managed a couple of fish on the Monday morning both over 20. The only issue was as I started packing up discovering my barrow tyre was flat, so I ended up having to carry half my gear back to the van before the barrow was light enough to drag back with my remaining gear on it.

A brilliant start to this year’s campaign and I can’t wait to get back down. The following weekend I knew I was going to be away but after that it was pretty much all systems go for the spring and summer.

Tight lines,

Stef