Finally after a year of huge changes and sacrifices for everybody due to the pandemic, there is now light at the end of the tunnel and as anglers we can now night fish again.
I myself have been shielding for the most part of a year so my fishing has been extremely limited to say the least, with a return to some sort of normality and getting back to work, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of an overnight session before getting back in a routine.
The venue of choice was my syndicate, a venue of 16 acres in total split into three lakes. Personally I fish the middle lake, the largest of the three. Whilst not having a large stock, those that are in there are a real mix of dark, old fish which I’m sure would have a few stories to tell, along with a few up and coming stockies in between (not to mention my target fish that is a unique scaly character, which rarely sees the spreader block of a landing net). As you can see in the image below the lake is gin clear and very weedy, with silty reed lined bays and the pockets in the weed can be seen on a clear sunny day.
Arriving at the lake around 6:15am and to my surprise I found nobody there at all, so I decided to take my time, do a few laps and see if I could find any signs of where the carp may be.
It certainly didn’t take long, as with warmer temperatures for the past few days they were on the move. I stood motionless, observing several fish at the shallower end of the lake with their backs out of the water, dorsal fins erect like sails and the odd one crashing out, probably ridding themselves of winter leeches and parasites alike. It was then I spotted one swirl in the margin, without hesitation I quickly got one rod out, attached a fresh rig and baited it with a Bait guru Essential fruit 15mm wafter. I lowered the rig in gently, sunk the line and sat well back from the waters edge. With only a few minutes passing the alarm screamed into action. I lifted the rod and connected with the fish which made a powerful lunge for the marginal reeds, with a lot of side strain I managed to guide it out into open water. A short scrap ensued but I quickly had her slipping over the net cord and she was mine. Weighing and photographs done, I slipped back a stunning 19lb 12oz common back to the depths and what a start to the session.
With what had just happened it made sense to set up here at the shallower end of the lake, in a swim with which I was already familiar in where the feeding spots were. I got the brolly set up, everything inside organised and rested the rods against it. With the stove lit, kettle on and in no time at all a fresh brew in hand, it was time to contemplate on how I wanted to approach the night ahead. The fish were still clearly out in front of me, but I couldn’t ignore the margins either after having that bite. With this in mind I decided to fish 2 rods to spots in the open water and one down the marginal reed bed to the left of the swim. Rig wise I opted to go for stiff hinge rigs on the open water rods, with a standard lead clip set up, fishing a longer hook link boom in case any silkweed was present on the spots, on the margin rod the set up consisted of a standard knotless knot rig fished blowback style around 6 inches in length, purely because it was such a clean spot to present a bait on.
My hook bait of choice for the session was Bait Guru Essential Fruit 15mm pop ups on the stiff hinges and a 15mm Jungle mix bottom bait on the blow back rig. Loose feed for all three spots was prepared with 15mm whole and chopped Jungle mix boilies soaked in the matching oil.
Confidence in your bait is a huge boost
With all the prep work done, fresh rigs tied and hooks sharpened, it was now time to sit back and have some food with a plan of putting the rods out just before the final flickers of light faded into the darkness.
A couple of hours passed quickly and the light was fading rapidly, early signs of spring were definitely showing. The birds singing away, insect life blossoming and the sight of the bats swooping and swirling down to feed on them...what a buzz.
It was now time to get the rods out and settle in for the night. First up was the margin rod, gently lowered just past the rod tip on the edge of a small patch of marginal reeds, followed by a light scattering of whole and chopped Jungle mix which I had prepared earlier. Next up was the middle rod which went down nicely on the first time of asking, on a large clear spot 20 yards out, finally it was time for the right hand rod of the three to go out to a much smaller clear spot at 30 yards, which took a second cast but went down perfectly. Both open water rods then received a light scattering of the same loose feed mixture as the margin rod, of whole and chopped Jungle mix.
With everything in place and the light now gone it was now down to the carp, full of confidence I sat back in anticipation with a well earned beer (or two) and soaked in the atmosphere of the night.
Rods set, fingers crossed and the wait begins
As the night crept in and the wildlife settled down, the breeze had dropped also and the lake resembled a sheet of glass, because of a shimmering light from a local gas works, the ripples of backs still breaking the surface could still be seen. With a few beers enjoyed and brimming with confidence it was time to get in the bag with anticipation as to what may happen.
Time passed and with 2 bleeps from the Fulcrum receiver, highlighting movement on the left rod, I was awake, I laid there blurry eyed but eager, looking out and waiting for something to happen. A few minutes passed and another 2 beeps sounded again from the same rod. I was now fully out the bag and sat bolt upright on the edge of my bed chair, ready to pounce. There was obviously something feeding down there. 3 beeps and the bobbin had risen a little, another 2 beeps and then I heard the line gently “ping” out of the line clip...FISH ON!!
Lifting the rod up I instantly connected with a fish and it shot out into open water. After gaining just a couple of turns on the reel handle it then came to life and took off on a run to my right, I had to bury the rod tip under the water to avoid my middle rod, giving as much side strain as I dare it finally turned and I was gaining line back. The tables had turned in my favour. After a minute or so and I now had the fish in front of me, I switched the head torch on. A couple of rolls in front I could see it was a mirror, lowering the net in the water ready I lifted her to the surface and she slipped into the net without issue. A 17lb 10oz nice old, dark mirror was the prize and I slipped her into the retainer as first light was only around the corner. The kettle was on for a well needed brew and whilst I waited I checked over the rig. No issues were found and the hook still sharp, regardless the rig was changed, rod wrapped up and far margin marker aimed for, the rig went down nicely on the spot and it was fishing again. Brew finished. I sat back waiting for the morning light to get the photos done.
Only half an hour passed as the first light was breaking and the middle rod was away. Lifting into the fish I could feel it was one of the smaller residents and after a short but spirited fight I had a mid double sat sulking in the net. There was plenty of light now, with one in the retainer and one in the landing net it was time to get the photos done. Both fish thankfully behaved themselves, the photos were done in no time and they were returned to fight another day. Brew and breakfast consumed, a quick wash and teeth cleaned, I was feeling a little fresher, happy with how the session had gone. Tackle and unrequired items were packed away as the plan was to leave at 9:30am.
With everything packed down and just the rods left out I sat on the steps leading down to the peg hoping for one last chance.
With nothing else happening I decided to pack the rest of the gear away happy with what I had caught and head home.
It had been a great session on the new bait and it was a great feeling to be back out overnight again.
mid double to finish the session
I hope you are getting out and enjoying your fishing again and best of luck to you all. Tight Lines