I, like most people, fish when I can as opposed to choosing when to take time off work when conditions suit. Therefore when the two nights off i had to get on the bank last week coincided with a rise in air temperature, a drop in air pressure and an increase in wind speed i got pretty excited. The constant high pressure that we've experienced for the past few weeks, added to the lake im fishing being quite small, shallow and weedy which tend not to fish as well in the colder months meant that iv struggled to get bites from the bottom most sessions iv been out, having only landed a few fish to zigs over the winter.
This hasn't stopped me trickling my favorite Monster Particle Tier 1 onto a couple of hard spots, meaning when we do get positive changes in the weather there is something for the fish to have a feed on, and keep them returning to my spots to find food. I like the Tier 1 for a couple of reasons, it is made up of 5 different particles, two larger and lighter coloured ones (white peas and maize) which I feel initially draw the fish into feed, and also 3 smaller particles (hemp, red dari and black rapeseed) which keep the fish rooting around looking for those small food items, keeping them in your swim for longer and increasing the chance of them finding your hook bait.
Arriving at the lake there were no obvious signs of fish, so after watching the water for an hour, I decided to set up in one of the swims id been lightly baiting. It has a hard spot in the open water but also gave me access to a bank with some overhanging trees and a deep margin. After getting set up and having all 3 rods fishing (one to the deep margin to my left, one on the hard spot in open water and one roaming with a zig) it didn't take long before I saw a fish break the surface under the overhanging trees not far from my bait giving me a good feeling of confidence!
I waited for around 30 minutes then saw my indicator smack into my rod blank and the tip hoop round, fish on! Fishing close to the bank and knowing there are some snags in the form of tree roots there, I bullied the fish away from the area then played it more gently in open water, happy to see it slip over the cord of my landing net. My prize was a nice looking common carp, although a little on the small side at 8lb 10oz. A quick weigh and photo and I slipped it into a keepnet reserved for fish under 10lb, which are removed from the lake and put into a commercial water owned by the same company, some good stock management. In fact, only fish over 10lb (10lb being the smallest, they go much bigger than that here) were originally stocked so these small fish are the result of successful breeding in the lake.
Luckily after returning the fish to the water, i had only just set my landing net back up when my alarm on the open water rod registered two beeps and the tip gave a couple of nods, indicating another fish on! Almost immediately the fish was on the surface and I easily lead it into my waiting net, unfortunately, another one of the homegrowns, but a really lovely looking linear weighing just 5lb 4oz. Another quick photo and it joined its friend in the keepnet to be collected later that night. With the rods back on the spots and a bit more bait introduced I settled in just as the wind started to pick up.
A couple more fish showed under the overhanging trees, and one over my open water spot leaving me confident of a bite through the night, but it never materialized so I just had to be happy with a good night sleep instead. I woke fairly early around 6 am to some clear sky and a bit of sunshine and again it wasn't long until the carp were topping under the overhanging trees, there was no quick bite this time, though.
Around 8 am I had a strange take on the open water rod, one beep up, two slow beeps down and one beep up again. I decided to pick up the rod and felt resistance at the other end...for about two seconds then nothing. Checking my rig after reeling in my 10mm popup had gone through the gape of the hook and was resting the other side of the bend giving practically no chance of successfully hooking a fish, nightmare! I repositioned the rod and put a few more spods of Tier 1 on the spot, the fish obviously loving the bait.
A couple more hours at 11 am the same rod registered a drop back, I reeled down and leaned into the fish which hit the surface immediately, throwing the hook in the process. It looked as though it was another small fish, however, i would still like to have had a look at it on the bank (and clear the lake of another small one). 2 pm and this time it was the rod fished to the overhanging trees to go off, again an aggressive take with the indicator flying up at the rod blank and tip bending round in a jagging motion. I picked the rod up to what felt like a much better fish, however, a few deep lunges and some boils on the top of the water and it all went solid, really not my day! The fish had thrown the hook after managing to get round one of the unseen u underwater obstacles.
That was my quota of the action for that afternoon and another quiet night was ahead. Quiet fishing wise anyway as by now Storm Dorris was creaping up on me. I woke just before 6 am again but to a different scene from the day before. The sky was grey and there were heavy rain showers, i could see the clouds ahead moving at a high speed as the winds were blowing them along, Dorris was definitely here! The fish remained active, breaching the surface under the cover of the trees and rolling over my open water spot, regular patches of bubbles hitting the surface. I was hopeful for a bite before packing up but there was no such luck.
I was still bringing back a bit of leaf litter on my rigs, I think next time I'll scale down my hooks and use a 12mm pop-up giving it a bit more buoyancy to sit on top of any matter on the bottom. I'll try slightly longer hooklinks and probably go for a lead clip arrangement as opposed to the inline drop off that I usually use, just in case the lead is sinking down into the debris on the lake bed and dragging the hooklink and bait with it. Im also going to swap the bait screw on my D for a mini ring swivel, hopefully stopping the bait twisting around the hook as it had previously and also the lighten the load on the small pop-ups slightly, again giving it a bit more buoyancy. Hopefully, those changes will put some of those lost fish on the bank next time, hopefully, some of the bigger residents too.