Angling round up for 2017
Well, it was a very cold start in the early doors of 2017, a lot of the waters local to me were under a lid of ice for the most part and I think the vast majority of us were eagerly waiting to get a break in the weather to get out and wet a line.
Finally, the weather improved, and on Feb 4th I went out for the day and managed to catch my first of the year, only a low double figure common, but still very welcome all the same.
Over the coming weeks I managed to string a few more sessions together, keep the bait going in and in turn managed several more bites with the best being a 23-14 common off memory.
March was finally here and so, was the new custom mix fishmeal boilie, aptly named ‘SuperFrank’ (SF8). It was time to get back to the syndicate in pursuit of the bigguns, and in particular a big common that still eludes me, ‘cough’….. Well as luck would have it, on my first overnight session back I managed to get on the fish thanks to a little tip off from a mate ‘Marco’ who had done the previous night and seen a fair bit of activity in the corner bay of the main lake, and was packing his kit up as I arrived with mine, which is always handy!… This was an area I’d spent hours and hours of my own time in the winter removing old fallen branches and having a general tidy up, firstly to make it safer to fish and to rid the bottom of unwanted debris, in turn making it suitable to present a baited rig on effectively.
Well the following morning looked promising with plenty of fish activity starting at first light and in turn resulted in 2 bites, one lost to a hook pull sadly (due to some old tackle trapped on the bottom which fortunately came free on the second bite), the second bite rewarded me with a lovely dark mid 20 mirror still in its winter glory. I was absolutely elated to catch on my first night back after a lengthy time away from the lake.
My next 24hr trip resulted in me chasing the fish around the pond like a man possessed but with no bites forthcoming, then at the very end of March I was rewarded with 3 carp, a 23lb common a 20lb 4oz mirror and a stonking mirror aptly named ‘Tyson’ at 37-14. I initially gave out the shout- ‘Snow Fish’, which is its bigger sibling at 42+ (RIP). After a fair bit of banter for my mistaken identity by the lads (mostly Scooba Mark), we got some pics and returned her no worse for wear, the 2nd night was also special because it was my sons 1st ever night on the bank, unfortunately no more carp were forthcoming but a few happy memories were forged.
Over the coming months I was managing to get out generally once a week and started to catch fairly consistently albeit from the same areas, with around another 9 carp up to mid 30’s.
On one particular day session I knew we were forecast heavy rain, which meant my external job would be a no go, so I headed to the pond mid-week full of hope and anticipation, I had this gut feeling about the big common, my mate Josh even called me and said I reckon today is the day. Well after a quick look, it was obvious where a lot of the carp were held up, and it was only a matter of 10 minutes after setting a trap on a double bottom bait presentation that the first bite came about which turned out to be an absolutely stunning upper double- a black, torpedo shaped common. As it transpired, I wasn’t the only one who was rained off, Wayne a fellow member turned up after a look and asked if he could drop in next door, which I was cool with, as he’s a decent guy and I know he’d have been kind enough to let me fish in the neighbouring swim if I’d have asked after finding the carp whereabouts.
By mid-morning the fish were going mental, crashing and rolling over both swims, it was only a matter of time, before the left hand rod pulled round but I lifted into nothing, but a big bow wave erupted from the marginal shelf, I’m certain a carp had got away with it, shook the rig or something, never mind one a piece I thought. Only an hour or so had passed and I was into another as the rain cascaded down in a monsoon fashion. After a spirited fight I landed a nice mid 20 common. Just as it lay beaten in the net, Wayne had run down full of excitement, he said, oh you got one too, to which I said yeah a reasonable common, he then replied fair play, I’ve got the ‘Penny’ in the net, my heart sank as I dearly wanted this fish, we quickly pictured my carp, and then myself and another member went round and helped with the weighing and photographing of the mighty common which looked enormous and in stunning condition, which was no surprise as she hadn’t been out for around 11 months from what I recall, and was at a very healthy weight of 44lb and ounces. I was so happy for Wayne, envious- very, jealous no, he deserved it just as much as anyone else, good for him I thought and what a privilege it was to be part of something so special, I made sure he got some excellent pictures even though the rain nearly ruined my camera. It’s a weird feeling seeing your target fish caught by others especially when you’ve been so damn close on 3 or more occasions, I left feeling with mixed emotions.
That weekend the kids and I went out on a few very short coarse fishing trips, which was great fun, seeing their little faces light up whenever they caught one. Strangely Stanley’s favourite fish was a Gudgeon, and Ferns unquestionably being the small crucian/hybrids we caught, this to me is how fishing should start and progress slowly appreciating whatever it is you catch with a diversity of species.
Well my next trip out was again with my son, a few friends and one of their children, we’d kindly been invited to fish a private lake not far from Wraysbury. Upon arriving at this intimate slice of carp heaven I immediately noticed the deep margins, gin clear clarity, and abundance of weed. The lake was said to contain a head of about 70 odd carp, this was a bit of me for sure. This was to be a very memorable trip indeed, I ended the 2 nights with 22 bites, 19 carp and a Tench, with two lost. Amongst the haul were mirrors to 32+ and commons to 28+, with many of them being absolute woodcarvings all caught on the Multi-Chod arrangement using a size 4 dark chod hook and a prototype hook which is due be released. This was also a great test for the GTHD due to the amount of weed and nature of how I’d be fishing it (locked up), well it stood up to all the punishment it was put through and some. They clearly loved the custom fishmeal as I went through about 9 kg’s or more of 15mm’s and a pot of matching corkies. I would top up the spot up after every bite or when the action slowed and resting it for a few hours and giving it a good hit before returning promoting confident/ competitive, feeding . I was told there were a lot of bream and tench present so other than a bit of floater fishing early on, I opted for a boilie only approach which clearly worked as the bream left me alone and I only had the 1 Tinca. Even Chelsea losing to Arsenal in the FA Cup final that weekend, couldn’t bring our spirits down and that’s saying something, believe me!….
So as these things go in life I returned back to the syndicate full of confidence and drive around a week or two later and the inevitable happened my target fish had done its second capture of the year while I was off gallivanting and this time at a record weight of 45lb on the same bank holiday weekend I had my success, once again I congratulated the captor (Jamie P), hoping his luck might rub off on me one day!!!
The Syndicate then shut for spawning and then re-opened with a draw for swims before the start allowing you to bait and prepare your drawn swim ready for the open, sadly for almost all including myself it was an anti- climax with the fishing being very slow despite the build up being very promising.
My next trip was to Junction 12 in Theale with my son alongside some friends on a weekend group booking, which was a great laugh but only resulted in 4 bites, 2 of which came to me, sadly only banking one, a mid- double, with the other two bites going to ‘Azza’ both being decent 20’s of memory. All in all though it was a fun social on a new lake I’d never stepped foot on before.
Soon after things went proper ‘Pete Tong’, around the area and many of our big fish from a number of venues suffered fatalities, then over the next few weeks the syndicate was shut down awaiting tests and conclusive answers, and I had no other tickets whatsoever, so I found myself doing the odd session over at Tri-Lakes, which naturally brought about a lot of bites and fun with the biggest being low 20’s, but I really wanted to get back to chasing the common to be honest.
Once the syndicate was given the all clear and good to go by the relevant people some weeks later, I was back on, doing a night a week right up until late autumn, 15 nights in total for 1 tench, this was to be my hardest and leanest spell ever in all my years of angling, it was scratching time for sure, it was literally doing just a few odd bites here and there, at times I felt I’d fished well too, making the most of any opportunity and what’s more being on fish.
My mate Will managed to bank the big common for the second time doing its third and final capture of the year and my mate Billy managed to catch the much sort after ‘Enoch’ the one he dearly wanted, so well done those two. Bizarrely both Enoch and Korda came out a bit towards the end of the year, a fairly new member Jeff catching both mirrors in fairly close succession, but the vast majority of fish were totally uninterested and just didn’t get caught with almost all of the members ramping up a lot of nights without anything to speak off, still that’s fishing right!….
Winter was upon us and I was offered a Bailiff ticket for a few venues close to home, in return for me to keep an eye out whilst walking the dogs of an evening. On my preferred lake, I baited every day for 3 weeks with boilie including a new Test bait which is due to be released in 2018, after raking and preparing spots meticulously with the Gardner castable rakes, one I use for weed removal and the other for clearing twigs, leaves and general debris. This winter campaign came good with 11 bites in about 6/7 short day sessions, with some spectacular looking commons amongst them and the spots had been well polished judging by the drops I got towards the end. Sadly, just as everything was going to plan and more bites looked inevitable with the mild weather that came in I had some family health issues and unfortunately the rods were to put to rest until all is well again.
So in summary, the year started as well as I could have hoped, with some results along the way but due to a plethora of reasons it went a bit south for me but started to come good again in the final weeks of the year.
Let’s hope this coming year is a good one and the tales and memories made, continue for us all!….
Tight lines- Ian Lewis