Following on from getting the future wife's backing I couldn't wait to get back to the lake. I had a friend's wedding to attend on the Saturday and it wasn't until around 4pm on the Sunday when I got back to the lake.
The air pressure had dropped big time and we were well into the 990s ? still falling, wicked conditions for the said lake in my eyes. The last capture had come on a sudden change in pressure when it rose from 980 to 1012, did that change make them feed? I honestly don't know but in the future I will no doubt be there for those sudden changes.
After checking the baited area on the first two spots, most if not all the bait was still there. By the time I had got to the third area I noticed something swirl on the beach area of the lake, nothing much more like a displacement of water but something to act on.
In stealth mode I crept over and almost instantly my target fish come into my view. Going by its last capture should be around the 40lb mark; my target was not on its own but accompanied my two others, both 35lb+. Still in stealth mode I crept back out the area and swiftly returned to the car for a tin of the Jolly Green Giant and a bag of pellet.
Arriving back in the area I hung about and watched where and what the fish were doing before putting any bait out. As it was still daylight I couldn't risk putting a rod to them for fear of getting caught so I just watched them for a good hour or so. I soon noticed that the big common and one of the mirrors had drifted into deeper water, by climbing up one of the taller trees in the woods I would have a better view of where they were and what they were up to.
By now a group of lads had turned up on the beach and launched a radio control boat. Not you're every day bait boat or normal radio controlled boat I must add. This thing had the speed of a bullet; if I hadn't been so fixated on looking for the fish I would have watched on in amazement. They continued to rag it about which thinking back now only done me a favour as within twenty minutes of the boat coming out the fish are visible and heading towards me, the only problem was I couldn't get down quick enough, the only thing I could do is to balance there only five feet above them as they drifted around under my feet. I dare not move in fear of spooking them. With no hasty movements I opened the tin of corn flicked twelve grains out in a meter square area, by now there were three fish literally right below me coming in and out as they pleased. The small common I recognized as the fish I caught a couple of weeks back, the mirror I knew about as it had been caught last time the big common had but it was the big girl I wanted; my eyes focused on her and her movements. To my amazement the common seemed to be quiet and never even looked at the corn, the big girl went straight down and picked up a grain as soon as she set eyes on it. I didn't even look where the mirror was, I had to get out the tree and get my rods. Stuff daylight and getting caught, I am getting a rod and having a go for her.
I don't think I have set up a rod and rig that quick in my life but within a few minutes of getting back I am ready to go. Do I try and drop a lead in the area? Do I free line? My best option would be out the tree
? I sat the net up against the fence and put the rod by the tree; slowly clambering up perching on my branch I pulled the rod up. I had removed the lead and replaced it with some heavy metal where the lead would be. There were a couple of grains gone so I waited in anticipation until the big common moved and lowered my hook bait among them. The mirror by now was lethargically drifting about close to the edge on the left hand margin, doing nothing; the same went for the small common who was motionless below me. Two hours I stood in the damn tree with rod in hand. Every time the big common came in she picked up one grain of corn and went back out the area. Frustrating as it was, at one point she was less than 2 inches from my hook bait and picked the one at the side of it up. Watching her every movement you do end up seeing a pattern emerge and true enough she followed the same line every time she came in. The hook-bait was soon repositioned bang in line with her path; she approached another grain the next time she came in and it trundled into her mouth before she moved back out the area. Unnoticed to me at the time the mirror had joined her and as both fish approached the tree the mirror diverted from the usual path the common took and went over the weed, dropping down on the baited area. By now I am stood in the tree, just saying ?no no no please no? as it picked up the first two in line, then taking the hook bait. Then I was bent into a decent carp, from up the tree.
I had already planned my jump and where I would like to land; I give the fish some slack as it bolted out from under the trees. I jumped the five feet down into the water and almost landed on my target fish, which rapidly departed the area fast. BUGGER, Well words to that effect came out!
The mirror never put up much of a fight, wallowing on the surface and within a few minutes into the waiting net. I didn't even look for passers-by or cheer this time I just grabbed the net bolting back into the edge and placing her in the ready sack. The usual phone calls were made and before long Bruce and Shane had come down to do the honours with the camera. They rattled of a few snaps of a stunning old 30lb 10oz mirror. It looked mint in the afternoon sun and marked another successful days guesting.
I had come so close but yet so far and robbed at the last minute, out of the twelve grains of corn, the common had picked up seven in two hours; yet the mirror came in taking two in succession and then the hook bait. Unreal although it would explain why the mirror was known!
The big common was not seen in that area for the rest of the year.
After the mirror capture I would still be there every day in the hope of seeing something being able to angle for it but as it happened it was towards the end of August by the time I had found them again.
I had shimmied up one of the biggest trees on the North West corner of the lake and immediately spotted 2 carp coming towards me around 40 yards out. Not being able to see which fish they were I got back down and nipped to the car for some bait.
I had somehow started to work for a Bait Company during the year. It all revolved around two phone calls, which over a day or two ended up asking if I would be interested in an interview. You bet your bo****** I am interested.
After a few talks and interviews I was offered the job and the company was formed.
Tony Mills had come up with the idea and his knowledge on bait was astounding to say the least. Needless to say I soon started piling the boilie into the lake.
I had put in around 66kg of boilies over the space of a few months, which to some might sound a lot. Getting it at cost price did help but that was the perks of the job.
I had a selection of pellets, which were 12mm halibut pellets, the ever-faithful golden grains and about 4kg of boilies. I decided to stick with the corn and a few chopped boilies. Waiting for the fish to vacate the area I flicked a few baits 10 yards or so into the area they had been in. Half an hour must have passed before one of the fish had ventured right down onto the baited area and if I was not mistaken it picked up a few baits.
Back down the tree and off for the rods I returned quickly setting up one rod.
Again it was one of those thoughts, Daylight or not they are feeding and it's worth the risk!
Sticking with the one rod I put half a chopped boilie and a fake slither of enterprise fake corn, I only had the floating stuff at the time so chopped a whole on into quarters and used that. Getting the rod into the area was not a problem as the fish had moved off at the time and when I got back up the tree I could see they had eaten everything that was down there.
Full of confidence I set the net up and walked round to the wooded area looking to see how far they had ventured out, or if they had moved round a little. Not finding them had me puzzled so I made my way back up the tree in the swim. This tree fell many years ago but it is spot on for walking, giving you a cracking view into the lakes depths. While up the tree I can clearly see five fish coming towards me. Freezing in the tree I can recognize three of them as known fish the other two I had only seen once or twice. Seeing the sight of the five swimming towards me blew me away, at this point I must be careful what I say as I am still chasing my dreams!
Let's just say there is not only one 40lb fish in there.
As soon as the fish approached the area three of them drifted down and began feeding. The shrill of the Delkim had me scrambling along the tree and into the water and bending into the fish. There was a good 30 yards of line cutting through the water but I was connected to my 3rd fish. As I waded out I spooked a serious amount of fish, everywhere I could see boils and vortexes coming up. All the time playing the fish its tail is out the water like the first fish. As it turned out it was the long common again slightly lower than weight this time at 28lb 12oz. A few pictures were taken and I returned it a tad disappointed with it not been one of my other targets, the big common was in the area again and went down at the same time as the smaller common. One day she will be mine!
Nothing more occurred for the next two nights and I never seen a fish in the area all through September. With the chance of a ticket coming up for the following year I decided to call it a day and wait to do it legally. Await part three!
The moment of truth
30lb 10oz - I suppose it wasn't so bad after all!
The Long Common again, at a slightly lower weight