Things that go bleep in the night

31st March – 1st April 2018   Hintlesham Specimen Lake

First trip of the year and it just so happens to be an overnighter. Yay for long Bank Holiday weekends!

I had to fight the overwhelming urge to show my 3 new rods how to blank on the big stage that is Suffolk Waterpark and for once i actually managed it, settling for the far more sensible option of Hintlesham. Progress. I think it actually boiled down to just wanting to get some 2018 fish under my belt, before i go off on my harebrained fools errands.

I set up camp in the rain. Slightly less unobjectionable than packing up in the rain.  It was a late start (17:00) so making my home for the night my priority, the rods didn’t get out till about 6. I could have paid for an extra rod but from past results, I’m happy with 2 rods at Hintlesham, unlike the Waterpark where 12 rods would be a more realistic set up.


I didn’t go crazy with ground bait or pellet today and just kept it simple, happy in the knowledge that both rigs had found the gravel bar – single ‘cell’ wafter on the hook and a dozen freebies catapulted on top of each. Located by the emergence of the pva rig foam on the surface.

I decided to try and get my head down about 9pm for some early sleep but due to both the suspense and my slight paranoia (“have my alarm batteries run out and is that constant clicking sound the sound of my freespool peeling off?” & “is that rat inside the bivvy and just what the fuck is it gnawing at?”) the sleep was rather sporadic.

2am arrived to let me know that my batteries were still working and like a bewildered green jack in the box i sprung forth towards the piercing wail. Connecting with the fish i could tell it was already kiting left and despite all my efforts to persuade it otherwise, two further alarm tones confirmed it had collected next door’s lines. When my neighbour emerged i had to apologetically tell him to curb his ‘double-run’ excitement. He just flicked both alarms off and headed straight back to his pit, but the embarrassment quickly turned to frustration when i realised that the line had become firmly tangled with one of the low hanging branches of the tree on my left and no amount of pressure was likely to shift it. Not wanting to potentially leave the fish permanently tethered, i opted against pulling for a break and instead switched off the alarm and planned to wait for daylight when the lake’s boat could be used to try and free it.

3am brought a slow and steady take on the right hand rod. Initially it felt like a carp but then it quickly felt like nothing. It was darker now than the last wake up but as my rig left the water my head torch picked out another line attached which i quickly grabbed and proceeded to hand-line in. Attached to a very long length of line was a rather sluggish round common of about 18lb. A quick photo and she was returned rig-free to the water.

Daylight came but it was 8am when the lake owner did his first rounds. The boat had seen better days and had quite a major leak meaning that, after first emptying it of water, it was a race against time for the owner to get across to me, untangle the line and get back across before the lake claimed him but he made it look easy and he was obviously well practiced. As soon as the line was freed, the fish, still attached, was off like a train once more and i suddenly realised that after all this time i might actually lose the fish. Being still attached to both next doors lines made it hard to get it close to the bank so i had to employ the help of another angler to reach out and net the fish. After a couple of failed lunges with the net, it finally rolled over the cord. What a relief!

A sight for sore eyes – a beautiful golden ghostie of about 12lbs.

Well worth the wait. Roll on next time!

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Not about fishing

I’m ashamed to say that i still haven’t managed to get out on the bank this year. 

Scrub that. That’s actually something of a lie, as on more than one occasion, while en route to work commitments, I’ve pitstopped at a nearby lake to stare longingly into its depths. It does seem to ‘help’ to a certain extent. I suppose it’s a form of window-shopping.

Speaking of shopping and retail therapy, i went to the Brentwood Carp Show back in January. It was the Saturday morning (the first day of the show). I hit the outskirts of Brentwood at 9am, just as the doors of the show were opening. It then took me a further 45 mins and a sneaky 5 mile detour (to cut out the gridlock and enter the car park via the exit) before i made it into the show. Brentwood was literally crippled by the sudden mass influx of Carp nuts to such an extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone demands a change of venue for next year. 

Once in the sweet shop, i set about seeking out some sweet bargains. Among the myriad items in my haul, i managed to bag 3x new rods – Shimano Alivio 2.75 Tc at £20 each!

Other items include – Shimano glug pots and case, Trakker mug, NGT rechargeable head torch, Rigmarole braids, NGT butt rests, Bank sticks and rechargeable Saber (very impressed with this new company’s range of budget gear) Bivvy light. The whole lot set me back £140 which is crazy-cheap. 

So, all i need to do now is put them to use. Roll on bank holiday weekend and the first session of 2018.

Christmas tree decorations

30/12/17 – Kirton Hall Lake

I can’t believe it’s been 3 whole months since my last trip!

I wouldn’t say i was rusty but it took half an hour to attach the first of my new hand-tied rigs to my main line.

Four! Yes, four attempts! The first three all managing to miss out a, different, key part of the carefully prepared rig. I was literally laughing out loud at how crap i was.

In hindsight, i could have saved myself the time & effort by just walking along the bank a short way and throwing it in the tree where it eventually ended up.

There were only a few bites today. A couple of missed runs from the rod in open water (probably bream) but luckily there was one very welcome present from under the tree which managed to save a blank on the ‘last trip of 2017’.

A beautiful 11lb common

Overall its been an up and down year. Not exactly a plethora of day session fish, but i did manage to get a couple of successful overnighters under my belt at last.

So, plans for 2018 include trying a few new venues that have been on the to-do list for a while, plus hooking up for some sessions with a couple of mates, or as i like to call them ‘photographers’ 🙂

Happy new year to my followers and good luck to you all in 2018, whatever your pursuit.

Busy day at the bank

27/9/17 – Kirton Hall Lake

A week off work enabled a mid week session at Kirton. I arrived expecting to have my choice of any swim but so did everyone else apparently. I settled for a peg only two away from my spot last week, which was actually slightly better as it enabled me to reach the edge of the pads on the opposite bank.

Final tally for the day was four nice commons up to 13lb, one recently stocked fully-scaled mirror and yet another beautiful tench of 4.5lb which I’m pretty sure is a tench pb for me.

Frustratingly, I just don’t seem to be able to up my carp pb which has stood at 18lb 12oz since Jun 2015.

I have got an overnighter scheduled at a new venue at the end of this month which I’m absolutely buzzing about, so fingers crossed I can finally break the deadlock and tempt a twenty!!

Tight lines all!

Home advantage

23/9/17 – Kirton Hall Lake

I decided I’d had enough of blanking for a while, and that it was time to restore some confidence and get some fish on the bank, so a trip to Kirton was in order.

I chose a spot at the wider end of the lake that the wind was pushing into, and just before setting up I gave the bloke in the swim to my left a hand landing a nice lower double.

Within an hour I’d had a couple of tentative bites on the left hand rod resulting in a bream and a tench.


Despite it being pretty overcast all day, perseverance managed to get a few carp feeding off the top and finally resulted in a common of about 9lb

Nice to get a bend in the rod again and it’s always nice to catch a bonus tench, whatever the size. Sorry Mr Bream.

Another intere-sting visitor was this hornet who popped in for a drink about five times during the session. Finally got a decent pic on his 4th visit after freaking myself out on the previous 3 attempts to get close. 

Where’s the catch?

27/8/17 – Suffolk water park (Big Lake) – overnight session


Another opportunity to get three rods out for 24hrs. I struggled to choose a swim today due to the wind chopping up the surface making it hard to read any signs of life. I opted for a peg facing the deeper, open area of the lake. During the day I used the third rod to try and get some surface activity going but the gulls were a proper nuisance and the fish, when they did feed, seemed incredibly wary of anything attached to a hook.

Throughout the night I was getting single bleeps almost every half hour, which must have been the bream and not liners, as I was using back leads on every rod. Not great for trying to get some kip and to make matters worse, the fuckwits in the next door swim got a screaming run at 2am which they didn’t seem at all interested in picking up (presumably due to a few too many beers). After two minutes I’d had enough and stomped out of my bivvy and shouted “for fuck sake guys, come on!” One of them finally staggered out, seemingly confused as to what this strange disturbance was. Amazingly when he picked up the rod, the fish was still on. As I trudged back to my pit, I prayed for it to come off… At least something went right for me. I mean ffs! When you have a lake this hard where bites are so desperately hard to come by, why the hell would you risk missing one??


Rant over. What a beautiful morning vista!

Winged things

8/8/17 – Taswood Lakes (Heron Lake).

taswoodpanoramic

The last time I came to Taswood, I caught a duck. Off to a flying start…

Not my finest hour.

A much needed week off work allowed for a rare overnight session and the chance to dust off the bivvy again for only the third ‘successful’ time. As per last time, conditions weren’t great, with a potential storm on its way. But I was out on the bank and in-it-to-win-it. I didn’t care.

I was in good company for the session. A cormorant in the peg to  my left, a Heron in the trees to my right and the family of Kingfishers in the bank opposite. Oh yeah, and the Osprey that scared the absolute shit out of me, thundering past just a few hundred feet above the lake.

Bell-Boeing-MV-22-Osprey
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. Not my photo – I wasn’t quick enough!

Anyway, with the exception of the Osprey, it seemed like everyone was catching except me. I was happy with my swim choice. It actually gave me myriad choices and the absence of anglers within sight meant I had access to about 6 swims-worth of water.

My first bite came about 3pm in the afternoon. A very positive take which unfortunately only resulted in a severed hook link. Possibly a pike as I was fishing a Nash Key Krill boilie and felt no resistance when I lifted into the run.

A short while later a tentative take on the left rod resulted in a sizeable roach, which had attempted to take a 15mm boilie.taswoodroach1

This was followed soon after by a similarly over-confident bream.

taswoodbream

For the night I brought both rods just a few feet out in front of me where there appeared to be quite a bit of bubbling. The night passed without event though, apart from having to get up and shoo a couple of hedgehogs away that were truffling around at the door to the bivvy and driving me crazy.

The rain finally arrived in the early hours and got heavier as the next day went on. I managed to get a couple of carp feeding off the top so switched one rod to a surface approach but all I managed was three more sprightly roach.

I hate packing up in the rain and the two long trips along the deep gravel path to the car park and now torrential rain made it a far from enjoyable experience to round off the session. My spirits have not been dampened though and as far as that lake goes, we definitely have unfinished business.

I’ll be back.