12-13/8/16 – Hintlesham specimen lake
A work colleague was doing a couple of nights at Hintlesham and the plan was that I would join him during day on the Saturday. With the workload being what it currently is, I didn’t get home from work on Friday till about 7pm, looking forward to putting my feet up and letting the stresses of the week slowly fall away.
Well, my wife put pay to that, throwing a massive spanner in the works by suggesting I join my mate that night for an overnight session. A quick glance at the clock, followed by a couple of feeble “No, it’s too late now and I hadn’t planned to anyway, I’ll just go tomorrow” attempts to dismiss the idea, were met with a heartlessly insistent “honestly dear, I don’t mind – you go”.
I arrived at the lake just as it was getting dark. My cohort Ben (a seasoned bivvy dweller) was already ensconced in his home-from-home. After a quick pre-match team talk I then got straight to pitching camp and setting up the rods in a frenetically madcap race against the dwindling light. Thankfully the bivvy is incredibly user-friendly, so the main challenge was then tackling up using the moon as an (over)head-torch. I managed one rod and flicked it a couple of rod lengths out, happy in the knowledge that I was, for the very first time, night fishing.
I didn’t care that in my desperate panic to get to the lake I had left both my sleeping bag and bedchair in the car. As the bats performed their aerial acrobatics above my head, I just reclined my chair, put my feet up (on a bait bucket) and let the stresses of the week slowly fall away.
The night has its own unique soundtrack. It’s a magical experience to immerse yourself in. The hoot of the owl, the screaming bark of the fox, the scurrying of myriad bankside creatures and of course, the hum of nocturnal bait boats.
I barely slept and at first light I got both rods out to better spots. It had been a quiet night all over the lake with no alarms and no surprises. Everybody at Hintlesham always says if you’re not fishing to a margin or the lilies, that ‘you’ve got to find the gravel bar’ which runs the length of the lake. After trying the edge of the pads for the early hours, I brought one rod back towards the bar and at 10am it was off. I could have set up in any of the pegs closer to Ben but was deterred by the potential snags close in. I had no such worries in my swim and welcomed a nice 10lb common into the net.
Another hour and I was off again. This time a beautiful lean ghost of 11lb.
Ben on the other hand, was struggling and had lost a few close in. I packed up shortly after midday and wished him good luck with the rest of his session and just after I left, the rest of the lake fizzed into life (mostly due to the aerator being switched on for a couple of hours apparently). Ben rounded out his 36 hour session with four fish and a new pb of just under 30lb.
Quite apt that my first overnight session should be at the very place that kicked the obsession back to life after a 20 year absence. I also have my wife to thank for that.