11 & 12 /3/17 – Hintlesham specimen lake (overnighter)
I had arranged a 24hr session (only my second ever) with my mate Ben (from the aborted Catch 22 mission fame), and the plan was originally to try a new venue some distance away, but at the last minute, time constraints forced a change and we found ourselves rocking up at Hintlesham at the crack of dawn on the Saturday. If I thought my sessions already involved wheeling a shed load of gear around, then this was Sheds R Us on wheels, and the planning and packing the night before – Holy crap!
Conditions seemed just about perfect. No wind, Light cloud cover but no chance of rain and with 24hrs available, the ability to just relax and take my time making sure the set up was just right was pure luxury. On the subject of the set up, there have been some new additions to the family.
A beautiful brand new pair of ProLogic Spod and Marker rods (fifty quid the pair off gumtree!), and a new Wychwood Spod reel (bought at the Brentwood Carp Show), and a cheap but solid Okuma reel for marker use. Oh, the joys of new tackle!
Ben had claimed his favourite swim in the corner, with access to the left hand overhanging tree-lined bank. He’d memorised the number of wraps for his two prime spots from a previous visit (he doesn’t get out much😋) and was brimming with confidence. Not wrongly as it turned out. Within a couple of hours he’d bagged himself a nice brace of commons.
I jumped in the swim next door which gave me easy access to the gravel bar a short way out. Air pressure was still around the 1020 mark and the general consensus was not to be pre-baiting too heavily, but unfortunately I had just bought a new spod rod, plus I like to keep busy (mess about with something) so out went a dozen spomb full of hot hemp, pellet and crushed boilies. I absolutely loved getting to grips with the new marker/spod gear and a couple of bank sticks twelve boot-lengths apart took care of the wraps.
The afternoon was quiet and without event but I was happy with rig set up and location. Just before nightfall I brought the rods in and was disappointed to see the absence of hook-bait boilie on each rig. Just the pop ups remained. I’m using a new brand of bait at the moment (Total Baits) and the consistency is very soft and obviously life on the hair is relatively short-lived. Because of this I switched to a couple of old Cell boilies I’d been soaking in hemp oil and could be more confident they would stay put. Both were sent back out on the same spots and left, hopefully, to do the business in the night.
The nocturnal soundtrack was in full effect under the gaze of a full moon. At one point I was convinced I heard A monkey from the Tomb Raider game! We both decided to get some early shut eye but no sooner had I dropped off when one of my alarms sprung into life. This was a whole new experience! I can liken it to being spun around a dozen times then shoved in the darkness towards the noise. Ben appeared, to assist with landing and photo duty and then left me to perform my wraps again before getting back on the spot and crawling back into my pit. Half an hour later I was playing musical alarms again. Ben assisted once more, the fish was returned and the wrap ritual was performed once more before retiring again.
After what I was convinced was only about 15 mins, it all kicked off yet again, but Ben was nowhere to be seen (turns out it was actually 45 mins), so I was left to my own devices (hence the fish-only photo).
The next morning, although the swim had gone quiet, I was still revelling in the previous nights antics. Ben wasn’t finished though and before we packed up he bagged two more commons including the best of the day, a 18.5lb lump. We were both well chuffed with our results, despite not being able to tempt some of the larger beasts out of hiding.
Overall it was an awesome experience and just a delight to get some fish on the bank once more (note to self – learn a thing or two about venues and successes!)