…those who wait

17/8/18 – 18/8/18 Hintlesham Specimen Lake

Friday night 6pm and I’m still at work, blissfully unaware that a surprise overnighter is on the cards, but a text to my wife suggesting a cheeky trip to the cinema is rebuffed with an ‘out of the blue’ offer that rather than fish tomorrow, i get my shit together and go tonight instead.

I’m on my way home!

I break out the ‘Overnighter check list’ and just throw it all in the van.

A quick call to my nemesis Suffolk Waterpark, revealed that the gates were closing any minute, ruling out another guaranteed blank. Never mind. Hintlesham was my next nearest option, and has always looked after me in the past. I made the lake by 7.30pm. Still plenty of daylight left.

I’ve always fished the far side with access to the gravel bar but the far side was pretty busy and as the lake seemed alive all over, and with time tight, i opted for a near side swim and something different.

For the night i had one rod close to the overhanging bushes directly opposite, where the lake narrows, and the other one near the pads to the right where the fish were bubbling.

Pitch perfect. Everything in it’s place and no need to make two trips with the barrow.

For once, the night passed without a single bleep, so I actually managed to get some sleep. I was up at 5am next morning moving the rods, both closer to the pads with a scattering of boilies around each. If I’m honest, i wasn’t really happy with their positioning, but as usual, i just sat it out for a couple of hours before deciding to change again. This time though, both rods landed smack bang in between each set of pads, and i felt instantly positive. You know that feeling when the rig lands exactly where you wanted it to, and you just say to yourself “that’s a bite right there”.

The danger then became the risk of losing a fish to the pads. Normally I’d tighten the freespool right up so they had nowhere to go, but with the rod pod precariously perched on the staging and no means of locking it down, i decided to give the freespool some movement, rather than wave goodbye to the whole lot. This meant being ready to pounce at the first beep, and sure enough, within 5 minutes, i needed to pounce. After a heavy connection and a thumping battle to try and prevent the fish finding the pads, the hook pulled (i thought).

Upon closer inspection though, the hook had actually snapped!

I was right in the middle of attaching a new link in order to get the rod straight out again and before I’d finished the other rod was off.

As they say – Location, location, location.

A hard fighting common finally made its way into the net and i breathed a sigh of relief, happy that I’d avoided the dreaded blank.

10.5lb common

The next couple of hours were quiet and i assumed that the two struggles had cleared each area.

I re-cast and rebaited around both rods again and yet again, within 5 minutes the left hand rod screamed off and i was again struggling to steer it through the pads. As it came towards me i could see it had clearly brought some of the pads with it, adding to the hefty resistance, but when the fish surfaced i could see it was big. My mind raced and then i immediately started to worry that i was about to lose a new pb, but somehow i managed to steer the fish and thread it through the trailing lily. For some reason I decided to net it myself despite offers of help, and then instantly regretted my choice when the fish refused my first net lunge and disappeared once again into the depths. Second chance came around though and i made it count. One look at it in the net and i knew I’d done it.

23lb exactly on the scales, but i hadn’t zeroed with the net so less 2lb 3oz and we have a new pb of 20lb 13oz (previous best an 18lb 12oz common, Jun 2015) so a long time coming, but well worth the wait.

As it says on the tin, it’s SO not about catching fish, but sometimes it so is.

It started with a bream

6/5/17 – Kirton Hall Lake

The scene from peg 5 where I was trying to snatch a last minute bonus, while packing up.

A busy day at the lake dictated swim choice today and as the wider end of the lake appeared to be shoulder to shoulder, I opted for the narrow end and peg 6, which as it happens is something of a favourite for me, despite not producing any of the larger inhabitants, it usually doesn’t fail to come up with some sort of reward.

Tactics in this swim, if casting to lily pads in either adjoining swim are ruled out, are basically to hit the far reed-lined margin and if you’re not within a couple of feet forget it. This was proven instantly as on casting out the right hand rod and starting to set it down I realised the line and rig was already ripping off and reed-bound. Unfortunately this was too much of a head start and I ended up 1 rig down right from the off.

A short while later the left hand rod was off but it turned out to be a rogue bream.

It looks like I’m using some ridiculously wide diameter line but it’s actually the fluorocarbon leader link I’m currently using.

Not the intended quarry although in my mind it would serve as the blank saver, in the event that the carp stayed away.

Turns out it was right-hand-Rod’s day today and he totally redeemed himself with five feisty carp over the course of the day.

Another perfect day at Kirton proving that they don’t need to be monsters of the deep to make it a worthwhile session.

Won’t be long now before the carp start spawning so fingers crossed I’ll squeeze in another session before they do.

Tight lines people.



Wrappers delight

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!)


Cheap Thrills.

29/1/17 – Brentwood Carp Show.

A day out at a show drooling over the latest and best carp products. I was like a kid in a camo-coloured sweet shop and with a few pence burning a hole in my pocket I even treated myself to a new bait bucket, a beautiful new spod reel and numerous other little bits and bobs.

The chief product tester was immediately ‘on the case’ . I think it met with the gorgeous Sia’s approval.

No alarms and no surprises.

3/12/16 – Suffolk Waterpark (the Big Lake)

I can see this going the same way as my relationship with Melton’s specimen lake. The scores at Melton are currently 10-1 in the favour of the lake and yet I still keep going back for more. The Waterpark may just be my new obsession and could easily find itself at the top of my ‘favourite places to blank’ chart.

Under advisement from the friendly owner in the shop, I chose the car park swim today. It is in fact so close to the car park that you could easily fish from the car, or at the very least, sleep in the car on an overnighter (probably frowned upon) as long as you’re prepared to vault the fence should the alarms start to scream.

I switched to the swim next door ‘Caspers Rest’ for the last four hours of the session, just to spread the blank around a bit. Turns out Casper is a bloody big rat and he doesn’t rest much.

Casper is in this shot, although he’s a bit blurry as he was on the move.

Any Bream will do.

4/8/16 – Suffolk Waterpark, Traditional Lake

I Hooked up today with Gavin, an old football team mate to tackle the traditional lake for the fourth time. Therefore, and also due to a serious lack of activity to report, I’ll be littering this post with as many footy references as I possibly can.

     Unfortunately, due to too many players turning up, we ended up being played slightly out of position (my poor choice of the swims left available). I wanted to be tight to the island but overhead casting was hampered by the tree and a strong crosswind. I found myself having to kneel just to avoid clipping low hanging branches. My only proper shot on target resulted in a take just as I was setting the rod down, but when I struck all I got was a missing hook link. (Possibly an eager jack pike take on the drop).

     The midfield general to my left wasn’t doing much better but kept plugging away trying to make something happen. Eventually he gave in and brought the method feeder on. Reminded me of a ‘funny’ from old England glory days – “Nothing says ‘Fuck-it’ like bringing on Heskey”. But when you’re scratching around trying to get a result, sometimes you’ll do anything just to get a bite, and the method will normally tempt something.

     I on the other hand, had had enough. I’d spotted a position someone had left wide open so I took my ball and stomped off to play the rest of the game by myself in the corner. 

Whilst I felt better about my change of scenery, the score (for me at least) remained the same. Gav however was playing golden goal as his change of tactics paid off with the tidy bream below.

A few more skimmers followed and while some of the spectators had already left the stadium and were on their way home (I had to get home before six 🙂 ), Gav slotted the winner home in the shape of a 3lb common.

Well played that man.