10/6/17 – Hintlesham Specimen Lake
With spawning just about finished, there were once again more than a few choices of destination available to me this morning as I left the house, and it was only while loading the van that I settled on Hintlesham.
A momentary en route wobble brought about deja-vu caused by a previous trips last minute change of tack, only this time I stuck to my guns and Hintlesham remained the target.
The lake was pretty busy but after chatting with a few bleary-eyed bivvy dwellers, i realised that a few swims would be vacated around midday freeing up some more options should the need arise.
I got straight to work feeding the gravel bar and sat both rigs on the near side edge of the bar, then sat back and waited for what would surely be inevitable action. The action turned out to be the sitting back and waiting so when the far corner swim became available I jumped at the opportunity and knowing how much the locals seem to favour this swim (including my mate Ben of Wrappers delight fame) I was feeling pretty excited. When my first speculative cast practically brushed the lower branches of the far overhanging tree and plopped just about as inch perfect as you could ever hope to get without the aid of a toy boat, then I could have gone home a happy man there and then. I decided to spoilt it though and wait for a bite.
Both rods let themselves down today and despite sticking to my guns, they both contained blanks.
28/5/17 – Melton Specimen Lake
So today saw another fruitless trip out for The Leaf Catcher.
The Carp were spawning at pretty much every other lake locally but Melton is always a few degrees lower, due to it’s dark & mysterious depths. The lake was pretty busy and although I couldn’t get into the swim I would normally opt for on such a glorious day, I was still on the same bank, with access to the end of the island.
The whole 12 hours produced just a few knocks and a couple of tentative pickups. I should imagine, had I opted for a slightly smaller hook bait, I could have at least tempted a tench or one of the pretty sizeable bream present, but no. I’m such a ‘bird in the hand’ kind of guy and as such I find myself empty handed far too often.
The day’s entertainment was provided by a small cormorant which spent the afternoon diving and surfacing with eels, some of which it took up to 10mins to finally swallow without them wriggling back out again.
Sadly, I now make that 11-1 in Melton’s favour.
6/5/17 – Kirton Hall Lake
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.
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.
18/4/17 – Kirton Hall Lake
I made it to the top of the membership waiting list for Kirton (£65 a year and basically a no-brainer) so I’m therefore able to fish whenever I want, even if there’s a match (they always keep at least a dozen pegs available for members). I’m pretty sure, without checking the blog posts, I haven’t been to Kirton since January 1st so this trip felt long overdue and I was buzzing at the prospect of tackling the lake on a favourable late spring day, and a mid-week session at that.
For me, it doesn’t get much better than turning up at a six acre 54 peg lake and discovering it’s just you and one other sharing the lake (awkward bastard!) . I made the most of it by putting the new toys to use again and whacked out a dozen spombs full of a mix of crushed boilies, hemp and mini pellets, over my right hand rod which was clipped up on a clear spot three quarters of the way out (it’s actually pretty weed free all over apart from the pads in between each swim). The left hand rod was used in a slightly less disciplined fashion, with a single white pop-up, and was just flicked out randomly in various closer in spots.
Within an hour the left hand rod had managed to bag a 7lb mirror and 8lb common. Not so much as a sniff on the right hand rod.
Plus another couple of smaller mirrors for the left hand rod.
Of course I didn’t want to move the right hand rod, after committing so much bait to one spot, but after forgetting myself and reeling in without first clipping up, then guessing the spot for a bit and finally giving in and playing the wrap game, it all got a bit messy on right hand rod. All he could manage were two half hearted runs which pretty quickly dropped the hook and a more positive take which instantly snapped the hook link. Forget right hand rod. He’s an idiot! An expensive idiot!
Meanwhile, left hand rod was having a field day. Over 10lb’s calls for ‘timer-cam’ piccies.
These fish were three of the hardest fighting fish I’ve ever had. It sounds ridiculous for fish of this meagre size, but Kirton’s commons fight like fish twice their size from any other lake round here. Perhaps the time of year was also a factor in their current peak fitness levels. I must get back to the bank in the next couple of weeks and see if I can’t tempt one of the bigger specimen commons which are now running into the early twenties!
Till next time. Thanks for reading.
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!)
26/2/17 – Suffolk Water Park
So it’s official. I’m addicted. What is it about a seemingly impossible challenge which makes it so incredibly attractive and intriguing?
Today’s blanking masterclass showcased the shallow arm of the large horseshoe lake. I was sure my rigs were presented perfectly on a gravel bed 50 yards out and so was convinced, yet again, that today would herald a change in fortune, the destiny of which I’ve so foolishly placed in the hands of this lake.