The Cromwell social didn’t exactly get off to a good start for me this year. I was right on schedule until a few miles before my A1 turning when my sat nav decided to take me the wrong way due to a new road layout and an out-of date tom tom. I had a nightmare after that and just working out the right direction took me an hour. I arrived with no time to have a walk around and talk to any of the anglers that were packing up and I was barely in time for the draw which I didn’t get to film this year. I just let everyone take their pieces of paper from the hat, it’s always tempting to dive in and grab one as everyone looks at their position in the draw but I’d already decided I was having the last one in the hat so I took a backseat and waited. Taking the last one paid off big time and I got 3rd choice of peg, I couldn’t have been happier, I had an inkling the fish were stacked in the middle area and being 3rd out I was guaranteed a swim that would cover the fish. I chose peg 6 in the end, I’d been in this peg once before on our very first Cromwell social so I had an idea of what to expect, it was the lakes ‘long chuck’ swim and I was well geared for fishing at range with my Torrix TE Rods.
Our booking started at 9.30am on Friday morning so I took my time and set up the bivvy first before getting to work on the rods. I’d decided to go all out on zigs for this session, it was high pressure, sunny but with a cold wind North Easterly wind, the exact same conditions I had last time I’d fished peg 6 three years earlier and I’d caught on the zig rig back then. I set up with 3 Fox Zig Alignas, I’d heard on the grapevine black foam was doing the damage so I started with two on black foam and one on yellow foam as yellow had caught for me on the last two Cromwell trips. These were fished with a Drennan Super Specialist Hook in size 10, the same hook I use for my Barbel Fishing. The water in front of me was 12-13ft deep and my zigs were fished at 9, 10 and 11ft as I focused on the narrow band of water 2-5ft down from the surface. Now casting a 10ft long zig rig over 100yds is not an easy thing to do, I had to use a two bait PVA Mesh Bag made with pop ups just to keep the Drennan Double Strength hooklength from wrapping up around the main line, once I started using the small bag of pop ups I managed to avoid the tangles. I had to lay the zig aligna and mesh bag on the ground to cast and then try and loop the cast high so everything stayed straight as it went out, this combined with the power needed to cast a 3oz lead over 100 yards made the whole process quite tricky but eventually I had 3 baits out at ranges of 100 to 110+ yards.
The day passed uneventfully and I took the chance to have a nap mid-afternoon, after hitting the road at just after 5am I was knackered so a bit of kip and a nice big casserole for tea was just what I needed. I was actually watching my Nikkai TV in the evening when the middle Delkim bleeped once then sang its lovely warbling song. I was on it in a flash, I wound down and struck into a solid fish which immediately started taking line even at long range, a sure sign of a decent sized fish. I played it for a minute or two before everything went solid and I found myself stuck in the heavy weed. Bailiff Mark was kind enough to come out in the boat and I waited anxiously as he made his way out to where the fish was stuck. In my mind I’d already conceded defeat and it came as no surprise when Mark signalled the fish was gone. I wound in to find the line had parted a couple of inches from the lead.
I re-tackled after the loss and managed to get the rig back out just before dark. To say I was annoyed and disappointed would be an understatement but things got worse during the night when the right hand rod peeled away at 12.30am. This fish didn’t have the power of the previous lost fish but it still managed to find some weed. I managed to free it and played it all the way in, I had the carp rolling on the surface in front of me when it powered off one last time and as it did, my hook length parted again. I was devastated, two losses, both to breakages, I was not a happy bunny at all and I threw the rod on the rest in disgust and went back to bed. In the morning I tied up a fresh zig and once again I was fishing with 3 rods.
Second day I did a bit of filming for the video that accompanies this article (above), apart from getting some footage of the lake not much else happened until the evening. At roughly the same time as yesterday the middle rod bleeped once before my main line slowly started peeling from the Clutch. Again I was on it quickly only this time I managed to pressure the fish towards me. It was slow and ponderous but it kept coming and I had my heart in my mouth as it got closer to me. Inevitably it found some weed on the way in but the fish was much closer to the bank this time and with some steady pressure I managed to get it moving again. As it came into the margins I caught a glimpse of a lump, as soon as I saw it my first guess was thirty plus. A few minutes later Kev slipped the Landing Net under her and I breathed a sigh of relief, after a few heart stopping moments I’d finally put a Cromwell carp on the bank.
Kev held her in the margins whilst I sorted out the mat, sling, scales and cameras ready for weighing and the photo session. We weighed her in at 35lb exactly, all I could think of at the time was that I’d got one and I hadn’t blanked, we did the photo’s and called Mark the bailiff out so he could see it, he gave the fish the once over before I returned her to the water.
I recast the zig just before dark and when I sat down it sank in properly, this fish is actually a new PB Mirror and it beat my old pb of 32.06 by a couple of pounds. Suddenly the two losses didn’t seem so bad, they’d been playing on my mind all day on Saturday but this fish went a considerable way to making up for them. I fished on through Saturday night and on Sunday morning I got the last of the footage for the accompanying video (above) before I packed up at 9.30am. I stayed until the end and left the rods out for as long as I could but no more runs came and I settled for just the one carp in the end.
The Cromwell social was another tough one, apart from my 35, Brent managed a brace of low twenties and my mate Darren chipped in with a 23+ so there were only 4 fish caught with quite a few lost due to the weed. If you’re heading to Cromwell I’d definitely recommend dropping the lead on the take and fishing with the zig rig, if you can get on the carp, it’s a method that will work.
Please have a watch of the accompanying video that’s embedded into this article and subscribe to my youtube channel, you’ll find lots of decent videos about my fishing on there and I try to make sure they contain plenty of tips and advice on how to catch.
Until next time, tight lines.