Having bagged my first North West Catfish in early March I quickly decided to move on from the catfish lake and target some bigger carp again, this required getting back that ‘siege’ mentality you need to be successful on most good Cheshire carp waters these days. I chose a small weedy water around 4 acres in size, the lake had some decent fish in it but it also came with a few problems the biggest two being other anglers and only 7 swims on the whole lake.
I had a week off work in the middle of March and that seemed a good time to make a start. As I was just doing days, I had to find a peg in between the anglers who were fishing sessions of 48/72 hours and longer!. I literally had to take what scraps I could find. The first Saturday I turned up I had to take the last peg on the lake, needless to say I blanked and I saw nothing to give me any hints of the carp’s whereabouts, not that it would have mattered with no pegs free to move into anyway. The carp don’t show much on this lake so with limited swims, no room to move and very few shows it was clear I was going to struggle a bit.
I was back again late on Monday morning and had a better choice of swims but there were still a few anglers on even on what I classed as the quietest day of the week. Again I saw nothing all day but as the light was starting to fade one of the other anglers had a run and landed a low 20 mirror, it came from tight to the far bank which was no surprise as there was no access to this part of the lake. Needless to say I blanked but I was given a boost by seeing someone else actually catch during the hours I was fishing, which was dinnertime through until dusk, in March that’s about 6 hours.
Tuesday dinnertime I was back again, I cast a couple of scopex squid red hookbaits with a couple of pva mesh bags of the same to the far bank, no sooner had I got my Aqua Brolly up when it started raining persistently. From the comfort of my brolly I sat and watched the water all day in the tippling down rain, no mean feat when it comes to keeping the concentration. An hour or so before dark I caught sight of a carp which just stuck the tip of its nose out, it was so subtle I’d have missed it if there was a ripple on the water. It was roughly 70 yards out in front of me and away from the far ‘no fishing’ bank, I covered it with a rig for the last hour but again I blanked. Luckily there was nobody on the lake this day so it seemed rude not to give the carp a taster of some bait, I got to work with the Catapult late on and deposited a kilo of Scopex Squid red boilies to the area I’d seen the carp.
I had intended to have a break from fishing on Wednesday but with a carp sighting and some free bait in the water I couldn’t stay away, I was back early on to make sure I secured my swim. Straight away I saw a carp roll on the same spot as I was setting up, I put two fresh hook baits with a pva mesh bags of freebies out to the area as quickly as I could and sat back to await events, for the first time I was actually confident something would happen for me. One hour turned into two and the longer I sat there the more my confidence was starting to ebb away. The tufties had been a pain, there were half a dozen of them working the lake but they kept going back to my baited spot all the time. In the middle of the afternoon I was sat watching them over my bait again when two of them dipped down for a snack. My left hand Delkim let out a couple of bleeps and my monkey climber dropped a couple of inches, this was just what I didn’t need, a recast to disturb the area.
I got up and walked over to my Torrix Rods, as I got to the rod in question the monkey climber started moving up, the little blighter must have hooked himself in the leg or foot when he dropped my bait so I wound down and hit it. I was met with a solid resistance, I was expecting lots of squawking but instead I had a dead weight following by a kick on the rod, it was carp on!. The fish kited to my left so I kept the rod tip high and the pressure steady, it took me a while to coax the fish into changing course but eventually I gained some line. It felt a heavy fish and it took me a good 10 minutes to get this one into the margins, the water was pretty much gin clear but with a slight blue tinge to it, the lake had just had blue dye applied to it to control the weed and I’m sure that enhanced the sight that greeted me as the carp came closer to my Landing Net. It was a stunning scaley mirror, the blue tinge of the water made the skin of the carp look a deep purple and the golden scales really stood out. By now I was getting nervous, you know that time in the fight when you can clearly see you’re playing a major prize and you don’t want it to fall off! (lol). Lucky for me the carp was well hooked and a few minutes later I slid the net under a real stunner.
I had a look at the fish whilst it was in the net, I knew it was a twenty, exactly how big I couldn’t say but it looked to be around mid twenties. I left the fish in the water and got to work setting up for the weighing and pics. There was nobody around so I had to do the pics myself. In the sling and onto my Sportster Scales I got 24lb 4oz. I was delighted with this one, there were a few scaley mirrors in the lake and my first fish from the water was one of my targets.
Interestingly this wasn’t the fish I saw roll when I arrived so I figured I’d found an area where a few fish must be holding up. I had nothing else after the re-cast and frustratingly I couldn’t get back in the swim again due to other anglers, this had nothing to do with me catching a fish as they were coming out to others as well, it was just a popular swim that was rarely empty and I realise now I was quite lucky to have had a couple of consecutive day sessions in such a good swim. It was still a shame I couldn’t take more advantage of that area but it is committed to memory for future trips, remember that siege mentality, tricky waters are a marathon and sometimes it takes years to grind them out, if I get the chance I’ll try that area again for sure. For the next few weeks I struggled to get on the lake as more and more anglers started coming out of the woodwork after their winter hibernation and before I knew it, Easter and the Cromwell Social I've already written about had arrived.