First weekend of the season I had to close my lake in Chester due to spawning. I therefore arranged a new venue for first weekend of the official season choosing a local club water called Lymm Vale. I’d managed to get the Friday afternoon off work in the hope of beating the Friday rush to the lake. I rocked up just after 2pm and bumped into one of the regulars from my lake. He’d already located the fish and bivvied up so my swim selection wasn’t difficult and I set up close by.
I expected the Vale to be busy as a few lakes where also closed for spawning. I checked my watch at 5pm and there were still plenty of pegs free. As such, I called Nick who has just started carp angling and told him to come down for a bit of a tutorial. I had plenty of bait and it looked good for a social as there was a few lads round the lake that I thought he should meet. Nick had been asking me about the club for months so as the over stamp had now expired I told him to join online and bring proof of payment with him. He arrived at the lake just after 7pm, some 20 minutes after paying for his ticket. Unfortunately, a few more people had turned up so the peg next to me was now taken. However, I had a look round the lake and thought his best chance would be at the car park end of the lake.
Once Nick was set up I went round the lake to check tickets and to see how everyone was getting on. It transpired that the lads on the sand bank where leaving early in the morning and the guys next to me where swapping swims with them. This in return, would leave the two pegs on my left empty so I told Nick we were moving early doors and to be ready! That evening I was kept awake by a few Tench and the lad next to me landing a stunning Mirror.
Around 5am the heavens opened so this delayed the peg move slightly however I managed to move and Nick joined me after the rain had settled. I explained to Nick that I’d had a cast around in both swims (while he was tucked up in his bivvy out of the rain) and found a few spots that id already baited. We were on the same bait so I recommended fishing as a pair to maximise our chances by covering a reasonable area of the Lake. Plus I was preparing for the BCAC Semis finals so I was trying different approaches and thought this would work well.
It was a quiet afternoon with all the fish moving away from us back up towards the car park end (much to Nick’s frustration). I explained to Nick that the reason for this was clearly because the water keeper had the kettle on and was making bacon butties. In fact it wasn’t just the carp that ended up at that end of the lake. I also found myself up there choosing between red and brown sauce.
Now, I think this was a pivotal moment in the session. Reason being, I told Nick that I was just going to see John the water keeper for a catch up and would be back in 5 minutes. However, I managed to devour two bacon butties (I chose brown sauce by the way) two cups of coffee and was the best part of an hour and a half.
When I got back to the peg Nick was in chef mode and had bacon on the go preparing breakfast for both of us. Regrettably, I had to decline the offer of a third bacon sandwich and made the excuse that I was changing some rigs round and I’d have one later. I really didn’t have the heart then to tell him I’d already had breakfast and I think this is when the carp gods looked down on me in disgust!
I attempted to hide my guilt by regularly making a cuppa but what happened next reminded me that fishing always finds a way to even the score.
We had just started to get some bait out when Nick’s right hand rod just melted off, no little beep just straight into a one toner! I’d placed this rod for him close in just off the shelf in about 8ft of water attached to a 7 boilie stringer. Despite the depth a massive swirl still broke the surface on the take and from my peg a thought a duck had picked him up. By the time I got over to Nick his was rod tip was no higher than he shoulders with the rod almost straight. As you can imagine, my first instinct was to ask ‘what you playing at noddy get you rod up’ but it soon became apparent he was struggling to get the rod any higher. I helped him sort his clutch out a few times as he was on the receiving end of several really aggressive. This was clearly not a carp.
Nick had never caught a cat before and it was one species he was keen on avoiding. The first time it came close in I knew it was the big girl and Nick looked far from impressed, but he soon zoned out again as it ripped of another 30 yards of line. The battle was epic and an experience that Nick will never forget. It was easily 25 plus minutes and we have most of it on film. All the commotion had alerted Jordan and Chris from the sand bank so they reeled in and came over. A huge thank you lads for your assistance as I don’t think we’d of managed without you.
Chris and I secured the massive predator in the sling while Jordan held the scales. Meanwhile Nick didn’t know what to do with himself and who could blame him. He’d only been a member just over 24hours and landed the biggest fish in the clubs history.
The cat weighed in at 66lb 5oz and represents a new club and lake record. Naturally I’ve told him it doesn’t count because we were after the carp, which technically means he blanked!
Joking aside, top angling Nick you deserved that buddy.
Big thanks to Neil for writing this blog