Be my guest……..
I was recently offered the opportunity for a guest session on the Bayeswater complex by my good friend Matt Ogan. He is a syndicate lake member and he arranged for me to fish the day-ticket lake that backs on to the syndicate lake. The day-ticket lake is unique in the fact that you have to join the lake as a member and receive an ID card and gate key for the main gate. This creates a syndicate feel to the water and judging by how tidy the lake was, with no litter witnessed at all, the members clearly look after the lake. On arrival I met Matt at the main gate and we drove through the farm to the lakes car park. The first thing I noticed as I pulled up was the striking blue colour of the water on the day-ticket lake. It is a relatively young lake but it is maturing nicely and it was clear how much work had gone into planting trees and keeping the banks well maintained. Each swim was a good size and also well looked after with plenty of water to fish to. It isn’t a big lake and most of the fishing is of comfortable range for anglers of all abilities. The fish stock is very impressive and the lake holds a big head of fish over 25lb+ with I believe seven or so 30’s. I decided firstly to go for a walk round and have a good look for fish as the weather was perfect for a few showing carp. As I walked into the first swim with an angler present I was greeted with that dreaded news it was fishing slow. The guy had done 8 nights without a fish and was contemplating a move due to the guy to his right catching one 3 days ago. I don’t normally worry about what others are catching but it does knock the wind out of your sails when nothing is getting caught. I continued my walk and the angler further round was asleep so I just carried on round. As I stood in swim 11 I saw what I was hoping for when I spotted a subtle show on the end of the warm wind. It was straight out in front of me but in swim 2’s water. I quickly walked round to swim 2 and stood watching and lucky enough another one poked its head out. Swim choice was made and I quickly went to find Matt on the syndicate lake to tell him I had found a few. Then it was just a matter of loading the gear onto the barrow and getting to the swim. Once in the swim I set about casting a small lead around to see what the fish were showing over. What I found was at about 50yds there was a dying weed bed and either side of it I was getting a clean drop. I decided to fish one rod either side of the weed bed and only fish two rods for the first night to limit the lines and disturbance in the swim. I set about making up a spod mix that was full of attraction but wouldn’t over feed them as based on the lack of captures they weren’t feeding hard. The mix comprised of 2kg of Big Carp TM1 boilie crumb, 1kg of TM1 Nitro bag mix, half a gallon of dead maggots and 500ml of TM1 liquid food boost. I then spombed the mix over both of the spots I had found, hopefully clouding the water column as it slowly sank through the swim.
The rigs comprised of a size 12 Deception wide gape with a plastic mag-aligner and two maggots on the hook. This was fished with a PVA mesh bag filled 50% with the mix and 50% live maggots with the plan to re-cast every few hours. I always find when fishing maggots its best to recast often, especially when other species are present. This ensures you have bait left around your hook bait and if a small fish has messed up your presentation you’re not wasting too much time. As long as you feather the cast and don’t crash the bag in on the cast it only causes a small disturbance. With both rods cast out to the spots I stood there quite pleased with the tactics and thought the conditions looked perfect. Matt came over to tell me he had found some fish and he was happy with his swim choice. I was just going through with him what I had done when my right hand bobbin pulled up tight and my tip wrapped round. I couldn’t believe it and we just looked at each other, ‘That’s a fish’, I said and quickly picked up the rod. It felt a good fish and was still taking line and heading to my left towards a marginal reed bed. The other rod was wound in to ensure I didn’t pick up the other line and cause undue problems. I had to pile on the pressure which isn’t easy with a size 12 hook but I knew if the fish made the reed bed it would be game over. Luckily sustained pressure resulted in the fish turning and heading out into open water. It still felt a good fish with very slow and deliberate runs but I felt in control knowing the open water was clear. Slowly I inched the fish towards me and just as I thought he was beat he made another powerful lunge for the reed bed to my left. I managed to turn him much easier this time and get his head up and Matt slipped the net under my prize. I looked at Matt and said ‘that will do’ and after 15mins of a bait being in the water I had my first Bayeswater carp. On inspection of the hook hold I was very lucky to land the fish as it was very lightly hooked in the bottom lip. On the scales it went 24.12lb and I held it up in the autumn sunlight for the camera.
Once we had returned the fish I just sat on my bed chair thinking happy days I still have two nights ahead of me. I quickly set about tying up two new PVA bags and with the lines marked with electrical tape I was quickly cast back out and fishing again.
I sat watching the water nice and relaxed as the sun started to go down, happy to have bagged one so early on in the session. I didn’t see any signs of fish but the wind had increased and it was a mild evening so I was confident of more action through the night. I had just put the kettle on when out of nowhere I had a one toner on my right hand rod, I was on it like a flash kicking over the kettle and stove in the process. As I lifted into the fish out in the darkness it was taking line but didn’t feel like a particularly big fish. I gained control and stopped the initial run and I could feel what felt like a smaller fish shaking its head. Again the fish kited to the left heading for the reeds but I turned him with ease and I was sure it was smaller than the first one. The guy fishing to my right appeared and took the net and asked if it was a good one. I replied it felt like a smaller fish due to the way it was shaking its head and its speed of direction change through the fight. I have to admit I was probably putting more pressure on the size 12 than I would have had I known what was on the end. I had got it a few rod lengths out and I flicked on the head torch and I could see it was slightly bigger than I thought. One last lunge to my right and I could tell it was nearly beaten as I turned it again it took a big gulp of air. I guided it over the net and he suddenly grew into a very good fish with a big set of shoulders. The young lad who had helped me net it kept an eye on the fish while I called Matt over to bring his camera. I went back for another look and it had grown again into what looked a good 30! Matt arrived and took one look before confirming my thoughts it was a good fish. On closer inspection the fish was identified as a character of the lake called ‘Lumpy’. As I lifted the net I was now sure it was a good 30 and once on the mat I could see the tiny little size 12 hook firmly in the bottom lip. We all made our guesses before we weighed it and up on the scales Matt was closest as they read 34.15lb.
I was now completely over the moon and a little shocked, I have to admit to feeling a bit low on confidence after the initial walk round and what the anglers on the lake had told me. Just goes to show if you find them and apply what you’re confident in there is always a chance, I had only been fishing 4 hours and had two good fish on the bank. A few quick snaps were taken after Matt had sorted some problems with his camera and the big fish went back strongly and no worse for its ordeal. Once the swim had cleared and I was on my own I wound the other rod in and decided to go to Matts swim for food and a few beers. After a freshly cooked spag-bol and few celebratory drinks I returned to my swim at around 2200 ready to try for another carp. I tied up two more PVA bags and cast out to my horizon marker, hitting the clip and feeling it down for the right drop. With both rods on the spots and feeling pleased with myself I got into the bag to get some sleep. Unfortunately the tench and rudd had other ideas and I ended up having to recast every 45mins to an hour as I was completely plagued by the things. I did receive a proper carp run at around 0200 but unfortunately it came off not long after hooking it. This gave me the motivation to continue through the nuisance species and despite having no sleep I was rewarded at first light with a nice clean 20lb mirror from the left hand rod. A few quick snaps and both rods were again put out to the spots and I tried to get some sleep.
For the rest of the day I didn’t receive anymore action and the only fish I saw were in front of other anglers. No carp during the day were caught and it wasn’t surprising as the wind had dropped and the skies were bright blue and clear. I still continued to re-cast every few hours just to keep the bait going in and ensuring I had maggots on the spot. I didn’t want to spomb out anymore bait in case I pushed the fish away but in hindsight this was probably a mistake. The night came and the wind picked back up and the cloud rolled back in raising my confidence. I was running out of PVA and bait but had just enough to keep casting regularly. Once late evening arrived I could hear fish showing to my right but unfortunately in front of another angler. I decided to put out a third rod on a small single 12mm pop-up and cast as far right as my water allowed but this didn’t produce despite trying a few colours and flavours during the night. I did have four small carp of 3-4lb and more tench and rudd on the two PVA bag rods but no more bigger carp. Not spombing on that morning I am sure cost me more fish and next time I will fish more positively and go with my gut feeling. Overall though I was very pleased with my result on my first visit to the lake and I will return during the winter to hopefully bag a few more.
Thanks for reading and until next time I hope you bag a few.
Big thanks to Ray Pulford for writing this article