Syndicate Lake (Coarse) (16)
Arrival time: 15.00
Weather: Warm, bright and cloudy with a north-easterly breeze.
Swim: Lily pads, NE bay and east bank.
Tackle: 12ft Drennan Barbel Specialist, 8lb line, 8/10 hook.
Bait: Luncheon meat.
Fish: Small pike and a roach.
I can’t believe that I haven’t been fishing since last October. Where has the time gone? To be fair, I usually try to fit in some trips to the River Welland over the winter, but with all the rain we had, the river wasn’t a particularly attractive proposition, even assuming that it would have been fishable. But that’s really an excuse and I must try to get out more this year. It’s the damn golf that’s getting in the way, and I’m not particularly good at it, so I should put fishing first.
Anyway, I went over to the syndicate lake for a few hours. This coarse lake is associated with a trout fishery, and as a member of the trout fishing club I can fish the coarse lake. Unfortunately, for me, the club has this year started issuing separate coarse lake membership (although my trout membership still allows me to fish it), and they seem to be marketing it as a carp fishery; which it is, but I have fears that it will become a bivvy haven with all the multi-rod tackle fest and other paraphernalia that seem to be associated with carp fishing these days. I was enjoying the simplicity of the place.
When I arrived, the west bank that was formerly overgrown with bramble and various other thicket had been cleared. Not trimmed back, but cleared by what seems to have been a piece of earth moving equipment. All growth had been completely gouged out and the ground left like a ploughed field, albeit it was hard and quite difficult to walk over. The reed banks had been cut down but at least were still in place. However, whereas before there was plenty of cover such that you could margin fish while keeping out of sight of the water, this is now impossible.
I tried two spots, the so-called lily pads swim (although the pads hadn’t yet grown) and the NE bay, close to where you enter the water. In both places I felt very ‘visible,' despite trying to approach stealthily. First cast in the NE bay, after getting nothing at the lily pads, produced a pike of about 2½ lbs (15.25), which had taken the luncheon meat fair and square. Getting it in disturbed things somewhat. I persevered in this swim but there were no signs of carp moving about, nor movement of the reeds, so I had a look around the lake. I found a spot on the east bank that I hadn’t previously realised was there. Tucked in among the trees, with reeds on both sides, it showed promise. So I moved my gear to give it a go.
After a while, and a few taps on the rod top, I had just cast to the right when I saw a carp cruising into the bay on the left. I threw in some surface pellets, but it promptly went deeper. So I retrieved my bait from the right and plopped it into the bay on the left. It was taken almost immediately but as I tightened on the fish, which felt quite large, the line went slack. Retrieving I found that the line had actually broken above the hook. Now I wasn’t putting anywhere near enough pressure on the fish to cause this break, so either the earlier pike had damaged the line, or perhaps the fish that took the bait wasn’t a carp, but another pike, which bit through the line. I’ll never know, but it was frustrating. It was now 17.00.
I carried on trying both to the left and right but with no joy, until at 18.30 my line slackened and when I tightened I had a nice roach on of about a pound. It must have actually moved the light arsley ledger nearer the rod top for the line to have slackened: quite odd. And that was it. I packed up at 19.00, although wished I had planned to stay longer as the day turned into one of those perfect evenings that made you feel that the fish were definitely going to start feeding. Sad, but at least I got back into the feel of things. And it felt good.