Syndicate Lake (Coarse) (7)
Arrival time: 11.00
Weather: Sunny / cloudy.
Hardly any wind. Very mild for the time of year.
Swim: NE Bay and SW corner
Tackle:14ft Shimano Speedmaster match rod, Shimano Exage 1000RC reel with 5lb line and 14 hook.
11’6” Hardy Marksman, Shimano Exage 4000RC reel, 8lb line, 12 hook.
Baits: Used luncheon meat on the hook and sweetcorn as an attractor.
Fish: Two carp and a nice roach. Best fish carp 8lbs 4oz.
My neighbour Steve accompanied me today and I suggested he fished the ‘lily-pads’ spot, as it was the most accessible place, and I had caught there previously. This left me to find another fishable spot - not that easy!
I first tried a platform at the NE corner. Rushes had grown in front of it and there were more than a few brambles to contend with. The secateurs took care of the brambles but I was left fishing through the rushes. My 14 ft rod poked through all right, but I realised landing a fish could be a problem, even allowing for my 3m landing net handle. As it was, I didn’t get more than a few knocks, first on float, which I found difficult to control through the rushes, and then on light ledger.
I went down to see Steve, who had had some small roach on the pole, and had a feeder rod out. He said that he had seen large carp towards the southern bank. Given my lack of action, and the difficulty of actually fishing the spot, I decided to explore the southern bank. I couldn’t find a way around on the west side of the lake, so walked the long route round the east side. The southern bank is accessed from a steep (very steep) slope, and involves a bit of a scramble down to the water. I weighed up whether I should try bringing the tackle around, as it would involve packing up the rod and everything. In the end I decided to try. It was now about 13.30.
Having gingerly got myself and the tackle down the muddy slope I reassembled my 14 ft match rod and put a couple of swam shot on the hook to test depth. I cast to the edge of some lily pads not more than about 10 yards out. My first guess at depth was way off, and I continued to pull up the float until I reached about 12 ft! Amazingly deep, and a bit worrying given the slope I had just negotiated. One slip and you could be in 10+ feet of water. Casting proved impossible with the float set at this depth, even with a 14 ft rod. Luckily, as is normal, I had attached the float to a sliding bead, with nylon line stops above and below, which meant I could set it up as a slider float. This solved the casting problem and worked a treat.
First cast I missed a ‘sinker’ bite. Next cast I connected with a similar bite and landed a nice 15 oz roach (14.15). A few casts later (15.05), with the float this time close to the lily pads, what I thought was another roach bite proved to be a bit more substantive. A reasonably long battle ensued with what proved to be a common carp of 8lb 4oz. It’s interesting how the carp in this lake don’t seem to tear off, and reserve their efforts for when you get them near the net, repeatedly charging off. Landing the fish was tricky because the nylon stop I was using for the slider float wouldn’t pass through the top eye of the match rod, meaning that I had to keep at least 12 ft of line in play. This made drawing the fish over the net very difficult indeed. I was lucky not to lose it.
Having weighed and photographed the fish, the next bite (at 15.30), also near the lily pads, was amazingly another carp. It fought in a similar way, and on this occasion I was very lucky not to lose it as my rod caught in a high bramble branch and as I tried to pull it clear the line could easily have gone slack, giving the fish the chance to shed the barbless hook. As it was, I landed it, although the same problem of not being able to reel in past the float stop was even more problematic on this occasion. This time it was a common of 7lb 10oz. It had part of its gill cover missing, an injury I haven’t seen before. This can be seen in the photo.
After this, a slight northerly breeze started to drag my float away from the lily pads, so I changed to my Hardy rod with a light ledger, thinking this would also make landing any subsequent fish easier. I needn’t of worried, as I didn’t get another bite.
A chap turned up on a bike, having approached the lake from the footpath at the rear. He challenged my permission to fish there, but after I responded that I was a member of the syndicate, our subsequent conversation gave me the impression that it was he who perhaps didn’t have permission. He pitched a little further along the south bank and caught what sounded like a good carp before I left. During our conversation he did say that there were good tench in the lake, which is useful to know for next summer.
My neighbour only caught smallish fish but was impressed by the lake, and spotted a number of large carp cruising. I think he would like to visit it again.
As for me, I was pleased that I was obliged to investigate some new spots, and that I had managed to catch a couple of carp. Next time, if I float-fish the deep swim, I must try tying on a piece of light line as a float stop; something that will pass through the rod eyes. Otherwise it will be advisable to stick to ledger, although it is a loverly spot to use a float.