Syndicate Lake (Coarse) (14)
Arrival time: 11.00
Weather: Very hot with no wind to speak of
Swim: NE bay.
Tackle: 12ft Drennan Barbel Specialist, 8lb line, 10 hook.
14ft Shimano Speedmaster match rod, Shimano Exage 1000RC reel with 5lb line and 14 hook.
Bait: Luncheon meat.
Fish: Three carp, best 9½ lbs
My neighbour’s father, Mick, was house-minding for them and we arranged a trip to the lake. He hadn’t been before as he usually fishes Fields End when he’s up here. We arrived at the lake at around 11.00 and I showed him to the Lily Pads swim, being probably the easiest to fish of the few swims that are not totally overgrown. I settled into the NE Bay.
I had decided to put out a light ledger while float fishing the margin just in front of me. The reeds had grown since my last visit such that I was actually fishing through them. Great for camouflage but difficult to fish. Having put out a fair sized piece of luncheon meat on the ledger and bait-dropped some pellets and chopped luncheon meat literally at the end of my rod top, I cast the float and was rewarded with an almost instant bite. After a bit of a tussle a nice 1lb 5oz rudd was on the bank, taken on a small piece of luncheon meat. I took it along to show Mick, releasing it in his swim. I was looking forward to more rudd but if there had been a shoal there, it had moved away. Only tiddlers nibbled at my bait, and my float !
Mick wasn’t doing any better because of the hoards of small fish. We could see carp cruising out in the lake but there were no signs of them near the margins. I persevered as the water was about 6 to 7 feet deep at the margin edge and I was sure something would parol along the edge if I waited. Sure enough, at 13.20, the float sailed away and I was into what was obviously a carp. Note that it was on the match rod, my ledgered bait not having been touched despite recasting occasionally to try different points around the bay. After quite a battle on the light tackle, with the line crossing my ledger line at one point, I netted a fine conditioned common carp of 8lbs 3oz, although with some difficulty because of the reeds.
After this things went dead again, and Mick wasn’t doing any better. It was very hot and I could only hope that come evening things would improve. Quite a bit later I heard some commotion down in Mick’s direction and having walked along to investigate saw Mick netting a nice common carp. He had spotted it near the edge of the lily pads to his right and had managed to tempt it with floating crust. It was just over 10 lbs. It was encouraging to know that the carp would take surface bait as I hadn’t had any luck with this approach in the past. The problem is that the multitude of tiny rudd attack any crust on the surface, so you need to be able to cast to a visible carp rather than hope one will come along.
I returned to my swim and tried crust close to the margins and also tried dropping a piece on the lily pads out in front of me and pulling it gently back onto the surface. Every attempt was, however, thwarted by small fish that reduced the crust to nothing within seconds.
I carried on float fishing but still only got nibbles until around 19.00 when the float shot away and another carp was on. This one, another common, weighed 7½ lbs and got itself into the reeds to my right. I had to muscle it out, holding its head up to stop it ploughing deeper into the reeds. Amazingly the light tackle held and I eventually netted it.
I had planned to pack up at 19.30 so after all that commotion I started to tackle down the float rod. Before doing so I recast the ledger out to the edge of the lily pads. Having packed up the float rod and most of the other bits and pieces it was 19.25 and I was just considering bringing in the ledger, when the bait runner started whirring. Picking up I was into another carp.
This one felt bigger and was again tricky to get in because of the reeds, but this time the tackle was heavier and more up to the job. I had to get my scales and camera back out of my bag and weighed the mirror carp at 9½ lb, the biggest of the day for me. The hook was just in the edge of the lip and any slack line would have almost certainly resulted in me losing the fish.
Mick had been broken by another fish and had lost a second from failed hook-hold. I don’t think he was overly impressed with the lake. He liked the look of it, and the peaceful ambience, but was put off by the number of small fish. I think next time he’s up we’re likely to be off to Fields End. As for me, I realise the lake is difficult, but I find it far more challenging, and thus more satisfying, than the average commercial. It’s the fact that you don’t know what the next bite will produce. Pulling out middling carp one after another from a commercial lake can become very unrewarding after a while.